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Dr. Dawood Darbar

CCVR Director, Dr. Dawood Darbar

Dr. Dawood Darbar is the Chief of the Division of Cardiology at UI Health. Dr. Darbar is an experienced clinical electrophysiologist who has built a robust academic-clinical electrophysiology practice. His particular area of expertise relates to the assessment and management of patients with inherited heart rhythm disorders, including long QT syndrome and Brugada syndrome. Dr. Darbar provides state-of-the-art therapies, including atrial fibrillation ablation, to patients with arrhythmias. He also specializes in the genetics and ablation of arrhythmias, insertion of pacemakers and defibrillators, and cardiac rhythm monitoring. Dr. Darbar earned his medical degree (M.B.Ch.B.) from the University of Dundee, in Dundee Scotland. He completed his early medical training in the UK before embarking on a Clinical Pharmacology Fellowship at Vanderbilt University. Dr. Darbar completed residency training at the same institution and cardiology and electrophysiology fellowships at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine, Clinical Pharmacology, Cardiology, and Clinical Electrophysiology.

Administrative Assistant, Maria Valadez. Email:


Dr. J. Michael O'Donnell

CCVR Associate Director, Dr. J. Michael O’Donnell

Dr. J. Michael O’Donnell is an Associate Professor with the Department of Physiology and Biophysics. He has been an integral member of the CCVR at UIC for the past 15 years. His role with the CCVR is to coordinate and support the day-to-day activities of the Center. Dr. O’Donnell is also Course Coordinator for a number of current Physiology and Cardiac & Vascular Courses. His scientific interests are focused on cardiac metabolism in healthy and diseased heart. He is currently collaborating with fellow CCVR member, Dr. Terry VandenHoek (Emergency Medicine), to develop a new biosynthetic drug to improve survival and metabolic recovery from cardiac arrest.



CCVR Director of Administrative Operations, Nicole Gallardo, MBA

Nicole Gallardo joined the Center for CardioVascular Research team in 2017 and earned her Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago.  Email:

CCVR RRC Physiology Core Director, Dr. Jiwang Chen

CCVR RRC Physiology Core Director, Dr. Jiwang Chen

Dr. Jiwang Chen oversees whole Core management and development, initiate collaborations with UIC research scientists for services and grant applications, provide echo services, trainings and develop new echo service techniques.

As an Associate Professor (Research) with the Department of Medicine, he focuses on the pathophysiology of pulmonary arterial hypertension and acute lung injury using rodent and cell culture models. He is currently collaborating with Dr. Richard Minshall (Department of Anesthesiology) in pulmonary hypertension, Dr. Sunit Singla (Department of Medicine) in acute lung injury and Dr. Saraf Santosh (Department of Medicine) to study cell-free hemoglobin in Sickle cell nephropathy.


Dr. Youn

CCVR RRC Vector Core Director,  Dr. Seock Won Youn

Dr. Seock-Won Youn is a Research Assistant Professor with the Department of Physiology and Biophysics. His role with the CCVR is as a director for the viral vector core where researchers can access a comprehensive range of resources and services for gene transfer purposes. The viral vector core supports to construct, purify, and titer recombinant adenovirus, adeno-associated virus, and lentivirus to provide researchers. His scientific interests are focused on angiogenesis in developmental and pathological conditions with working Dr. Jan Kitajewski.