Skip to main content Deutsch

Cardiovascular Institute

Mission of the Institute

The Institute focuses on the consequences of cardiac pressure and volume overload on the heart (Dr. Podesser & Dr. Kiss), the development of small-diameter vascular grafts (Dr. Bergmeister), and the effects of venous thrombosis and atherosclerosis on macrophages (Dr. Hohensinner). The Institute also has many years of experience in the field of rheology (Dr. Windberger). New is the establishment of a 3D bio-printing research group (Dr. Karl Schneider).

Heart Diseases

Heart disease remains the leading cause of mortality in the western world. Developing novel therapies for treating damaged heart tissue is of critical clinical and scientific interest. In Austria, an average of 38.6% of the Austrian population died due to cardiovascular diseases. This makes cardiovascular diseases the leading causes of death in 20191. The main risk factors are arterial hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, smoking, overweight, physical inactivity, social stress and genetic factors. In order to find new therapeutic approaches, to better understand intracellular processes and to develop more effective treatment methods, the Center for Biomedical Research is engaged in highly specific and focused programs in cardiovascular research and is also integrated into the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Cardiovascular Research with two working groups.

1Statistik Austria 2020

Scientific Topics

Myocardial Protection und Remodeling

These are the research topics of Bruno Podesser and Attila Kiss. The focus is on improving intraoperative myocardial protection during cardiac surgery and heart transplantation. We test new solutions and concepts which have high potential to transform into the clinical practice. The second main topic is cardiac remodeling due to pressure or volume overload conditions. Cardiac remodeling extensively are studied in cell and organs levels. Accordingly, we aim to identify and better understanding the mechanisms and regulator of left ventricular (LV) and vascular dysfunction as well as cardiac fibrosis. In addition, dedicated small and  large animal models of closed-chest mitral valve regurgitation have been established to study the effects of chronic volume overload on valvular and cardiac remodeling and provide a novel model for testing new drugs and devices. We have established isolated vessel and heart preparation for functional measurement, and several in vivo models to mimic cardiovascular disease. Heart function is assessed by echocardiography (including 3D), PET/MRI, and invasive cardiac hemodynamic characterization (LV pressure, and PV loop analysis). In addition,  H9c2 cardiomyoblasts, isolated murine cardiomyocytes, HUVEC as well as human cardiomyocytes and fibroblasts are cultivated for discovering cellular mechanisms and signaling. Vascular function is examined on isolated vessel segment (human and animal) by wire myograph system. Fully equipped heart-lung machine is available to perform heart surgery on large animals. More about the Research Group Podesser & Kiss

Cardiovascular Tissue Engineering

The overall aim of the research group is to find new solutions for blood vessel replacement and myocardial regeneration. The activities include the development and characterization of synthetic and natural biomaterials for various cardiovascular tissue engineering approaches. A specific area of interest is to characterize biomaterial/host interactions and to improve limitations of biocompatibility by using drug eluting materials. We are further focusing on the creation of advanced biocompatibility assessment tools.

More about the Research Group Bergmeister

Changes in the blood vessels and the immune system

The Hohensinner lab is interested in cardiovascular disease and diseases affecting the vasculature with a special emphasis on innate immune cells. More About the Research Group Hohensinner


The Windberger research group deals with the behavior of biological materials under shear. We mainly characterize liquid blood and blood clots, but can study any viscoelastic material that fits our measurement geometries. More About the Research Group Windberger

3D bio printing lab

The aim of this research group is to further develop the latest techniques in 3D bioprinting and the biomaterials required for this purpose. In addition to purchasing state-of-the-art printers through our 3D Printing Consortium on 3D Printing in Medical Research, we also develop and build our own bio-printers and offer national and international courses to train students and other researchers. More About the Research Group Schneider & Enayati

Transplant Immunology

Innovations in surgical techniques and immunosuppressive drugs have led to remarkable improvements in short-term graft survival in solid organ transplant patients. However, long-term graft survival has not improved significantly in recent decades, and despite continued immunosuppression, patients experience late graft loss due to chronic rejection, as well as increased morbidity and mortality related to nonspecific immune suppression and toxicity of immunosuppressive drugs. Therefore, induction of immunologic tolerance, i.e., acceptance of an allograft without chronic immunosuppression, is the ultimate goal of transplantation. Regulatory T cells (Tregs) are critical for maintaining immune tolerance to self-antigens through various mechanisms of immune regulation, thus approaches to increase the number or function of these cells may provide a kind of all-purpose solution for tolerance induction. Here, we focus on therapies to increase the Treg pool by augmenting endogenous Treg numbers in vivo or by adoptive transfer of Tregs. More About the Research Group Pilat

Research Partner


Philipp Hohensinner