Research Team

Director, Heart Institute Data Analytics and Research Program

Mark Abcede, M.B.A., CCRP

Mark has rejoined the Heart Institute after serving as a a clinical site manager of global research operations at PAREXEL. During his tenure at the Heart Institute from 2012 to 2016, Mark played a key role in the Heart Institute Research Committee, which he helped establish to ensure that the appropriate infrastructure existed to support the research endeavors of faculty, staff, external sponsors and donors. Additionally, he was instrumental in fostering collaborations between the Heart Institute and the UC San Diego Cardiac Mechanics Group, the Pediatric Heart Transplant Study, the Congenital Heart Surgeons’ Society and the Pediatric Heart Network. Mark earned his Bachelor of Art in biology and chemistry at the University of San Diego and his Master’s in Business Administration (with an emphasis in healthcare management) at the University of Phoenix. He is currently completing a professional certificate program through UC San Diego in clinical trials design and management.

Clinical Research Coordinator

Gail Aguilar RCHSD Website pictureGail Aguilar

Gail graduated from UC San Diego with a degree in anthropology, with a concentration in biological anthropology. She interned for the Golomb Research Group at UC San Diego, where she found her passion for clinical research working with statin drugs and the veteran population in San Diego. She later went on to work as a clinical research associate for REVA Medical, Inc., a medical device company specializing in bioresorbable cardiovascular stents. She has been with the Heart Institute since September 2016.


Sanjeet Hegde, M.D., Ph.D.

Dr. Hegde’s research interests include in-vitro measurement of the safety of devices for interventional MRI, development of catheters and in-vitro testing of their suitability for interventional MRI, device implantation under XMR, catheter tracking under MRI, image guidance of cardiac interventions, 3-D printing, virtual reality and computational modeling of complex congenital heart disease.

Kanishka Ratnayaka, M.D.

Dr. Ratnayaka’s research includes diagnostic MRI, MRI catheterization, X-ray fused with MRI (XFM,) MRI-guided intervention and MRI device innovation.

The Heart Institute Research Committee

Christopher Davis, M.D., Ph.D.

Dr. Davis’ research interests include studying exercise physiology of patients with congenital heart disease, athlete’s heart and diseases that cause sudden cardiac death in the young.

Paul Grossfeld, M.D.

Dr. Grossfeld’s research is focused on understanding the genetic basis of congenital heart disease. His primary interest is Jacobsen syndrome, a rare chromosomal disorder caused by the deletions in chromosome 11. Dr. Grossfeld has determined that loss of the ETS-1 gene causes hypoplastic left heart syndrome and other congenital heart defects in Jacobsen syndrome.

John W. Moore, M.D., M.P.H.

Dr. Moore’s major clinical and research focus is congenital and structural interventional cardiology.

Rakesh Singh, M.D., M.S.

Dr. Singh’s clinical and research interests include outcomes after heart transplantation, pediatric ventricular assist devices and heart failure management in congenital heart disease and cardiomyopathies. In addition, he is an active participant in the following multi-center registry research groups: Pediatric Heart Transplant Study (PHTS), Pediatric Interagency Registry for Mechanically Assisted Circulatory Support (pediMACS) and International Pediatric Heart Failure Registry (iPHFR).

Heather Sun, M.D.

Dr. Sun’s clinical and research interests include improved prenatal diagnosis and management of fetal congenital heart disease and non-traditional methods of functional cardiac assessment.