Meet the Team

Eileen M. Handberg, PhD, ARNP, BC, FAHA, FACC
Research Professor of Medicine
Director, Clinical Trials Program
Program Director, Florida CARES

Dr. Handberg is Co-Investigator of the NIH Women’s Ischemic Syndrome Evaluation Study and NIH Cardiovascular Cell Therapy Research Network. Her research interests include exercise, heart failure, ischemic heart disease, and women’s health. She is the Director of the Clinical Trials Program, which supports the research mission for the faculty, fellows, and staff by providing administrative (fiscal and regulatory) and coordinator support. She directs Florida CARES, a practitioner competency program. She is active in the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology. She is Chair of the Continuing Nurse Education committee, a Trustee for the ACC, and serves on several other committees. She is the Program Liaison for the Vascular Biology Working Group ( Dr. Handberg provides adult cardiovascular care in the Division Outpatient Clinic. She is also interested in Exercise and Lifestyle Interventions, Ischemic Heart Disease in Women, and Heart Failure. Publications

Associate Director of Cardiology Clinical Trials

As Associate Director of the Cardiology Clinical Trials program, Dr. Leach manages the clinical research coordinators. She has been with our Division since 1993. Her clinical interests include heart failure, stem cell research, ischemic heart disease, and women’s health. Dr. Leach earned her degrees at the University of Florida. She is a member of Sigma Theta Tau, Association of Clinical Research Professionals (President of NF Chapter1999-2001), Heart Failure Society of America, and the American College of Cardiology. Publications

Carl J. Pepine, MD, MACC
Professor of Medicine
Division Director Emeritus
Eminent Scholar Emeritus

Dr. Pepine is an internationally recognized leader in both the clinical and scientific areas of cardiovascular medicine. His major interests focus on the pathophysiology of ischemic heart disease and coronary and systemic vascular hemodynamic mechanisms underlying the disease. He has had continuous peer reviewed funding for over 40 years, and has coauthored more than 850 scientific publications and edited 6 textbooks. He is principal investigator for the UF center for the NHLBI-funded Women’s Ischemia Syndrome Evaluation (WISE), the UF center for the Cardiovascular Cell Therapy Research Network (CCTRN), and the UF center for the Department of Defense funded Women’s IschemiA TReatment Reduces Events In Non-ObstRuctive CAD (WARRIOR) study, and is MPI for the Brain-Gut Microbiome-Immune Axis in Hypertension project. He is past president of the American College of Cardiology (ACC). He currently serves on the Executive Committee of the UF Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI), the Leadership Committee for the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), OneFlorida Clinical Research Consortium, CDRN, Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy (FACT) Regenerative Medicine Task Force, the Board of Trustees of the ACC and many committees and task forces, and is the founder and overall Project Chair for the Vascular Biology Working Group (VBWG).

Keith March, MD, PhD, FACCKeith March, MD, PhD, FACC
Professor of Medicine
Vice Chief, Cardiology Research

Keith L. March, MD, PhD, FACC, has dedicated his career to bringing new medical approaches to patients. His publications include more than 150 manuscripts. He was the editor of the first book dedicated to cardiovascular gene transfer. Dr. March’s research has resulted in more than 55 worldwide (20+ U.S.) patents, with others pending. He invented the Closer, a widely-utilized patented suture-mediated closure device, used to close the puncture wound in an artery following heart catheterization. This device allows a patient to “walk off the table” after a catheterization without requiring prolonged bedrest. In 1999, Abbott Vascular, an affiliate of Abbott Laboratories, acquired the company that developed this technology; and the Closer approach has been used worldwide to treat more than 8,000,000 patients. He has served as a scientific advisor to numerous pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical device companies. Most recently, he co-founded NeuroFx, Inc., based on a patented platform of technology originating in his laboratory that establishes the therapeutic factors secreted by stem cells as powerful therapeutics for critical medical needs, including degenerative and ischemic diseases of the nervous system. With FDA input, NeuroFx is pursuing this off-the-shelf approach to markedly reduce stroke and prolong quality life in ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), as two near-term goals. Dr. March now serves as the director for the UF Health Center for Regenerative Medicine and as vice chief for cardiology research in the division of cardiovascular medicine at the University of Florida.

Mustafa Ahmed, MD
Associate Professor of Medicine
Medical Director, Mechanical Circulatory Support Program
Program Director, Cardiovascular Disease Fellowship

Dr. Mustafa Ahmed is an Associate Professor for the University of Florida’s Division of Cardiovascular Medicine.  He specializes in advanced heart failure, mechanical circulatory assist and transplantation.  He attended the Johns Hopkins University as an undergraduate and obtained his medical degree at West Virginia University School of Medicine where he received the Van Liere Research Scholarship and the Harak V Dedhia Medical Student Award.  He completed his internship and residency at Thomas Jefferson University.  Dr. Ahmed then trained in Cardiovascular Medicine at the University of Florida, followed by an additional fellowship in Advanced Heart Failure and Transplantation while also serving as the Cardiology Cell Therapy Research Network Training Scholar.  After serving on faculty at Temple University, Dr. Ahmed returned to Florida in 2013.   Dr. Ahmed is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine in Cardiovascular Disease as well as Advanced Heart Failure & Transplant Cardiology.  He is a member of the Heart Failure Society of America as well as the International Society of Heart & Lung Transplantation and was awarded Junior Faculty Best Case Presentation at their 33rd Annual Meeting. Dr. Ahmed has also been recognized with the 2014 Spirit of Gainesville Award in Medicine for his work in the community.

R. David Anderson, MDR. David Anderson, MD, MS, FACC, FSCAI
Professor of Medicine
Director, Interventional Cardiology
Director, Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory
Program Director, Interventional Fellowship Program

Dr. Anderson has continued interest and participation in clinical trials of device and drug development for both stable coronary artery disease and acute coronary syndromes.  His interests also include the application of advanced interventional techniques including rotational and orbital atherectomy, embolic protection, and thrombectomy in the treatment of both coronary artery and peripheral arterial disease.  Dr. Anderson is involved in clinical trials of novel and interventional-based treatments for resistant hypertension.  He has established a multi-disciplinary clinic for the evaluation and treatment of aortic valve disease to include percutaneous valve therapy.  Dr. Anderson has participated in the design and execution of multiple clinical trials involving the use of angiogenesis growth factors in the treatment of peripheral arterial disease and is actively involved in ongoing clinical trials of cardiac regeneration therapy using stem cells.  He is an active member of the American College of Cardiology, the Florida Chapter of the American College of Cardiology, the American Heart Association, and the Society of Coronary Angiography and Intervention.