Dr. Kao received his BS from Johns Hopkins University Whiting School of Engineering and his MD from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Currently, he sees patients in the General Cardiology Clinic in the Cardiovascular Center at UC Health University of Colorado Hospital. Dr. Kao recognizes the demonstrable lack of individualized knowledge and medical care for women and has a deep interest in research that will advance the idea of personalized medicine and health equity.
From 2012 to 2020, Dr. Kao received funding from the Ludeman Center for his project, “Mentored Research in Women’s Health, Sex Differences, and Cardiovascular Disease Identification and Characterization of Gender-Specific Heart Failure Phenotypes.” His research was supported by Jacqueline’s Research Fund with a general focus on heart failure, particularly heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF). Heart failure is a major cause of morbidity, mortality, and resource utilization throughout the world, and its importance is increasing with the aging population. An integrative approach that considers multiple factors including sex, comorbid conditions, cardiac function, and biomarkers may better predict HF progression and identify therapeutic targets that differ between sexes and patient phenotype. Given that his work is primarily focused on HFpEF, his research has the potential to greatly benefit women’s heart health.
Dr. Kao recognizes his early-career mentorship from both JoAnn Lindenfeld, MD, and Judy Regensteiner, PhD at CU who had a powerful influence on his understanding of the gap in knowledge of heart disease between men and women. While the Ludeman Center’s research support through mentorship, funding and community has led him to receive significant funding from both the National Institutes of Health and the American Heart Association.
“As a physician scientist, it is sometimes hard to find opportunities to present my work to communities and patients, in particular. The committed supporters of the Ludeman Center have always been enthusiastic, interactive and insightful when I have attended their events, and they frequently give me great new ideas about directions for my research,” Dr. Kao shares.
His current research focuses on developing approaches to understand HF patients’ conditions holistically to better support individualized decision-making based on several considerations. including medical conditions, personal preference, social obligations and life goals.