The Implantable Artificial Heart Project
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The AbioCor Replacement Heart
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The Researchers
Laman A. Gray, Jr., M.D.
Robert D. Dowling, M.D.

The Researchers

Laman A. Gray, Jr., MD

Dr. Laman Gray, Professor of Surgery and Director of the Division of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery at the University of Louisville School of Medicine, is co-principal investigator for the Jewish Hospital/University of Louisville AbioCor research team.

Dr. Gray, a Louisville native, received his Bachelor of Arts degree with distinction in chemistry from Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut where the American Chemical Society honored him for Outstanding Work in Organic Chemistry. He then received his M.D. from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. His completed his training with an internship and residencies in general and thoracic surgery at the University of Michigan.

Dr. Gray joined the faculty and staff of the University of Louisville and Jewish Hospital in 1974 and was named Acting Chairman of the Division of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery the following year. He has been Director of the Division since 1976, and has served as president of the Kentucky Chapter of the American College of Chest Physicians, the Greater Louisville Division of the American Heart Association and the Kentucky Chapter of the American College of Cardiology. Under his leadership, the Division’s faculty has conducted ground-breaking research in minimally invasive and beating-heart cardiac surgeries, cardiomyoplasty, pre-transplant organ preservation and mechanical heart devices.

Dr. Gray is an internationally recognized leader in the fields of cardiac surgery and development of artificial hearts and circulatory support systems. Dr. Gray’s outstanding accomplishments include performing the first heart transplant in Kentucky (1984) and the first bridge to heart transplant after the use of a Thoratec Bi-Ventricular Assist Device in the United States (1985).

Laman A. Gray, Jr., M.D., and Robert D. Dowling, M.D.
Laman A. Gray, Jr., M.D. (Right) and Robert D.
Dowling, M.D. (Left)

He was also an original investigator for the Novacor Ventricular Assist Device System. In 1992 he performed the first clinical use of ABIOMED’s SupraCor IABP and was one of the four primary clinical investigators that brought ABIOMED’s BVS-5000 temporary cardiac support system to clinical approval by the FDA.

He has been the Director of the University of Louisville School of Medicine’s Division of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery for more than 20 years and is a founding member of the Jewish Hospital Heart and Lung Institute. He lives in Louisville, Kentucky with his wife. He has three grown daughters.


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Jewish Hospital University of Louisville Health Sciences Center