Stephen Epstein


Stephen E. Epstein, MD, currently is Head of Translational and Vascular Biology Research at the MedStar Heart and Vascular Institute, MedStar Washington Hospital Center and Clinical Professor of Medicine at the Georgetown University School of Medicine..

After graduating Summa Cum Laude from Columbia College, Dr. Epstein completed his medical training at Cornell University Medical College and interned at the New York Hospital, New York, NY. Prior to joining MedStar Health, Dr. Epstein served for over 30 years as Chief of the Cardiology Branch of the NHLBI at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD.  He then served as Executive Director of the Cardiovascular Research Institute and Director of Vascular Biology Research, at the MedStar Research Institute, Washington Hospital Center.

 With more than 500 publications in peer‐reviewed medical journals, Dr. Epstein is a recognized international authority on angiogenesis and on the application of stem cell strategies for cardiovascular therapeutics. His current work on stem cell therapy has demonstrated that mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), when administered IV to mice with acute myocardial infarction and to mice with ischemic cardiomyopathy, abolishes the progressive development of adverse left ventricular remodeling and deterioration in LV function. He and his associates have also demonstrated that one of the mechanisms responsible for these beneficial effects is a modulation of the excessive immune and inflammatory responses that are triggered by the presence of an injured left ventricle. These observations are now being used to inform the development of clinical protocols that will test the efficacy of these stem cells in patients.

Dr. Epstein has also studied genetic polymorphisms and circulating biomarkers as indicators that a given patient is at risk of plaque rupture, and therefore to heart attack. He and his colleagues have developed a biomarker strategy that identifies patients with coronary artery disease who are at very high near-term risk of experiencing death or an acute myocardial infarction.

These research accomplishments led to Dr. Epstein serving on two important National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) committees: Vice‐Chairman of the Data Safety Management Board (DSMB) for Programs of Excellence in Gene and Cell Therapy for the Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, and Chairman of the DSMB for Specialized Centers for Clinically Oriented Research in Cardiac Dysfunction and Disease.

In addition to his research and leadership responsibilities, Dr. Epstein is a Fellow of the American Heart Association, a member of the Association of American Physicians, and an Honorary Fellow of the American College of Chest Physicians. Dr. Epstein is the recipient of the Distinguished WELCOME Lecturer award, was selected for the prestigious Pfizer Visiting Professor Program, and is a frequent invited lecturer and keynote speaker at national and international medical conferences. 

Research Interests

Dr. Epstein's research interests focus on the following areas

Vascular Biology

Dr. Epstein is Executive Director of the Cardiovascular Research Institute and is a member of MHRI's Scientific Advisory Board.

View Dr. Epstein's publications on PubMed

Research Areas

  • Cardiovascular