Professor Francisco Villarreal


Department of Medicine
University of California San Diego
9500 Gilman Drive
Mail Code 0613J
La Jolla, CA

Email: <fvillar AT ucsd DOT edu>

Contact Information:
Office: Room 4028 BSB
Phone: 858-534-3630
Lab manager, Diane Huang <dahuang AT ucsd DOT edu>: 858-534-1319

Dr. Villarreal is a Professor of Medicine in the Division of Cardiology at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). He trained as a Medical Doctor in the Universidad Autonoma de Baja California, Mexico and graduated in 1984. He pursued doctoral (Ph.D in Physiology and Pharmacology, 1989) and postdoctoral studies at UCSD. Major areas of research interest include cardiac pathophysiology and cardioprotection. Over the years Dr. Villarreal has published more than 80 manuscripts in peer review journals. The early focus of this work related to understanding the pathophysiology of cardiac remodeling and fibrosis with an emphasis on cardiac mechanics approaches. Later work focused on pharmacological strategies to protect the heart from ischemic injury. Most recently his work has evolved to examine the cardioprotective effects of the cacao flavanol (-)-epicatechin. A series of pre-clinical and clinical studies has yielded encouraging results leading this area to be the major focus of his current work. Studies have encompassed examining the effects of (-)-epicatechin on cardiac ischemic injury, exercise capacity and metabolism/bioenergetics. Studies have been performed in animal models (normal and disease) and in normal subjects and heart failure, type 2 diabetes mellitus patients. Support for this work is provided by USA federal funding agencies (NIH) and private entities. Current responsibilities include research activities, teaching and administrative duties such as coordinating multiple clinical trials. Dr. Villarreal is also the track leader for UCSD’s PhD program in Biomedical Sciences.