Craig A. Emter, Ph.D.

  • Associate Professor
  • PhD: University of Colorado, Boulder
  • Postdoctoral Training: University of Missouri- Columbia (Prof. Douglas K. Bowles)
  • Email:
  • Phone: 573-882-4138 (office); 573-884-4259 (lab)

Emter Lab2_upload

Pictured from left to right: Evan Hayes (Veterinary Student), Dr. Craig Emter, Jessica Hiemstra (PhD student), Jan Ivey (Cath Lab manager), Pam Thorne (Lab manager), Jenna Edwards (PhD student), T. Dylan Olver (Postdoctoral Fellow). Not pictured: Whitney Davis (Veterinary Student), Emily Dehn (Undergraduate student)

 Understanding the impact of exercise training on left ventricular and coronary artery electrophysiological and morphological remodeling in heart failure.

The primary focus of my research is to understand the impact of exercise training on the myocardium and coronary arteries of the failing heart.  The main goals of the lab are to determine the intensity and frequency of exercise that may provide benefits in heart failure patients and the cellular mechanisms underlying these changes.  Cardiac function is compromised in heart failure, thus, the level of exercise that these patients are able to perform and still gain health benefits is likely to be very different from other patient populations.  It is our hope that the elucidation of these changes will allow physicians to better utilize exercise as a therapeutic modality in a clinical setting of heart failure.

Currently, the research efforts in my lab are focused on understanding the effect of exercise on electrophysiological remodeling, specifically K+ and Ca2+ ion channels, and their impact on vascular function in the coronary arteries of failing hearts.  We are also examining changes to left ventricular fibrosis in heart failure following exercise.  Recently, we have discovered exercise reduces cardiac fibrosis and maintains normal coronary vascular function as a result of preventing the loss of Ca2+-sensitive K+ current.

My laboratory currently uses catheter techniques and ultrasound to measure cardiac and coronary vascular function in vivo and patch clamping, cannulated vessel preparations, histology, and biochemical techniques to study the mechanisms and impact of exercise in heart failure.

A full list of publications can be found here:

Dylan Olver, Diana Klakotskaia, Brian S. Ferguson, Jessica A. Hiemstra, Todd R. Schachtman, M. Harold Laughlin, and Craig A. Emter. Carotid artery vascular mechanics serve as biomarkers of cognitive dysfunction in aortic-banded mini-swine that can be treated with an exercise intervention. Journal of the American Heart Association, 2016; 5: e003248 doi:10.1161/JAHA.116.003248

Jessica A. Hiemstra, Dong I. Lee, Khalid Chakir, Manuel Gutiérrez-Aguilar, Kurt D. Marshall, Pamela J. Zgoda, Noelany Cruz Rivera, Daniel G. Dozier, Brian S. Ferguson, Denise M. Heublein, John C. Burnett, Carolin Scherf, Jan R. Ivey, Gianmaria Minervini, Kerry S. McDonald, Christopher P. Baines, Maike Krenz, Timothy L. Domeier, and Craig A. Emter. Saxagliptin and Tadalafil Differentially Alter cGMP Signaling and Left Ventricular Function in Aortic-Banded Mini-Swine. Journal of the American Heart Association, 2016; 5: e003277 doi:10.1161/JAHA.116.003277

Hanft LM, Cornell TD, McDonald CA, Rovetto MJ, Emter CA, McDonald KS.Molecule Specific Effects of PKA-Mediated Phosphorylation on Rat Isolated Heart and Cardiac Myofibrillar Function. Arch Biochem Biophys. 2016 Feb 5. pii: S0003-9861(16)30019-4. doi: 10.1016/

Kapiloff MS and Emter CA. The cardiac enigma: current conundrums in heart failure researchF1000Research 2016, 5(F1000 Faculty Rev):72 (doi: 10.12688/f1000research.7278.1)

Kerry S. McDonald and Craig A. Emter. Exploring New Concepts in the Management of Heart Failure with Preserved Ejection Fraction: Is Exercise the Key for Improving Treatment? Journal of Applied Physiology, July 2015. DOI:10.1152/japplphysiol.00570.2015.

Michael W. Tee, Samuel Won, Fabio S. Raman, Colin Yi, Davis Vigneault, Cynthia Davies-Venn, Songtao Liu, Albert Lardo, João A.C. Lima, J. Alison Noble, Craig A. Emter, & David A Bluemke. Regional Strain by Multidetector Computed Tomography in Cardiomyopathy: Relationship to CMR tagging and Myocardial Fibrosis. Radiology. 2015 Oct;277(1):88-94. doi: 10.1148/radiol.2015142339.

Jessica A. Hiemstra, Manuel Gutiérrez-Aguilar, Kurt D. Marshall, Kyle S. McCommis, Pamela J. Zgoda, Noelany Cruz-Rivera, Nathan T. Jenkins, Maike Krenz, Timothy L. Domeier, Christopher P. Baines, & Craig A. Emter. A New Twist on an Old Idea Part 2: Cyclosporine Preserves Normal Mitochondrial but not Cardiomyocyte Function in Mini-Swine with Compensated Heart Failure. Physiol Rep, 2 (6), 2014, e12050, doi:14814/phy2.12050.

Jessica A. Hiemstra, Songtao Liu, Mark A. Ahlman, Karl H. Schuleri, Albert C. Lardo, PhD, Christopher P. Baines, Kevin C. Dellsperger, David A. Bluemke, and Craig A. Emter. A New Twist on an Old Idea: A 2-Dimensional Speckle Tracking Assessment of Cyclosporine as a Therapeutic Alternative for Heart Failure with Preserved Ejection Fraction. Physiol Rep, 1 (7), 2013, e00174, doi: 10.1002/phy2.174

Kurt D. Marshall, Brittany N. Muller, Maike Krenz, Laurin M Hanft, Kerry S. McDonald, Kevin C. Dellsperger, and Craig A. Emter. Heart Failure with Preserved Ejection Fraction: Chronic Low-Intensity Interval Exercise Training Preserves Myocardial O2 Balance and Diastolic Function. J Appl Physiol, 114: 131-147, 2013.

Kerry S. McDonald, Laurin Hanft, Timothy Domeier and Craig Emter.  Length and PKA dependence of force generation and loaded shortening in porcine cardiac myocytes. Biochem Res Int, Jan 2012: 371415.

Emter CA, Tharp DL, Ivey JR, Ganjam VK, and Bowles DK. Low-Intensity Interval Exercise Training Attenuates Coronary Vascular Dysfunction and Preserves Ca2+-sensitive K+ Current in Miniature Swine with LV Hypertrophy. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol, 301: H1687-H1694, 2011.

Emter CA and Baines, CP.  Low-Intensity Aerobic Interval Training Attenuates Pathological Left Ventricular Remodeling and Mitochondrial Dysfunction in Aortic-Banded Miniature Swine. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol, 299: H1348-H1356, 2010.

Adam J. Chicco, Sylvia A. McCune, Craig A. Emter, Genevieve C. Sparagna, Meredith L. Rees, David A. Bolden, Kurt D. Marshall, Russell L. Moore. Low-Intensity Exercise Training Delays Heart Failure and Improves Survival in Female Hypertensive Heart Failure Rats.  Hypertension, 51: 1096-1102, 2008.

Emter CA, McCune SA, Sparagna GC, Radin MJ, and Moore RL. Low-Intensity Exercise Training Delays the Onset of Decompensated Heart Failure in the Spontaneously Hypertensive Heart Failure (SHHF) Rat. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol289: H2030-H2038, 2005.