Our Team

Our team of pioneering researchers and renowned thought leaders possess keen expertise to guide early ideas and inventions through preclinical development and into human trials.

Greg L. Kaluza MD, PhD, is the Director of Research at the CRF Skirball Center for Innovation . He has extensive expertise in guiding early ideas and inventions through comprehensive research programs to introduce practical therapies into clinical cardiovascular medicine.

Prior to CRF, Dr. Kaluza served as Scientific Director of the Center for Research in Cardiovascular Interventions and as Co-Director of the Angiographic Core Laboratory at the Methodist Hospital Research Institute in Houston, Texas. He received his medical degree from the Nicolas Copernicus Academy of Medicine in Kraków, Poland. He completed his postgraduate fellowship at the Laboratory of Physiology, University of Antwerp, Belgium, and his residency in internal medicine at the Jagiellonian University College of Medicine, Kraków, Poland.   

Geng-Hua Yi, MD, is Assistant Director, Cardiovascular Surgical Therapies at the CRF Skirball Center for Innovation. Dr. Yi received his medical degree and a master’s degree in thoracic surgery from Nantong Medical College in Jiangsu, China. He also did his residency at the affiliated hospital of Nantong Medical College and a fellowship in cardiovascular surgery at the Chinese Academy of Medical Science.

Yanping Cheng, MD is the Assistant Director of Cardiovascular Imaging at the CRF Skirball Center for Innovation. She has been trained in clinical cardiology and echocardiography, as well as in cardiovascular physiology. She has performed preclinical surgeries and other studies for more than 10 years. She joined SCI in 2006 and is SCI’s premier echocardiography and endovascular imaging specialist.

Athanasios Peppas, BA, MS Director of Operations CRF Skirball Center for Innovation. He earned a BS in Biology from Rutgers University and a MS in Cell Biology and Molecular Medicine from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. He was trained in the laboratory of Dr. Stephen F. Vatner and has over 14 years of experience in preclinical cardiovascular research.

Torsten P. Vahl, MD is an Interventional Research Associate at the CRF Skirball Center for Innovation. Specializing in structural heart interventions, he is an interventional cardiologist at the Center for Interventional Vascular Therapy at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center and also an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Columbia University Medical Center. Dr. Vahl is board certified in internal medicine, cardiovascular disease, and interventional cardiology. Before joining SCI in 2014, he spent eight years in research, working with various preclinical models during his training at the University of Cincinnati and the Mount Sinai School of Medicine.

Gerard Conditt, RCIS Manager, CathLab and Imaging Services at the CRF Skirball Center for Innovation. He is credentialed as a Registered Cardiovascular Invasive Specialist and has over 17 years of direct patient care and interventional cardiology experience as a senior cath lab assistant in a cardiac cathertization lab. He has worked full time in the preclinical research setting since joining SCI in March 2006 and is a graduate of the United States Cardiopulmonary Technology Program, Naval School of Health Sciences.

Our History

For over a decade, we have built a solid reputation as the premier destination for those seeking to develop and validate new cardiovascular technologies. Since 2005, we have participated in over 190 innovation programs.


Our state-of-the-art clinical research center is equipped with the latest technology for testing devices and drug therapies.

Our exceptional facilities include:

  • Two top-of-the-line cardiac catheterization laboratories equipped with state-of-the-art imaging software that facilitates sophisticated analyses during and following device implantation; our facility participates as the development site for multiple X-ray-based technologies and imaging applications
  • Noninvasive imaging including 3-D echocardiography, intravascular ultrasound (IVUS), and CT angiography
  • Invasive imaging including the latest generation of IVUS and OCT and all related imaging analytical software
  • Histopathology services and cell culture laboratory
  • Integrated statistical tools for independent analysis to confirm the validity and statistical implications of a study