Burke Cardiomyopathy Lab

Congestive heart failure is a major public health problem, afflicting millions of Americans and costing our health care system in excess of $30 billion annually. Heart failure is also incredibly morbid, with a 5-year mortality of ~50%, which is worse than most common forms of cancer.

Our lab uses all means of molecular and genetic tools to study the fundamental processes in the heart that underlie cardiac dysfunction and failure. A major focus of the lab is characterizing the epigenomic changes that occur in heart failure.

Our mission is to translate this research into clinical advances that will have a meaningful impact on patient care.


The cardiomyopathies are a heterogeneous group of heart muscle diseases that frequently lead to congestive heart failure. We study cardiomyopathies utilizing cell and mouse models of disease in conjunction with modern molecular and cellular biology techniques. Additionally, we employ a systems biology approach, harnessing next-generation sequencing technologies and bioinformatics tools.

The Burke lab focuses on gene expression changes that drive cardiomyopathy progression including epigenetic mechanisms, paracrine control via fibroblast and myocyte crosstalk, and cardiac-derived endocrine mechanisms contributing to disease phenotype. Our combination of molecular genetics, epigenomics and transcriptomics permits comprehensive study of global patterns in cardiac biology and allows for deep mechanistic dissection of disease-specific pathways. The lab is founded on 2 principle goals: (1) better characterization of cardiac-specific molecular processes that underlie cardiomyopathy progression; and (2) translation of these findings into diagnostic and therapeutic advances for patients with heart failure.

Dr. Burke runs the Emory Heart Failure Tissue Bank, which stores frozen myocardial samples from patients undergoing ventricular assist device (VAD) implantation and orthotopic heart transplantation for future research. This amazing resource banks up to 40 heart transplants and nearly as many VAD core samples every year, constituting a large and diverse patient cohort for translational research endeavors.

The PLNR9Cgenetic model of dilated cardiomyopathy (right) demonstrates tremendous biventricular chamber dilation and myocardial fibrosis compared to wild type mice (left). These mice die prematurely from congestive heart failure.

Lab Staff


Michael A. Burke, MD

Dr. Burke is an Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Division of Cardiology at the Emory University School of Medicine. He graduated cum laude from Villanova University and received his MD degree from Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University. Dr. Burke completed his residency in internal medicine and cardiology fellowship at Northwestern University where he was also an ABIM research pathway scholar. He then completed a fellowship in advanced heart failure and transplant cardiology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Subsequently, he completed a post-doctoral research fellowship at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in the lab of Drs. Jon and Christine Seidman.

Dr. Burke studies the molecular mechanisms that cause cardiomyopathy and heart failure using standard molecular and cellular biology methods, next-generation sequencing techniques, bioinformatics and translational human research. Dr. Burke is the head of the Emory Heart Failure Tissue Bank.

In addition to his research endeavors, Dr. Burke is also a practicing cardiologist in the Emory Advanced Heart Failure Therapy Program and cares for patients with heart failure and advanced cardiac diseases in the Emory Coronary Care Unit and on the Emory Heart Failure inpatient ward service.

Zhe Jiao, MD, PhD

Dr. Jiao is a senior research specialist and lab manager for the Burke Cardiomyopathy Lab and has been with the lab since its’ inception in 2016. He received his MD from Shanghai Second Medical University (now Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine) where he also completed medical residency and fellowships in surgery and was chief surgical resident. He subsequently completed his PhD and fellowship training at both Shanghai Second Medical University and the University of South Alabama.

Dr. Jiao has been engaged in biomedical research for over 20 years. He has experience with all range of molecular techniques and animal handling. In addition, he is an expert cardiovascular animal surgeon and is actively engaged in all ongoing research projects in the Burke lab.

Andrew Antolic, PhD

Dr. Antolic is a post-doctoral research fellow and joined the Burke Cardiomyopathy Lab in 2018. He completed his PhD from the University of Florida College of Pharmacy where he investigated the effects of chronic maternal stress on late gestational fetal heart maturation and function. Prior to joining the Burke Cardiomyopathy Lab Dr. Antolic was a post-doctoral research fellow at the University of Arizona, where he studied cardiac signaling in fetuses with asymmetric intrauterine growth restriction.

In his spare time, Dr. Antolic enjoys reading, cooking, and modifying cars.

Donnie Lee

Donnie Lee

Donnie is an Emory student who joined the lab in 2018. She is from North Jersey and is a biology major aiming to go to medical school. She has been involved in basic science research since her high school days and has applied these skills to her own independent experiments in the lab. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, watching movies, and traveling. 


Lab Alumni


Ahmed AlSalem, MD

Dr. AlSalem is a cardiology fellow in the Emory Cardiovascular Research Scientist Pathway and joined the Burke Cardiomyopathy Lab in 2016. Dr. AlSalem hails from Saudi Arabia where he graduated summa cum laude from King Saud University School of Medicine and was the class valedictorian. After graduation, he worked in medical genetics as a post-doctoral research associate in the Hussman Institute for Human Genomics at the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine, where he studied inherited metabolic disorders. Subsequently, he completed internal medicine residency at Case Western Reserve University where he received 2 Resident Research Awards and the Peter Morgan Award for leadership among residents. In his spare time, Dr. AlSalem enjoys bodybuilding and camping, and has achieved notoriety within the Emory Cardiology Division as the leading crepe maker on staff.

Dr. AlSalem studies cardiac signaling in heart failure, specifically characterizing the role of cardiomyocyte-specific paracrine signaling factors in fibrosis and cardiomyopathy progression. 

In the News

September 2018

Dr. Burke was the winner of the Jay N. Cohn New Investigator Award - Basic Science at the 22nd Annual Scientific Meeting of the Heart Failure Society of America in Nashville, TN.

June 2018

Dr. AlSalem was invited to present his research at the Division of Cardiology’s annual Research Symposium.

November 2017

Dr. Burke was selected as a finalist for the prestigious Louis N. and Arnold M. Katz Basic Research Prize at the Scientific Sessions of the American Heart Association in Anaheim, CA. READ MORE

October 2017

Dr. Burke placed 3rd in the faculty basic science section at the Northwestern Cardiovascular Young Investigators’ Forum. READ MORE 

March 2017

Dr. Burke was awarded NIH 1K08HL126873-01; “Epigenetic control of pathologic cardiac remodeling.”

December 2016

Dr. Burke published a paper in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology; “Clinical and mechanistic insights into the genetics of cardiomyopathy.” READ MORE 

November 2016

Dr. Burke’s BCVS abstract was named an AHA Best-of-Specialty Conferences Abstract and was presented at the AHA’s annual Scientific Sessions in New Orleans, LA.

July 2016

Dr. Burke presented the abstract “BET bromodomain inhibition blunts heart failure progression and fibrosis in genetic cardiomyopathy” at the Scientific Sessions of the Basic Cardiovascular Sciences (BCVS) Council of the AHA in Phoenix, AZ. READ MORE

Dr. Burke was also highlighted as a top early-career investigator on Professional Heart Daily in advance of the meeting.

May 2016

Dr. Burke published a paper in JCI Insight; “Molecular profiling of dilated cardiomyopathy that progresses to heart failure.” READ MORE 



Adalsteindottir B, Gardarsdottir M, Palsson R, Teekakirikul P, Maron M, Appelbaum E, Maron BJ, Valdorff Madsen C, Burke MA, Danielsen R, ArngrímssonR, Desnick R, Feldt-Rasmussen U, Seidman JG, Seidman CE, Gunnarsson GT. Fabry disease in families with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy: clinical manifestations in the classic and later-onset phenotypes. Circ Cardiovasc Genet. 2017;10:e001639.


Kamioka N, Patel A, Burke MA, Greenbaum A, Babaliaros V. Biventricular Impella placement via complete venous access. Catheter Cardiovasc Interv. 2017; epub ahead of print.


Rines AK, Chang H, Wu R, Sato T, Khechaduri A, Kouzu H, Shapiro J, Shang M, Burke MA, Jiang X, Chen C, Rawlings TA, Lopaschuk GD, Schumacker PT, Abel ED, Ardehali H. Snf1-related kinase improves cardiac mitochondrial efficiency and decreases mitochondrial uncoupling. Nat Commun. 2017; 8:14095.


Burke MA, Cook SA, Seidman JG, Seidman CE. Clinical and Mechanistic Insights into the Genetics of Cardiomyopathy. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2016; 68:2871-2886.


Hinson JT, Chopra A, Lowe A, Sheng CC, Gupta RM, Kuppuswamy R, O’Sullivan J, Rowe G, Wakimoto H, Gorham J, Burke MA, Zhang K, Musunuru K, Gerszten RE, Wu SM, Chen CS, Seidman JG, Seidman CE. Integrative analysis of PRKAG2 cardiomyopathy iPS and microtissue models identifies AMPK as a regulator of metabolism, survival and fibrosis. Cell Rep. 2016; 17:3292-3304.


Burke MA, Chang S, Wakimoto H, Gorham JG, Conner DA, Christodoulou DC, Parfenov MG, DePalma SR, Eminaga S, Konno T, Seidman JG, Sedman CE. Molecular profiling of dilated cardiomyopathy that progresses to heart failure. JCI Insight. 2016; 1:e86898.


Fish M, Shaboodien G, Kraus S, Sliwa K, Seidman CE, Burke MA, Crotti L, Schwartz PJ, Mayosi BM. Mutation analysis of the phospholamban gene in 315 South Africans with dilated, hypertrophic, peripartum and arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathies. Sci Rep. 2016: 6:22235.


Shah SJ, Katz D, Selvaraj S, Burke MA, Yancy CW, Gheorghiade M, Bonow RO, Huang C, Deo R. Phenomapping for novel classification of heart failure with preserved ejection fraction. Circulation. 2015; 131:269-279.


Adalsteindottir B*, Teekakirikul P*, Maron BJ, Burke MA, Gudbjartsson DF, Holm H, Stefansson K, Depalma SR, Mazaika E, McDonough B, Danielsen R, Seidman JG, Seidman CE, Gunnarsson GT. A nationwide study on hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in Iceland: evidence of a MYBPC3 founder mutation. Circulation. 2014; 130:1158-1167.


Burke MA,* Katz DH,* Beussink L, Selvaraj S, Gupta DK, Fox D, Chakrabarti S, Sauer AJ, Rich JD, Freed BH, Shah SJ. Prognostic importance of pathophysiologic markers in patients with heart failure and preserved ejection fraction. Circ Heart Fail. 2014; 7:288-299.


Burke MA, Givertz MM. Assessment and Management of Heart Failure Following Left Ventricular Assist Device Implantation. Circulation. 2014; 129:1161-1166.


Selvaraj S, Ilkhanoff L, Burke MA, Freed BH, Lang RM, Martinez EE, Shah S. Association of the frontal QRS-T angle with adverse cardiac remodeling, impaired left and right ventricular function and worse outcomes in heart failure with preserved ejection fraction. J Am Soc Echocardiogr. 2014; 27:74-82.


Katz DH, Beussink L, Sauer AJ, Freed BH, Burke MA, Shah SJ. Prevalence, clinical characteristics, and outcomes associated with eccentric versus concentric left ventricular hypertrophy in heart failure with preserved ejection fraction. Am J Cardiol. 2013; 112:1158-1164.


Bayeva M, Khechaduri A, Wu R, Burke MA, Wasserstrom JA, Singh N, Prasad SV, Liesa M, Shirihai OS, Langer NB, Paw BH, Ardehali H. ATP binding cassette B10 regulates early steps of heme synthesis. Circ Res. 2013; 113:279-287.


Rines AK, Burke MA, Fernandez RP, Volpert OV, Ardehali H. Snf1-related kinase inhibits colon cancer cell proliferation through calcyclin-binding protein-dependent reduction of b-catenin. FASEB J. 2012; 26:4685-4695.


Anjan VY, Loftus TM, Burke MA, Akhter N, Fonarow GC, Gheorghiade M, Shah SJ. Prevalence, clinical phenotype, and outcomes associated with normal B-type natriuretic peptide levels in heart failure with preserved ejection fraction. Am J Cardiol. 2012; 110:870-876.


Ardehali H, Sabbah HN, Burke MA, Sarma S, Liu PP, Cleland JGF, Maggioni A, Fonarow GC, Abel ED, Campia U, Gheorghiade M. Targeting myocardial substrate metabolism in heart failure: potential for new therapies. Eur J Heart Fail. 2012; 14:120-129.


Burke MA, Lee R, Fintel DJ. Early clopidogrel use in non-ST elevation acute coronary syndrome and subsequent coronary artery bypass grafting. Am Heart J.2011; 161:832-841.


Burke MA, Mikati I. Platypnea-orthodeoxia syndrome associated with bioprosthetic tricuspid valve stenosis and reverse Lutembacher syndrome. Circulation.2011; 123:e222-224.


Gordon LI, Burke MA, Singh AT, Prachand S, Lieberman ED, Sun L, Naik TJ, Prasad SV, Ardehali H.  Blockade of the erbB2 receptor induces cardiomyocyte death through mitochondrial and reactive oxygen species-dependent pathways.  J Biol Chem.2009; 284: 2080-2087.


Burke MA, Mutharasan RK, Ardehali H.  The sulfonylurea receptor, an atypical ATP-binding cassette protein, and its regulation of the KATPchannel.  Circ Res.2008; 102:164-176.


Burke MA,Ardehali H. Mitochondrial ATP binding cassette proteins. Transl Res.2007; 150:73-80.


Burke MA, Cotts WG. Interpretation of B-type natriuretic peptide in cardiac disease and other comorbid conditions.  Heart Fail Rev. 2007; 12:23-36.


Burke MA, Hutter D, Reshamwala RP, Knepper JE.  Cathepsin L plays an active role in involution of the mouse mammary gland.  Dev Dyn. 2003; 227:315-322.




The Burke Cardiomyopathy Lab is supported by the National Institutes of Health and the Division of Cardiology in the Department of Medicine at Emory University School of Medicine.

We are deeply indebted to these groups, as such funding is the life-blood of high-risk basic biomedical research (that which is most likely to produce disruptive changes in cardiovascular medicine) in this country.

For information on how you can support our research, please contact Dr. Burke at: michael.burke@emory.edu


We are always looking for highly motivated individuals who have an interest in basic science research to join our growing lab. Successful candidates should have a background in molecular biology. We welcome post-doctoral candidates with PhD or MD degrees as well as motivated graduate students interested in cardiovascular science. Opportunities exist for individuals with a strong background in computer sciences who wish to apply their skills to biological sciences.

Interested individuals should email a copy of their CV as well as the contact information for 2 references to Dr. Burke at: michael.burke@emory.edu