Joshua Hare, M.D., believes that anything is possible. For the past five years he has led groundbreaking research at The Johns Hopkins University, helping dispel a long-standing theory: that doctors cannot repair a damaged heart. Now he brings that research and much of his team to the Miller School of Medicine, where he has been named professor of medicine and biomedical engineering, chief of the Division of Cardiology, and director of the new Interdisciplinary Stem Cell Institute. Most believe he will help elevate the school’s reputation and work in cardiology to a world-class level.

Hare’s pioneering work involves the use of stem cell therapy to repair damage to hearts, a relatively new concept. During the past five years Hare has led the heart failure program at Johns Hopkins.

This new field of research has advanced rapidly in a short time. Just three years ago cardiologists believed that damage to the heart was permanent. That is quickly changing as the field moves forward. Hare expects much more progress in the coming years through his work at the Miller School.

“We’re going to bring a major research program using bench-to-bedside research,” he says. “We are seeking to develop novel therapies and take them rapidly from laboratories into the clinic.”

His work is widely published, including recent articles in The Journal of the American Medical Association, The New England Journal of Medicine, Nature, Circulation, and Circulation Research. But Hare devotes much of his energy applying the findings to help patients.

“A lot of scientists work in labs and make discoveries, then others have to pick it up and move it into clinics,” he says. “But we are different. Through translational research, we do it soup to nuts. We’re the guys who will develop the therapy, work in laboratories, and do the clinical studies.”

Thus far, much of his work has involved patients who need heart transplants. He believes that rapidly developing research will soon provide much better options and a real sense of hope for those patients and their families.

“Repairing damaged hearts has always been one of the holy grails of cardiology,” he says. “The idea that you can repair injuries is a very exciting concept to anyone in my field. It’s really the ultimate goal of medicine.

“Translational research is a very exciting and promising emphasis for a program to have,” Hare adds. “It recognizes that scientific discoveries should be taken into the clinic. But first we have to get past some perceived stumbling blocks, including the dichotomy of what the government is willing to pay for in research and what people really want that will impact on public health.”

Hare brings a number of ongoing clinical trials and a host of researchers with him to the University. He says at least eight of his colleagues are moving to Miami to join him in continuing work they began at Hopkins. Together they plan to advance this rapidly developing field. Soon the group will enjoy new state-of-the-art facilities in the Inter-disciplinary Wet Laboratory in the Biomedical Research Institute, which is currently under construction on campus.

His landmark work has long impressed Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., senior vice president for medical affairs and dean of the Miller School of Medicine. It was Goldschmidt who recently convinced Hare to bring his work to Miami. Goldschmidt says he was especially impressed with Hare’s passion for advancing medicine.

“He rejects the idea that we are doing enough for our patients with injured hearts,” says Goldschmidt. “The need is for novel interventions that aim at reconstituting normal cardiac tissue where the heart has been destroyed. This opportunity is unmatched, barely explored, and incredibly promising.”

As for his moving to Miami, Hare says he and his colleagues are very excited about many things, including the marked difference in weather between South Florida and Maryland.

“I think Miami is a terrific city, and this institution is a great place,” he says. “I’m deeply impressed with my colleagues already at the Miller School and have a very close and long-standing relationship with the dean. That was certainly a huge part of it. But I’m also very impressed by the institution at every step of the way. I just feel like this is the right thing at the right time.”

And Hare can’t wait to get started.

“I believe we’re going to be a leader in this rapidly advancing field of cardiovascular regeneration,” he says. “We’re going to be the leading center in the country.”