Keeping the Heart Young

Harnessing the Power of Robustness, Resilience, and Rejuvenation to Prevent Transitions from Cardiovascular Health to Disease

Cardiovascular diseases remain the most common cause of morbidity and mortality across the globe. While these diseases are distinct in their clinical manifestations, they have common biologic underpinnings and public health implications. To date, research and clinical care focused on active disease have led to a remarkable reduction in cardiovascular mortality over the last 30 years.

However, cardiovascular research has failed to embrace the extraordinary potential to improve individual and public health by preventing disease and preserving health. The need for this refocus is demonstrated by the persistent high prevalence of heart disease and associated significant morbidity despite reductions in mortality. 

Duke's work will seek to understand the molecular machinery driving robustness, resilience and rejuvenation of heart tissue. Multidisciplinary teams will explore how to integrate and deploy this knowledge, develop action tools and strategies to apply it, and generate proof that doing so will improve cardiovascular health for individuals and advance population health.


  • Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the most common cause of death worldwide and has remained so for over a century.
  • Although aging increases the likelihood of CVD, it can be prevented, delayed in onset and treated once established.
  • Most research has focused on understanding mechanisms of disease with far less attention directed towards CV health.


  • Improve patient and population health by a novel focus on preserving and restoring health.
    • Robustness: The best way to cure a disease is to not get it in the first place.
    • Resilience: Resisting disease in its early stages.
    • Rejuvenation: Recovering from CV disease.
  • Advance discovery at all levels.
    • Elucidate the underlying biology of CV health.
    • Convert data to actionable information.
    • Devise, implement and test effective clinical tools and strategies.
  • Harness our strengths:  World class research and clinical programs, deep resources in data and samples, outstanding faculty


  • A deeper understanding of how to preserve and restore CV health leading to:
    • Better, more informed care;
    • Health improvement for patients with heart disease and for community.
  • A new, vibrant community of scholars, clinicians and patients collaborating to improving CV health.
  • Dissemination of what we learn in guidelines, education and best practices to benefit people around the globe.