Weill Cornell Medical College of Cornell University

Weill Cornell Medical College and its affiliated New York Presbyterian Hospital are internationally known for their primary care of patients with aortic diseases and for their excellence as a major tertiary care referral center for these conditions. At Weill Cornell-New York Presbyterian Hospital, cardiologists see more than 100 new patients per year with Marfan syndrome (MFS) and other genetic disorders of the aorta, nearly half of whom are women. New patients have a diverse ethnic distribution paralleling that of the broad New York metropolitan area. Cardiothoracic surgeons operate on more than 100 patients per year with aortic disease with similar gender and ethnic distributions. Patients with genetic disorders and thoracic aortic aneurysm and dissection (TAAD) are seen in the hospital’s cardiology, genetic, and cardiac surgery offices on a daily basis, and these clinics will be the focus of recruitment by the study coordinator/genetic counselor.

Photo of Richard Devereux, MD

Richard Devereux, MD 
Principal Investigator

Richard Devereux, MD, professor of medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College, is director of the Adult Echocardiography Laboratory. Dr. Devereux serves as principal investigator for the GenTAC Registry at Cornell. He has a major research interest in genetic disorders of cardiovascular connective tissues diseases, in addition to extensive investigations of cardiac and vascular effects of hypertension, diabetes, and obesity; ventriculo-vascular coupling; and echocardiographic and electrocardiographic methodology. His research has been published in peer-reviewed journals and has received NIH funding from 1979 through 2016. Dr. Devereux is internationally recognized for his contributions to the understanding of cardiovascular connective tissue diseases, including establishing the heritability, clinical features, and prognostic implications of mitral valve prolapse; developing methods used worldwide for recognition of aortic enlargement; clarifying cardiac features of MFS; and examining the prevalence and associated features of aortic dilatation and aortic regurgitation in a variety of populations. Dr. Devereux is an author of the current standard diagnostic criteria for MFS—“revised Ghent” nosology—published in the Journal of Medical Genetics (2010). He is a longtime member and former chair of the Professional Advisory Board of the National Marfan Foundation and served on the Epidemiology and Disease Control Study Section for 8 years, including 2 years as chair. He serves on the editorial boards of six journals and chairs the Monitoring Board of the Multi-Ethnic Society of Atherosclerosis. Dr. Devereux’s laboratory participates in several NHLBI-funded studies of genetic epidemiology, providing ultrasonically derived cardiac or arterial phenotypes in nearly 15,000 individuals for the Strong Heart Study, HyperGEN, GOCADAN, Family Blood Pressure Program, and the Strong Heart Family Study.


Photo of Mary J. Roman, MD

Mary J. Roman, MD 

Mary J. Roman, MD, is professor of medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College. She was a leading contributor of patients to the initial GenTAC Registry and became a co-investigator in 2010. She has had continuous NIH funding of her research since 1990. Her clinical areas of expertise include genetically triggered aortic aneurysms, complex valvular heart disease, and cardiovascular involvement in chronic inflammatory diseases. Her recent research has focused on premature vascular aging (both atherosclerosis and arteriosclerosis) in chronic inflammatory diseases. Her work has documented the importance of chronic inflammation in directly causing premature atherosclerosis, vascular stiffening, and ventricular hypertrophy. These findings are redirecting research to find safe and effective treatments to limit cardiovascular disease, in addition to traditional rheumatologic manifestations. In another area of active research, using a novel method to noninvasively measure central aortic blood pressure in NIH-funded population-based studies, she has documented the greater importance of central blood pressure in predicting cardiovascular disease compared to brachial blood pressure. This observation may influence the ways in which hypertension is diagnosed and treated. Dr. Roman is also the principal investigator at Cornell for the Pediatric Heart Network treatment trial in children and adolescents with Marfan syndrome. In addition, she serves on the board of directors of the National Marfan Foundation. Her research has been published in the New England Journal of Medicine, Journal of the American Medical Association, Annals of Internal Medicine, Circulation, Hypertension, and Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology. She has co-authored important consensus guidelines for the American Society of Echocardiography. She also served on the editorial boards of Hypertension, Journal of Hypertension, and Arthritis and Rheumatism.

Photo of Jonathan W. Weinsaft, MD

Jonathan W. Weinsaft, MD

Jonathan W. Weinsaft, MD, is an associate professor of medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College, where he directs the cardiac magnetic resonance imaging program. He has served as co-investigator for GenTAC since its inception, and he will continue in this role. Dr. Weinsaft has an established research focus on novel cardiovascular imaging methods and has published more than 50 manuscripts related to cardiovascular imaging in journals such as the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, Journal of the American College of Cardiology: Cardiovascular Imaging, Radiology, Journal of Hypertension, and Circulation: Cardiovascular Imaging. He has served as an external peer reviewer for AHA/ACC consensus CT guidelines and has been an invited speaker at national and international scientific conferences, including the American College of Cardiology and the Society for Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance Imaging. His investigation in the area of cardiovascular imaging is internationally recognized, and he has been awarded both the AHA Laennec Society Young Clinician Award and the Interurban Clinical Club Sir William Osler Young Investigator Award. Dr. Weinsaft’s imaging research includes developmental imaging approaches for quantification of aortic remodeling and identification of novel indices for predicting clinical outcomes for patients with genetically mediated aortic aneurysms.


Tanya LaTortue, MPH

Tanya LaTortue, MPH, is a research coordinator in the Department of Medicine, Division of Cardiology at Cornell. She has a master’s in public health from Columbia University, New York with an emphasis on sociomedical sciences. She has a history working in epidemiologic and behavioral science research, strategic health campaign management, and program evaluation. Ms. LaTortue is responsible for patient recruitment and enrollment through Cornell's Cardiology clinic, Echocardiography lab, and surgery division, and also coordinates biospecimen collection, data extraction, and follow-up. Ms. LaTortue's research interests include cardiovascular disease prevention and nutritional genomics.