Physician’s Profile

Veli K. Topkara, MD

Medical Director of Research, Mechanical Circulatory Support Program
Board Certificates: 
Cardiovascular Disease
Internal Medicine
Heart Failure
Left Ventricular Assist Devices (LVAD)
Mechanical Circulatory Support
Heart Transplantation

2012 - The Rising Star Award in Cardiovascular Research - Washington University School of Medicine

2010 - Jay Cohn Young Investigator Award in Basic Science - Heart Failure Society of America

2010 - First Place (Fellows Basic Science) - Northwestern Cardiovascular Young Investigators' Forum

2006 - Clinical Investigator Scholar, MeRIT Program - Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX


Veli K. Topkara is an Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Department of Medicine, Division of Cardiology at Columbia University Medical Center. He specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of patients with advanced heart failure including those requiring ventricular assist device support and heart transplantation. Dr. Topkara is board-certified in internal medicine, cardiovascular diseases, and advanced heart failure and cardiac transplantation

Dr. Topkara received his medical degree from Hacettepe University, Faculty of Medicine in 2003. He completed internal medicine residency training at Baylor College of Medicine as a MeRIT Scholar and cardiology fellowship training at Washington University in St. Louis. Dr. Topkara completed post-doctoral basic cardiovascular research training at Washington University School of Medicine in the laboratory of Dr. Douglas Mann and received a master’s degree in genetic epidemiology from Washington University School of Medicine in 2012. He also completed additional clinical fellowship training in advanced heart failure and cardiac transplantation at Columbia University Medical Center at NewYork-Presbyterian. 

Dr. Topkara’s research focuses on basic mechanisms of myocardial recovery with an emphasis on transcriptional and metabolic regulation of cardiac reverse remodeling pathways. His research interests include clinical and genetic determinants of chemotherapy-induced heart failure, inherited cardiomyopathies, and clinical outcomes of patients requiring left ventricular assist device support and/or cardiac transplantation. Dr. Topkara analyzes biological samples obtained from patients with heart failure to identify novel biomarkers associated with disease progression, and performs mechanistic studies in cell and animal models. Dr. Topkara has received recognition for his research accomplishments. His research awards include the 2010 Jay N. Cohn New Investigator Award in Basic Science from the Heart Failure Society of America and 2010 Northwestern Cardiovascular Young Investigators' Forum Basic Science Award. Dr. Topkara has published more than 90 publications and presented his research nationally and internationally. 

Topkara VK, Coromilas EJ, Garan AR, Li RC, Castagna F, Jennings DL, Yuzefpolskaya M, Takeda K, Takayama H, Sladen RN, Mancini DM, Naka Y, Radhakrishnan J, Colombo PC. "Preoperative Proteinuria and Reduced Glomerular Filtration Rate Predicts Renal Replacement Therapy in Patients Supported With Continuous-Flow Left Ventricular Assist Devices." Circ Heart Fail. 2016 Dec;9(12).
Ton VK, Vunjak-Novakovic G, Topkara VK. "Transcriptional patterns of reverse remodeling with left ventricular assist devices: a consistent signature." Expert Rev Med Devices. 2016 Nov;13(11):1029-1034.
Clerkin KJ, Garan AR, Wayda B, Givens RC, Yuzefpolskaya M, Nakagawa S, Takeda K, Takayama H, Naka Y, Mancini DM, Colombo PC, Topkara VK. Impact of Socioeconomic Status on Patients Supported With a Left Ventricular Assist Device: An Analysis of the UNOS Database (United Network for Organ Sharing). Circ Heart Fail. 2016 Oct;9(10).
Clerkin KJ, Naka Y, Mancini DM, Colombo PC, Topkara VK."The Impact of Obesity on Patients Bridged to Transplantation With Continuous-Flow Left Ventricular Assist Devices." JACC Heart Fail. 2016 Oct;4(10):761-8.
Topkara VK, Garan AR, Fine B, Godier-Furnémont AF, Breskin A, Cagliostro B, Yuzefpolskaya M, Takeda K, Takayama H, Mancini DM, Naka Y, Colombo PC. "Myocardial Recovery in Patients Receiving Contemporary Left Ventricular Assist Devices: Results From the Interagency Registry for Mechanically Assisted Circulatory Support (INTERMACS)." Circ Heart Fail. 2016 Jul;9(7).
Topkara VK, Chambers KT, Yang KC, Tzeng HP, Evans S, Weinheimer C, Kovacs A, Robbins J, Barger P, Mann DL. "Functional significance of the discordance between transcriptional profile and left ventricular structure/function during reverse remodeling."JCI Insight. 2016 Apr 6;1(4):e86038.
Wever-Pinzon O, Naka Y, Garan AR, Takeda K, Pan S, Takayama H, Mancini DM, Colombo P, Topkara VK. "National trends and outcomes in device-related thromboembolic complications and malfunction among heart transplant candidates supported with continuous-flow left ventricular assist devices in the United States." J Heart Lung Transplant. 2016 Jul;35(7):884-92
Pan S, Aksut B, Wever-Pinzon OE, Rao SD, Levin AP, Garan AR, Fried JA, Takeda K, Hiroo T, Yuzefpolskaya M, Uriel N, Jorde UP, Mancini DM, Naka Y, Colombo PC, Topkara VK. "Incidence and predictors of myocardial recovery on long-term left ventricular assist device support: Results from the United Network for Organ Sharing database." J Heart Lung Transplant. 2015 Dec;34(12):1624-9.