Microscopy image from the Cardiovascular Molecular Imaging Lab of Martin G. Rodriguez-Porcel, M.D., at Mayo Clinic Imaging innovations

Our lab studies noninvasive imaging modalities to drive discoveries about heart disease, the biology of transplanted stem cells and vascular abnormalities in polycystic kidney disease.


The Cardiovascular Molecular Imaging Laboratory of Martin G. Rodriguez-Porcel, M.D., at Mayo Clinic focuses on the use of molecular imaging modalities to better understand the biology of cardiac stem cells for cardiovascular applications.

Our goal is to use monitoring strategies such as optical imaging, positron emission tomography and ultrasound to study cardio-renal pathophysiology and assess the efficacy of cardiac therapies. Led by Dr. Rodriguez-Porcel, our research team use findings from our biological studies to design improved therapeutic strategies for cardiovascular diseases, ultimately improving patient care.

The Cardiovascular Molecular Imaging Lab has three main areas of focus.

Heart disease

Our lab uses molecular imaging to noninvasively study biological pathways underlying heart disease. This approach is leading to a better understanding of atherosclerotic disease and its consequences and contributing to a better assessment of different therapeutic strategies.

Our goal with this research is to develop new imaging methods for clinical translation and optimize those that already exist. Our lab performs studies ranging from bench research to small and large animals studies, and gets them ready for clinical use.

Stem cell transplantation

One of our main research strategies focuses on the use of reporter gene technology, including work with luciferase-B, thymidine kinase-C and the sodium iodine symporter.

This research is aimed at understanding the biological mechanisms underlying survival, proliferation and biology of stem cells after transplantation, and how they interact with their microenvironment.

Polycystic kidney disease

Our lab has reported the importance of vascular dysfunction in polycystic kidney disease (PKD). Now, we're applying our vasculature expertise to understanding the role of vascular dysfunction in the pathophysiology of polycystic kidney disease and developing new therapeutic targets for this disease.

About Dr. Rodriguez-Porcel

Dr. Rodriguez-Porcel is a cardiologist with a subspecialty in nuclear cardiology. He is also an associate professor of medicine at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science in Rochester, Minnesota. As a physician-scientist, Dr. Rodriguez-Porcel is focused on improving patient care through scientific discovery. With atherosclerosis being a leading cause of death, cell therapy the most important therapeutic development in the last few decades, and PKD the most common genetic cause of renal failure, our research has the potential for significant clinical implications.