Rochester, Minnesota


Behfar.Atta@mayo.edu Clinical Profile


The laboratory of Atta Behfar, M.D., Ph.D., uses state-of-the-art technologies developed at Mayo Clinic to understand heart disease at its most elemental level. With this understanding, Dr. Behfar and his colleagues are doing cardiovascular regeneration research with the aim of developing novel therapies to prevent and cure chronic heart conditions.

Specifically, the group led by Dr. Behfar focuses on development and use of both stem cells and protein-based therapies to reverse injury caused by lack of blood flow to the heart.

Goals include:

  • Development and application of a ready-to-use protein-based technology to protect the heart at the time of infarction
  • Application of highly reparative cardiopoietic stem cell technology to a broad range of heart failure conditions

Focus areas

  • Phase III clinical testing of cardiopoietic stem cells in patients with end-stage heart failure
  • First-in-human, or Phase Ib, testing of cardiopoietic stem cells in the setting of heart surgery:
    • Valvular heart disease with low ejection fraction
    • Ischemic and nonischemic heart disease requiring left ventricular assist device (LVAD) implantation
    • Ischemic heart disease requiring coronary artery bypass graft surgery (CABG)
  • Development and validation of a rapid diagnostic panel to identify patients at highest risk of heart failure following a heart attack
  • Optimization and preclinical testing of protein delivery to the heart following infarction

Significance to patient care

By 2020, as many as 1 in 5 people in the United States will have heart disease. Cardiovascular regeneration work done at Mayo Clinic offers new hope to patients with chronic heart conditions that can only be palliated by current standards of care — leaving the underlying issue untreated. With a track record of translating regenerative therapies from research into clinical application, Dr. Behfar and his colleagues aim to develop technologies that will repair heart tissue, significantly improving the quality of life in heart disease patients.

As the director of the Van Cleve Cardiac Regenerative Medicine Program in the Mayo Clinic Center for Regenerative Biotherapeutics, Dr. Behfar ensures technological and translational readiness and provides oversight of technological platforms, infrastructure and clinical trials to advance new knowledge to clinical applications.

Professional highlights

  • R. Scott Braswell, Jr., and Mary Lou P. Braswell Deputy Director for Translation, Mayo Clinic Center for Regenerative Medicine (now Mayo Clinic Center for Regenerative Biotherapeutics), 2018-2021
  • Director, Van Cleve Cardiac Regenerative Medicine Program, Mayo Clinic, 2014-present
  • Recipient, Herman K. Gold Young Investigator Award, American College of Cardiology, 2010
  • Foundation Fellow, Clinician Investigator Program, General Mills, 2009-present
  • Recipient, Presidential Award, American Society for Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics, 2005


Primary Appointment

  1. Consultant, Division of Circulatory Failure, Department of Cardiovascular Medicine

Joint Appointment

  1. Senior Associate Consultant, Department of Physiology & Biomedical Engineering
  2. Consultant, Division of Interventional Cardiology, Department of Cardiovascular Medicine

Academic Rank

  1. Professor of Medicine
  2. Assistant Professor of Pharmacology


  1. Fellowship - Advanced heart failure and transplant cardiology fellowship Mayo Clinic School of Graduate Medical Education
  2. Clinical Fellowship Mayo Clinic School of Graduate Medical Education
  3. Clinician Investigator - Internal Medicine/Cardiology Mayo Clinic School of Graduate Medical Education
  4. MD/PhD Molecular Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, Programs, Mayo Graduate School, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine
  5. Undergraduate Studies - Bachelor of Science-Biochemistry (major), Mathematics (minor) Phi Beta Kappa, Alpha Sigma Nu, Magna Cum Laude Marquette University

Clinical Studies

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