- Medical School - Carol Davila University of Medicine & Pharmacy (1993-1999)
- Other Post Graduate Training - University of Freiburg, Germany (2000-2003)
- Fellowship - Yale New Haven Medical Center (2012-2015), Cardiovascular Medicine
- Residency - Indiana University School of Medicine (2007-2009), Internal Medicine
- Internship - Indiana University School of Medicine (2006-2007), Internal Medicine
- Research Fellowship - University of Utah (2002-2006), Molecular Genetics
Vlad Zaha, M.D., Ph.D.
- Internal Medicine - Cardiology
- Cancer & Heart Disease
Vlad Gabriel Zaha, M.D., Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Internal Medicine at UT Southwestern Medical Center. He specializes in cardio-oncology and advanced cardiovascular imaging diagnostic modalities.
Dr. Zaha earned his medical degree at Carol Davila University of Medicine & Pharmacy in Bucharest. He went on to conduct research studies of myocardial cell biology, investigating insulin signaling and glucose-transport mechanisms in the heart.
He earned his doctoral degree summa cum laude at the University of Freiburg in Germany and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in molecular biology and genetics at the University of Utah, where he conducted studies to elucidate molecular and genetic connections that underlie the energetic metabolism in the heart, funded by a fellowship award from the American Heart Association. Dr. Zaha also conducted studies of molecular mechanisms for protection of myocardial mitochondria and was recognized as a finalist at the 2014 Northwestern Young Investigator Forum.
Dr. Zaha completed a residency in internal medicine at Indiana University and a fellowship in cardiology at Yale University and University College London, specializing in cardio-oncology and advanced cardiovascular imaging.
He joined the UT Southwestern faculty in 2016.
Since March 2018, Dr. Zaha has served in the leadership council of the Cardio-Oncology Section of the American College of Cardiology. Other professional organizations in which he is active include the American Heart Association, the American Society of Echocardiography, the American Society of Nuclear Cardiology, the Society for Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance, and the International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine.
Meet Dr. Zaha
Cardio-Oncology Specialist in Dallas
Vlad Gabriel Zaha, M.D., Ph.D., is one of only a few cardio-oncologists in the Dallas area. A cardio-oncologist is a cardiovascular medicine specialist who treats patients with heart and vascular problems resulting from cancer treatment or from the cancer itself.
Chemotherapy and radiation treatment can help patients in their battle with cancer but meanwhile can also damage a healthy heart or worsen symptoms of cardiovascular disease.
Dr. Zaha works closely with patients’ oncology, hematology, radiation oncology, and surgical teams to protect their hearts while their cancer treatment is optimized.
“When you are in the early diagnostic stages, you might need an evaluation of your heart to determine how it will be affected by your treatment,” Dr. Zaha says. “Our goal is to prevent severe complications, some of which are irreversible.”
Even patients who survived cancer at a young age can benefit from an evaluation of potential long-term risks of the therapies they received.
Dr. Zaha has specialized training in cardio-oncology and multimodality cardiovascular imaging, which is an important part of the heart evaluation process.
During a visit with Dr. Zaha, patients receive a thorough assessment of their risk factors, such as existing cardiovascular issues; metabolic disorders, including diabetes; physical fitness level; symptoms, if any; lab evaluations; and, if required, advanced cardiovascular imaging. Results of this assessment determine patients’ heart health risks and how often they need to return to see Dr. Zaha.
“While every patient’s situation is different, it’s part of my job to help each understand how we can help keep the heart healthy during and after cancer treatment, what is expected, and what might need immediate attention,” Dr. Zaha says. “Some side effects of cancer treatment might be serious if not caught early, while others are transitory. Some side effects can occur immediately during treatment, while others develop late, years after the cancer has been treated.”
Through his research, Dr. Zaha is exploring ways to integrate novel, noninvasive diagnostic tests in clinical use. For example, he is studying mitochondrial function, or the energy source of the heart, to find ways to diagnose heart dysfunction sooner by detecting changes in the way the chemical energy in the heart is generated. This work is funded by the Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas.
“My research integrates well with my clinical side because I can apply my findings directly to cancer patients I see in my clinic every day,” he says.
Dr. Zaha is originally from Romania. His interests beyond science and medicine include his family, friends, outdoor sports, and the exploration of nature and the arts.
- American Society for Echocardiography (2015), Member
- American Society of Nuclear Cardiology (2015), Member
- International Society for Magnetic Resonance (2015), Member
- American Heart Association (2011), Member
- American College of Cardiology (2011), Fellow
- Society for Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance (2014), Member
- European Association of Cardiovascular Imaging (2014), Member
- Finalist 2014, Northwestern University Young Investigator Forum
- Scholarship 1998, TEMPUS, European Union
- Research Stipend 2000, Hoffman La Roche, Germany
- Fellowship Award 2000-2002, State of Baden-Wuerttemberg, Germany
- High Score Abstract 2014, Euro-Imaging, Vienna, Austria
AMP-activated protein kinase regulation and biological actions in the heart.
Zaha VG, Young LH Circulation research 2012 Aug 111 6 800-14
Contribution of impaired myocardial insulin signaling to mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative stress in the heart.
Boudina S, Bugger H, Sena S, O'Neill BT, Zaha VG, Ilkun O, Wright JJ, Mazumder PK, Palfreyman E, Tidwell TJ, Theobald H, Khalimonchuk O, Wayment B, Sheng X, Rodnick KJ, Centini R, Chen D, Litwin SE, Weimer BE, Abel ED Circulation 2009 Mar 119 9 1272-83
Type 1 diabetic akita mouse hearts are insulin sensitive but manifest structurally abnormal mitochondria that remain coupled despite increased uncoupling protein 3.
Bugger H, Boudina S, Hu XX, Tuinei J, Zaha VG, Theobald HA, Yun UJ, McQueen AP, Wayment B, Litwin SE, Abel ED Diabetes 2008 Nov 57 11 2924-32
A small molecule AMPK activator protects the heart against ischemia-reperfusion injury.
Kim AS, Miller EJ, Wright TM, Li J, Qi D, Atsina K, Zaha V, Sakamoto K, Young LH Journal of molecular and cellular cardiology 2011 Jul 51 1 24-32
Mouse and human resistins impair glucose transport in primary mouse cardiomyocytes, and oligomerization is required for this biological action.
Graveleau C, Zaha VG, Mohajer A, Banerjee RR, Dudley-Rucker N, Steppan CM, Rajala MW, Scherer PE, Ahima RS, Lazar MA, Abel ED The Journal of biological chemistry 2005 Sep 280 36 31679-85
Ablation of PGC-1beta results in defective mitochondrial activity, thermogenesis, hepatic function, and cardiac performance.
Lelliott CJ, Medina-Gomez G, Petrovic N, Kis A, Feldmann HM, Bjursell M, Parker N, Curtis K, Campbell M, Hu P, Zhang D, Litwin SE, Zaha VG, Fountain KT, Boudina S, Jimenez-Linan M, Blount M, Lopez M, Meirhaeghe A, Bohlooly-Y M, Storlien L, Strömstedt M, Snaith M, Oresic M, Abel ED, Cannon B, Vidal-Puig A PLoS biology 2006 Nov 4 11 e369
AMPK is critical for mitochondrial function during reperfusion after myocardial ischemia.
Zaha VG, Qi D, Su KN, Palmeri M, Lee HY, Hu X, Wu X, Shulman GI, Rabinovitch PS, Russell RR, Young LH Journal of molecular and cellular cardiology 2015 Dec 91 104-113
Mitochondrial energetics in the heart in obesity-related diabetes: direct evidence for increased uncoupled respiration and activation of uncoupling proteins.
Boudina S, Sena S, Theobald H, Sheng X, Wright JJ, Hu XX, Aziz S, Johnson JI, Bugger H, Zaha VG, Abel ED Diabetes 2007 Oct 56 10 2457-66
A conserved role for phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase but not Akt signaling in mitochondrial adaptations that accompany physiological cardiac hypertrophy.
O'Neill BT, Kim J, Wende AR, Theobald HA, Tuinei J, Buchanan J, Guo A, Zaha VG, Davis DK, Schell JC, Boudina S, Wayment B, Litwin SE, Shioi T, Izumo S, Birnbaum MJ, Abel ED Cell metabolism 2007 Oct 6 4 294-306
PGC-1ß deficiency accelerates the transition to heart failure in pressure overload hypertrophy.
Riehle C, Wende AR, Zaha VG, Pires KM, Wayment B, Olsen C, Bugger H, Buchanan J, Wang X, Moreira AB, Doenst T, Medina-Gomez G, Litwin SE, Lelliott CJ, Vidal-Puig A, Abel ED Circulation research 2011 Sep 109 7 783-93
- AMP-activated protein kinase regulation and biological actions in the heart.
- Myocardial Protection
- Molecular Imaging
- Mitochondrial Biology
- Cancer & Heart Disease