DeLisa Fairweather, Ph.D., is director of translational research for the Department of Cardiovascular Diseases at Mayo Clinic's Florida campus. Dr. Fairweather's Translational Cardiovascular Disease Research Laboratory conducts translational research focused on finding individualized therapies and improved diagnosis for chronic inflammatory diseases.
Dr. Fairweather specializes in how sex differences in inflammation caused by environmental exposures lead to chronic inflammatory disease. She is an expert in myocarditis, dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) and heart failure, where she uses models that translate to human disease.
- COVID-19 convalescent plasma. Dr. Fairweather is co-investigator and leader of the U.S. COVID convalescent plasma expanded access program (EAP), a national program co-sponsored by the U.S. Government's Food and Drug Administration and Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority. The EAP works to coordinate the collection and distribution of COVID-19 convalescent plasma for the treatment of individuals with severe or life-threatening disease, as well as to determine the safety and efficacy of convalescent plasma use. Dr. Fairweather's lab played a central role in building and maintaining the REDCap database that houses all site, physician and patient data for the EAP.
- Myocarditis, DCM and heart failure. Dr. Fairweather has been studying myocarditis, DCM and heart failure for the past 25 years. She developed a new animal model of myocarditis and DCM that closely resembles disease in patients. This has allowed her to discover new potential diagnoses and therapies for myocarditis and DCM. She continues to investigate causes of myocarditis and mechanisms of disease. In collaboration with Leslie T. Cooper, M.D., Dr. Fairweather is currently conducting translational studies in myocarditis and DCM patients.
- Sex differences in inflammation. Dr. Fairweather has been studying sex differences in inflammation for over 15 years. Her interests are broad, including sex differences in cardiovascular disease (myocarditis, DCM, heart failure, atherosclerosis), autoimmune diseases (rheumatic autoimmune diseases), cancer and lung disease.
- Biomarkers. Dr. Fairweather has identified a number of biomarkers that can be used to noninvasively diagnose myocarditis, determine risk of sudden or chronic heart failure, predict whether myocarditis will progress to DCM, and possibly serve as new therapies for disease.
- Vitamin D. One biomarker Dr. Fairweather's laboratory is examining is vitamin D, which is a steroid that alters inflammation in a sex-specific manner. Katelyn A. Bruno, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Fairweather's lab, is leading this project. The lab has active studies of vitamin D in relation to myocarditis, DCM, hair loss and kidney stones.
- Regenerative medicine. Recently, Dr. Fairweather has joined the Center for Regenerative Medicine at Mayo Clinic to find new individualized therapies for patients with myocarditis and DCM.
Significance to patient care
The focus of Dr. Fairweather's research is to find breakthroughs by better understanding the pathogenesis of disease. By doing so, she hopes to discover new diagnoses and therapies for patients with cardiovascular and autoimmune diseases such as myocarditis.
- Scientific Advisory Board Member, International Society of Cardiomyopathies, Myocarditis and Heart Failure, 2016-present
- External Advisory Committee, Center for the Study of Sex Differences in Health, Aging and Disease at Georgetown University, 2015-present
- Standing member, Atherosclerosis and Inflammation of the Cardiovascular System Study Section, NIH, 2014-present
- Chair, American Heart Association study section, Immunology BSc4 Review Committee, 2014-2015
- Board member, Myocarditis Foundation, 2011-present