Dian Cao , M.D., Ph.D., is an Associate Professor in the Department of Internal Medicine at UT Southwestern Medical Center, and a member of the Division of Cardiology. She serves as a staff cardiologist at the Dallas VA Medical Center.

Dr. Cao earned her medical degree at Capital Medical University in Beijing. She then obtained a master's degree in pharmacology and a doctorate in cardiovascular pharmacology at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock. She pursued a postdoctoral research fellowship in vascular biology at Temple University in Philadelphia. She completed internal medicine residency training at Drexel University College of Medicine, also in Philadelphia. She then completed an additional research fellowship and a clinical fellowship in cardiovascular disease at UT Southwestern Medical Center under Dr. Joseph Hill.

Certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine in cardiovascular disease, Dr. Cao joined the UT Southwestern Faculty in 2012.

Dr. Cao’s research interests include diabetes, heart failure, histone deacetylases and inhibitors. myocardium metabolism, and pathological remodeling. Her investigations have resulted in several publications in peer-reviewed journals as well as reviews, chapters, monographs, and editorials. Additionally, she has presented her findings at scientific conferences nationally and internationally.

At UT Southwestern, Dr. Cao serves as an advisor to cardiology fellows. She also teaches in small groups, student rotations, and daily rounds. In addition, she mentors students from high school to medical school in summer research projects.

Dr. Cao is an ad hoc reviewer for Circulation, Cell Death and Differentiation, and Circulation Research.

Research Interest

  • Diabetes
  • Heart Failure
  • Histone Deacetylases and Inhibitors
  • Myocardium Metabolism
  • Pathological Remodeling


Featured Publications LegendFeatured Publications

Titrating autophagy in cardiac plasticity.
Cao DJ, Hill JA Autophagy 2011 Sep 7 9 1078-9
Histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors attenuate cardiac hypertrophy by suppressing autophagy.
Cao DJ, Wang ZV, Battiprolu PK, Jiang N, Morales CR, Kong Y, Rothermel BA, Gillette TG, Hill JA Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 2011 Mar 108 10 4123-8
Cardiomyocyte autophagy: remodeling, repairing, and reconstructing the heart.
Cao DJ, Gillette TG, Hill JA Curr. Hypertens. Rep. 2009 Dec 11 6 406-11
FoxO transcription factors activate Akt and attenuate insulin signaling in heart by inhibiting protein phosphatases.
Ni YG, Wang N, Cao DJ, Sachan N, Morris DJ, Gerard RD, Kuro-O M, Rothermel BA, Hill JA Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 2007 Dec 104 51 20517-22
Urokinase-type plasminogen activator receptor is involved in mediating the apoptotic effect of cleaved high molecular weight kininogen in human endothelial cells.
Cao DJ, Guo YL, Colman RW Circ. Res. 2004 May 94 9 1227-34

Honors & Awards

  • Jay Cohn New Investigator Award Finalist
    Heart Failure Society of America (2011)
  • 1st Place Winner in Basic Science Research
    Cardiovascular Symposium, UT Southwestern Medical Center (2009)
  • Young Investigator Award Finalist
    Northwestern University, Chicago, IL (2008)
  • 1st Place, Sol Sherry Award for Excellence in Basic Research
    Temple University (2004)
  • Resident of the Month
    Department of Internal Medicine, Drexel University College of Medicine (2004)
  • Outstanding Poster Award
    FASEB Conference (2003)

Professional Associations/Affiliations

  • American Heart Association (2001)