Oregon Health & Science University

Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) provides an optimal recruitment environment for the GenTAC Registry. Patients are recruited from clinics at both OHSU and Doernbecher Children’s Hospital (DCH). The OHSU Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery has significant experience and expertise in the diagnosis, treatment, and management of thoracic aortic aneurismal disease. The Division functions as a regional resource for the care of these patients from across Oregon. OHSU also has an active Adult Congenital Heart Disease (ACHD) clinic, where many eligible adult patients are followed for their cardiac care.

Photo of Cheryl Maslen, PhD

Cheryl Maslen, PhD
Principal Investigator

Cheryl Maslen, PhD, the PI for OHSU, is a professor of cardiovascular medicine and molecular and medical genetics and the associate director of the OHSU Heart Research Center. She specializes in research on the genetic basis of cardiovascular defects. Dr. Maslen is trained in molecular and medical genetics and in extracellular matrix biochemistry. Her training includes extensive clinical experience in genetic evaluation of patients and family history. Her study of MFS and other genetic disorders of the cardiovascular system started when she was a postdoctoral fellow responsible for cloning the gene FBN1; she played a key role in demonstrating that FBN1 is the MFS gene. As an independent researcher, she has made significant contributions in understanding the molecular genetic basis of MFS and related diseases. Her work has expanded into the study of the genetic basis of other congenital cardiovascular defects, and she currently directs several patient-oriented studies with the goal of identifying the genetic risk factors for atrioventricular septal defects (AVSD) and other forms of congenital heart disease. Dr. Maslen’s laboratory identified the first known susceptibility gene for AVSD and continues to investigate the role of this protein in cardiovascular development. Dr. Maslen has significant experience in all aspects of medical genetics, population-based genetic studies, development of registries, extracellular matrix biology, and the molecular genetic basis of cardiovascular disease.


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Michael Silberbach, MD

Michael Silberbach, MD, professor of pediatric cardiology, is a pediatric cardiologist with a special interest in problems of the aorta in Turner syndrome. Dr. Silberbach routinely cares for pediatric patients with MFS, familial aortic aneurysm, and other congenital aortic diseases. In addition, he specializes in noninvasive imaging of the heart and related structures. He is the director of the Congenital Heart Magnetic Resonance Imaging Program at OHSU. In that capacity, he routinely performs MRI studies on infants and children with aortic disease. He also attends in the pediatric cardiac echocardiogram laboratory. He is a member of the guidelines committee for cardiovascular health in Turner syndrome and is a co-author of the committee’s most recently published recommendations. He is the author of a book chapter on aortic dissection in Turner syndrome, a member of the Health Advisory Board of the Turner Syndrome Society of the United States, and regularly addresses audiences on the issue of aortic risks in Turner syndrome. Dr. Silberbach has established the International Turner Syndrome Aortic Dissection Registry, and he and his team have performed echocardiograms on more than 500 individuals of all ages with Turner syndrome.

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Howard Song, MD, PhD

Howard Song, MD, PhD, is an associate professor on the faculty of the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery at OHSU. He has a special interest in the diagnosis and surgical treatment of thoracic aortic aneurysms and serves as the surgery director of OHSU’s Thoracic Aorta Program. Dr. Song performs complex repairs and replacements of the aortic root and arch, including the Bentall procedure, aortic valve sparing procedures, aortic homograft root replacements, and the Ross procedure. He has been an active participant in the Society of Thoracic Surgeons Adult Cardiac Database. He conducts and publishes outcomes studies on patients undergoing cardiovascular surgery. He also directs basic research in the laboratory of the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery, focusing on the use of bioengineered vascular conduits to reduce neointimal hyperplasia formation.


Andrea Kuchler, BA
Study Coordinator

Andrea Kuchler, BA is a member of a team of Research Coordinators for GenTAC assisting the Cardiovascular Medicine Division at OHSU. Andrea graduated from Willamette University in 2005 and began working in clinical research in 2009. As a study coordinator at the Oregon Clinical and Translational Research Institute at OHSU, Andrea has worked on several research projects over the years and is excited to be involved with the GenTAC project. She and her colleagues are responsible for recruiting and enrolling patients, coordinating sample submission, aortic tissue collection of OHSU/DCH GenTAC enrollees, and collecting/reviewing participant enrollment and follow-up medical information. Andrea and her colleagues are also GenTAC coordinators for the Turner Syndrome Society of the United States (TSSUS), attending TSSUS annual meetings to enroll affected girls and women and collect follow-up information of current Registry participants.