Image of Michael J. Ackerman, M.D., Ph.D., in his Sudden Death Genomics Lab at Mayo Clinic Understanding sudden death

The Windland Smith Rice Sudden Death Genomics Lab has discovered more than a dozen genes with a predisposition to sudden death and remains committed to improving diagnostic and prognostic approaches to long QT syndrome, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, sudden death in young athletes and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).


The Windland Smith Rice Sudden Death Genomics Laboratory at Mayo Clinic is dedicated to the discovery of novel disease-causing genes and the elucidation of genotype-phenotype relationships.

Located in Rochester, Minnesota, and led by principal investigator Michael J. Ackerman, M.D., Ph.D., the Sudden Death Genomics Lab is developing new treatments and studying cardiac channelopathies, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and postmortem genetic testing.

In particular, our lab studies:

In conjunction with the Long QT Syndrome Clinic/Genetic Heart Rhythm Clinic, at Mayo Clinic, our lab conducts clinical translational research efforts devoted to identifying people at greatest risk of sudden death.

In addition to gene discovery, we focus on characterization, modeling and development of potential treatments of novel arrhythmia-associated genes and variants via whole-cell electrophysiology, and modeling of patient-specific induced pluripotent stem cell cardiomyocytes.

Our lab has a large clinical research program focused on understanding treatments and outcomes of these conditions, with several ongoing retrospective and prospective studies and clinical trials.

Our lab also collaborates on cardiovascular disease research with other scientists at Mayo Clinic and around the world.

About Dr. Ackerman

Dr. Ackerman is a distinguished physician and researcher. Dr. Ackerman is a pediatric cardiologist at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and holds the Windland Smith Rice Cardiovascular Genomics Research Professorship. He is a professor of medicine, a professor of pediatrics and a professor of pharmacology at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science. He joined the staff of Mayo Clinic in July 2000 as a senior associate consultant and assistant professor in medicine and pediatrics.

Dr. Ackerman graduated summa cum laude in 1988 from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, with a B.A. in mathematics. In 1995, he earned an M.D. and a Ph.D. from Mayo Clinic School of Medicine and Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. He completed a postdoctoral research fellowship in the laboratory of Stephen N. Thibodeau, Ph.D., with a Howard W. Siebens Molecular Medicine Award. Dr. Ackerman was in residency training in pediatrics and adolescent medicine and fellowship training in pediatric cardiology in the Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences from 1995 to 2000.

He received the Mayo Brothers Distinguished Fellowship Award in 1997 and the Donald C. Balfour Mayo Clinic Alumni Association Research Award from the Mayo Alumni Association in 2000. In 2007, Dr. Ackerman received the 25th distinguished Young Investigator Award from the Society for Pediatric Research. He was inducted into the American Society for Clinical Investigation in 2010.

Dr. Ackerman has also received numerous Mayo Clinic research and teaching awards, including the Teacher of the Year award from Mayo Medical School in 2009, the Outstanding Investigator Award from the Department of Medicine in 2011, the Dean's Recognition Award from Mayo Medical School in 2013, and the Mayo Clinic Distinguished Clinician Award in 2015.