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Internationally renowned researcher joins Summa Cardiovascular Institute

Date: 06.14.2011
Contact: Jennifer Farquhar Phone: (330) 375-4930

Contact: Jennifer Farquhar, Phone: (330) 375-4930, Email:

AKRON, June 14, 2011 – A leading cardiovascular researcher and cardiologist whose research has led to several discoveries in the field will be joining Summa Cardiovascular Institute in July to head Summa’s heart research program and lead a team of researchers at Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED).

Marc Steven Penn, M.D., Ph.D., FACC, will serve as director of research for Summa Cardiovascular Institute and professor of Medicine and Integrative Medical Sciences at NEOMED. Dr. Penn and his research team of five scientists will be joining Akron-based Summa Health System and NEOMED to conduct both basic science and clinical research that stands to enhance the lives of Summa patients and heart patients around the world.

“We are absolutely thrilled to welcome Dr. Penn and his team to Summa and to NEOMED,” said Kenneth Berkovitz, M.D., medical director of Summa Cardiovascular Institute. “Dr. Penn and his team hold great promise for the future of Summa’s cardiovascular research program and will play a vital role in Summa’s mission to provide cutting-edge, high-quality care to Northeast Ohio residents.”

Dr. Penn and his team’s research focuses on helping the heart repair itself after acute injury such as heart attack or while the patient is facing chronic diseases including heart failure.

“I believe that Summa can be one of the top institutions nationally for any organization or lab that wants to translate novel (new) technology and offer a clinical trial to patients in cardiovascular medicine,” Dr. Penn said. “Patients, also, will come to recognize that Summa is the place to go to find new and innovative treatment options for cardiovascular disease, whether they’ve lived with it for many years or are newly diagnosed.”

Dr. Penn’s group has repeatedly translated novel findings in the lab to clinical populations, bridging the two worlds of clinical trials in patient care and the laboratory where these trials originate.

“We are excited to have Dr. Penn and his team establish their discovery research laboratory at Northeast Ohio Medical University and form a collaborative program with our world class cardiovascular research scientists led by William M. Chilian, Ph.D.,” said Walter E. Horton, Jr., Ph.D., vice president for research and dean of the College of Graduate Studies at NEOMED. “This shared recruitment will form a true partnership between Summa and NEOMED supporting bench to bedside translational research.”

In addition to his research, Dr. Penn will participate in the care of patients in the Coronary Care Unit at the Ann and David Brennan Critical Care Center at Summa Akron City Hospital. He will also provide care on an outpatient basis as a member of Northeast Ohio Cardiovascular Specialists/Summa Physicians Inc. – Cardiology.

Dr. Penn previously served as a cardiologist in the Department of Cardiovascular Medicine in the Heart and Vascular Institute of Cleveland Clinic. Since 2006, as director of the Bakken Heart-Brain Institute, he has collaborated with Earl Bakken, founder of Medtronic to further develop the field of Heart-Brain Medicine. In 2007, his laboratory was named the Skirball Laboratory for Cardiovascular Cellular Therapeutics, and, in 2008, he become the first director of the Center for Cardiovascular Cell Therapy at Cleveland Clinic after serving as medical director of the Coronary Intensive Care Unit. Since 2001, Dr. Penn has also served as the director of the Experimental Cardiology Laboratory at Cleveland Clinic.

Dr. Penn’s education and training have helped him develop diagnostics and drug delivery systems for the treatment of cardiovascular disease, including strategies to optimize gene therapy and stem cell therapy for the regeneration of myocardial tissue. His work has led to several patents and patent applications, the rights of which reside in at least six companies to-date. Dr. Penn is an advisor to several companies and venture funds in the area of innovative heart research. His work moving to the Akron area also has the potential to impact the Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron (ABIA).

“What I find most exciting about Akron is the collaborative environment,” Dr. Penn said. “From Summa, to NEOMED, to ABIA, everyone demonstrates an interest, a willingness and a commitment to collaborate. As someone who does bench research, clinical work and takes on entrepreneurial endeavors, Akron offers a unique environment with fluidity from one to the next.”

Dr. Penn has been an invited lecturer at international symposiums and conferences and is author or co-author of numerous published articles, abstracts, book chapters and books on a wide range of topics, from diabetes and lipoprotein oxidation; the development and role of cardiovascular diagnostics; and stem cell and gene based therapies for heart disease.

Dr. Penn completed his undergraduate and post graduate work at Case Western Reserve University completing a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering in 1989 and Doctor of Medicine in 1994. He completed his Internal Medicine training at University Hospitals of Cleveland and his Cardiovascular Medicine Fellowship at Cleveland Clinic. Dr. Penn has adjunct academic appointments at Case Western Reserve University in the Department of Biomedical Engineering and the Bioengineering Center at Cleveland State University, which he plans to continue.

About Summa Health System
Summa Health System is one of the largest integrated healthcare delivery systems in Ohio. Encompassing a network of hospitals, community health centers, a health plan, a physician-hospital organization, a multi-specialty physician organization, research and multiple foundations, Summa is nationally renowned for excellence in patient care and for exceptional approaches to healthcare delivery. Summa's clinical services are consistently recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (Magnet® status), U.S. News and World Report, Thomson Reuters and The Leapfrog Group. Summa also is a founding partner of the Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron. For more information, visit or find us on Facebook at and Twitter at

About Northeast Ohio Medical University
Northeast Ohio Medical University, formerly known as Northeastern Ohio Universities Colleges of Medicine and Pharmacy (NEOUCOM), is a community-based, public medical university with a mission to improve the quality of health care in Northeast Ohio working in collaboration with its educational and clinical partners. With a focus on scientific and medical research, and the interprofessional training of health professionals that is unique to the state of Ohio, the University offers a doctor of medicine (M.D.) and a doctor of pharmacy (Pharm.D.) degree, in addition to graduate-level coursework and research opportunities leading to master’s and doctoral degrees in other medical areas. Northeast Ohio Medical University is a founding member of the Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron. Visit