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  • Lifespan's Chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery

  • Cardiac Services
    Rhode Island Hospital and The Miriam Hospital


    Frank Sellke, MDFrank Sellke, MD, FACS, is Lifespan's chief of the division of cardiothoracic surgery. Sellke heads a structured academic/clinical division of cardiothoracic surgery, which will provide services to Lifespan-affiliated hospitals.

    Sellke is a nationally and internationally acclaimed cardiothoracic surgeon recognized for his superior clinical skills, commitment to excellence in patient care, and seminal and cutting-edge cardiovascular research, which is supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Most recently, he was the Johnson & Johnson endowed professor at Harvard Medical School, and was a senior cardiovascular surgeon, as well as chief of both cardiothoracic surgery and cardiothoracic research at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

    He received his medical degree from Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis, where he also completed a surgical internship. He completed several surgical residencies, was chief resident of thoracic and cardiovascular surgery at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City, and held a research fellowship in vascular physiology at the university's college of medicine.

    Sellke's research primarily focuses on microcirculation of the heart, lung, brain and other organs as it relates to blood vessel expansion, contraction and permeability, and on angiogenesis (promoting the growth of new blood vessels) to increase blood flow in a heart with vessels severely narrowed by coronary disease. Angiogenesis helps patients who cannot undergo standard coronary bypass surgery. He will bring three NIH grants to Rhode Island to support his research dealing with collateral vessel formation in response to myocardial ischemia and inflammatory changes in blood vessels during the time of heart surgery.

    Sellke says, "I am extremely excited to be a part of the great team of doctors and scientists at Lifespan. The leadership and I are in complete alignment with our goal to make this one of the best programs both clinically and in research in cardiothoracic surgery and cardiology in the Northeast."