Faculty Profile

Willard Sharp
Section of Emergency Medicine
Associate Professor of Medicine
Referring Physician Access Line: 1-877-DOM-2730

Academic Interests

Ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury is a commonly encountered clinical phenomenon and is especially prevalent in the setting of acute coronary syndromes and cardiac arrest. Dr. Sharp was originally a cardiac cell biologist before his career as an Emergency Medicine Physician and his research combines his interest of both by investigating the mechanisms of I/R injury as well as the development of new clinical interventions in the acute setting. Cardiac I/R injury is well known to be associated with increased reactive oxygen species and the activation of apoptotic signaling cascades associated with cellular death. Although the exact mechanism of such injury are not entirely known, the generation of nitric oxide (NO) appears to play a prominent role since I/R injury can be attenuated in the presence of increased NO. One new development in the field of I/R injury, is the use of hypothermia to improve morbidity and mortality in the setting of cardiac arrest. Work by others in the Department have demonstrated the effects of hypothermia protection may be due in part to increased NO generation. Dr. Sharp's current research is aimed at understanding how hypothermia modulates apoptotic signaling cascades, NO generation, and cardiac cell death. Recently we have shown that the cell survival kinase Akt is down regulated during ischemia and early I/R but is up regulated by hypothermia in chick cardiomyocytes. Further elucidation of these cell signaling cascades is ongoing. The ultimate goal of this research is to translate our understanding of cardiac cell biology and I/R injury into new bedside therapies for our patients in the settings of acute coronary syndromes and cardiac arrest.

Clinical Interests



For a complete list of publications click here:


  • BS, 1989, Wofford College, Biology and History
  • PhD, 1994, University of South Carolina College of Medicine, Biomedical Science
  • MD, 2003, University of South carolina School of Medicine
  • Residency, 2007, University of Michigan Hospital, Emergency Medicine