About Us

Working together towards a future with better tools and medicines for the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease

Cardiovascular disease and stroke are the leading cause of death and disability in the world.  Without innovative research, the future might be bleak.  Cardiovascular disease is projected to become an even greater issue in the near future, due to the aging of the population combined with higher levels of obesity.

The Duke Cardiovascular Research Center (CVRC) has distinguished scientists including working on fundamental research with strategic relevance to cardiovascular challenges.  We are implementing a strategic vision to strengthen the continuum of cardiology research, which begins with discovery and continues through translation to culminate in patient care.

The CVRC is led by Dr. Howard Rockman, who became the CVRC Director in early 2015. Dr. Rockman is the Edward S. Orgain Distinguished Professor of Cardiology, and has previously served as Chief of the Duke Division of Cardiology, Editor of JCI, and founder of JCI Insight.  Administrative management is provided by Dr. Maria Rapoza, who was recruited by Dr. Rockman in late 2015. Dr. Rapoza has served in various scientific leadership roles in for-profit and nonprofit organizations for more than 20 years. In mid-2020, Dr. Chris Holley joined the CVRC as the new Associate Director with a focus on diversity and inclusion issues as well as the recruitment pipeline. Cheryl Woodard is the CVRC Staff Assistant, with more than 30 years of experience at Duke. 

CVRC Leadership

Howard Rockman

Howard Rockman, MD
Director, CVRC 

Chris Holley

Chris Holley, MD, PhD
Associate Director, CVRC

Maria Rapoza

Maria Rapoza, PhD
Executive Director, CVRC 

Cheryl Woodard

Cheryl Woodard, MIS
Staff Assistant 

Our mission of scholarship, training, and mentoring includes developing the next leaders in cardiovascular discovery research.  And the CVRC is eager to partner at all levels—with caregivers, other institutions, industry, and innovative thinkers willing to contribute to this cause.