About institute

The Institute for Heart Research of the Slovak Academy of Sciences (IHR SAS) is an organization with history lasting more than 55 years.

The main research interest of the IHR SAS is the basic medical research in the area of cardiovascular diseases. The aim of this research is the knowledge and understanding of mechanisms involved in regulation of heart function during serious civilization diseases and that on cellular, subcellular, and molecular level. Emphasis is placed on myocardial ischemia, hypoxia, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, cardiomyopathies, heart and vessels injury as a result of tumor treatment, inflammation, dyslipidemia, and consequential heart complications. The primary objective of the Institute is the study of protective mechanisms and adaptation of cardiovascular system to acute and chronic pathological impulses. Within this scope, mechanisms of ischemic preconditioning, intracellular signaling, properties and function of membrane transport systems, the role of connexin channels during protection against heart arrhythmias, and new mechanisms of some selected cardioprotective drugs are studied.

The origin of the Institute for Heart Research of the SAS may be traced back to the year 1955, when the Laboratory for Experimental Surgery of the Slovak Academy of Sciences was established as a part of the Institute of Experimental Medicine. The Laboratory was transformed to the Institute of Experimental Surgery in 1964. Important milestone in Institute history is year 1990 when the name of the Institute has been changed to the Institute for Heart Research SAS. Since 1 January 2018, IHR SAS joined Institute of Experimental Pharmacology and Toxicology SAS and Institute of Normal and Pathological Physiology SAS to create the Centre of Experimental Medicine of the SAS

The Institute of Experimental Surgery SAS was created by decision of Presidium of SAS in 1964 and the first director of the Institute was Prof. Karol Šiška (was director until 31.12.1978). Scientific work of the Institute during years 1956-1974 was focused mainly on cardiosurgery and cardiology and that with tight cooperation with clinical institutions (II. surgical clinic and II. internal clinic). The research focused on the study of heart function at physiological and pathological conditions was also realized.  

In years 1956-1975 was Institute located at Partizánska Street, since autumn 1975 was translocated to the camp of the Slovak Academy of Sciences at Patrónka. After year 1980 were research activities of the Institute increasingly focused on resolving of actual problems of experimental and molecular cardiology. 

During period January 1979-December 1988 was director of the Institute of Experimental Surgery SAS Dr. Vladimír Holec. Since January 1988 was Institute under leadership of Dr. Ján Slezák, which initiated the change of name of the institution to the Institute for Heart Research SAS. This change was realized on the basis of intended changes concerning research and development activities of the Institute. These activities were since 90-ties focused on basic medical research in area of cardiovascular system diseases. Important role in popularization of research activities of IHR SAS and in prevention of cardiovascular diseases at this time played Slovak League for Prevention and Treatment of Cardiovascular Diseases – Heart to Heart which has been established at the IHR SAS in 1991. The activities of the League were supported and made public also by the European Cardiovascular Society, the European Heart Network, and the World Heart Federation.

After Dr. Slezák was new director of the IHR SAS Dr. Ján Styk (from 1.6.1998 until 31.8.2010) and from 1.9.2010 is director of the Institute Dr. Miroslav Barančík.     

The present organization structure if the IHR SAS includes three departments: Department of Cardiovascular Physiology and Pathophysiology; Department of Biochemistry; and Department of Histochemistry and Electron microscopy. Within these departments are solved actual topics of basic medical research focused on clarification of mechanisms involved in regulations of heart function at physiological and pathological conditions. The potential ways of prevention and modulation of the most serious cardiovascular diseases are also investigated.

As to the methodological and personal representation, the IHR SAS has a multidisciplinary character. Methods of physiology, biochemistry, light and electron microscopy, molecular biology, and immunochemistry used at the Institute allow to solve scientific issues on a complex level – from the molecular level to the level of integrated organism.

Research themes at the Institute were and are solved within grant projects, such as VEGA, APVV, COST, Structural funds EU, European Social Fund, Centre of Excellence of SAS, projects of Ministry of Health of the Slovak Republic, etc. By realization of these scientific projects plays important role an extensive cooperation with other Institutes of the Slovak Academy of Sciences, national universities, clinical institutions, and international scientific institutions.