Cardiac Atlas Project

Cardiac malformations are the most common type of birth defect. Improvements in the management of complex congenital heart disease (CHD) have resulted in >90% of those born with CHD now able to survive into early adulthood. In the U.S. alone, there are more adults with CHD (~1 million individuals) than children. Many of these patients are at risk of ventricular dilatation and dysfunction especially those with a functional single ventricle. Predicting those patients who will develop maladaptive remodeling and when is difficult, but there is a wealth of potentially valuable information available in medical images, especially longitudinal MRI exams. The goal of this project is to identify new early markers of compensatory or maladaptive remodeling in CHD patients with single ventricle physiology using atlas-based MR image-derived parametric models of ventricular shape and biomechanics, and to deploy these models and data via the “Cardiac Atlas Project” ( online database. CAP is a worldwide consortium and online resource for integrating and sharing cardiac imaging examinations, together with parametric model-derived functional analyses and associated clinical information. Our multi-disciplinary team of experts in pediatric cardiology, medical imaging, computational modeling and medical informatics aims to extend this resource to patients with CHD and use the models to identify early geometric and biomechanical predictors of maladaptive remodeling and heart failure.

The Cardiac Atlas Project is funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health. (R01HL121754)

Principal Investigators

AndrewMcCullochDr. Andrew McCulloch is Distinguished Professor of Bioengineering and Medicine and Jacobs School Distinguished Scholar at the University of California San Diego, where he joined the faculty in 1987. He is member of the UCSD Institute for Engineering in Medicine, the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology, a Senior Fellow of the San Diego Supercomputer Center, and a member of the UCSD Center for Research on Biological Systems. Dr. McCulloch is a Principal Investigator of the National Biomedical Computation Resource and Co-Director of the Cardiac Biomedical Science and Engineering Center at UCSD. He served as Vice Chair of the Bioengineering Department from 2002 to 2005 and Chair from 2005 to 2008. Dr. McCulloch is Director of the HHMI-NIBIB Interfaces Graduate Training Program and the accompanying UCSD Interdisciplinary Ph.D. Specialization in Multi-Scale Biology.

Jeff OmensJeff Omens, PhD, is an Adjunct Professor in the UCSD Departments of Medicine and Bioengineering. He is a principal investigator in the Cardiac Mechanics Research Group in the Department of Bioengineering. His research focuses on the relationship between mechanics and structure in the normal and diseased heart. Ongoing projects include studying passive and active mechanics of the normal and failing heart, the role of transmural heterogeneities in cardiac function, optimization of cardiac resynchronization therapy, and the role of cytoskeletal and costameric proteins in cardiomyopathy and heart failure.


Alistair YoungDr. Alistair Young is Director of the Biomedical Imaging Research Unit , which is a multidiciplinary imaging facility based in the School of Medical Sciences at the University of Auckland. His principal research interest is the analysis of medical images using mathematical modeling techniques. Dr. Young has been working in this area since 1985. During 1991-1993 he was a postdoctoral research fellow in the Medical Image Processing Group at the University of Pennsylvania where he developed a method for reconstructing the 3D motions and deformations of the heart from tagged cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). He then relocated back to New Zealand with the help of an HRC Repatriation Fellowship, and was subsequently appointed Lecturer in Biomedical Imaging jointly in the Department of Anatomy with Radiology and the Department of Physiology. Alistair Young is now Technical Director of the Auckland MR Research Group (AMRG), which performs clinical trials in heart disease and is actively developing new methods for measuring heart function from MRI. He is Research Manager of the Center for Advanced MRI (CAMRI), which is a state-of-the-art clinical and research MRI facility at the University of Auckland.