The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association's Distinguished Scientists was created in 2003 to recognize AHA/ASA members for significant, original and sustained scientific contributions that have advanced the association's mission: "To be a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives."
Recipients of this prestigious award are a prominent group of scientists and clinicians whose work has importantly advanced our understanding of cardiovascular diseases and stroke. The recipients listed below were honored during the Opening Session at AHA Scientific Sessions the year the were names Distinguished Scientists.
2021 Distinguished Scientists
Elizabeth M. McNally, MD, PhD, FAHA
Elizabeth M. McNally, MD, PhD, FAHA
Elizabeth Ward Professor of Genetic Medicine
Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
Dr. McNally is a physician and scientist who directs the Center for Genetic Medicine at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. As the Elizabeth J. Ward Professor of Genetic Medicine, Dr. McNally is a cardiologist with expertise in cardiovascular genetics. As a clinician, she developed one of the first Cardiovascular Genetics clinics in the nation, integrating genetic testing into cardiovascular care for patients and families. Dr. McNally’s research focuses on understanding genetic mechanisms underlying heritable cardiac disorders. By developing a deeper understanding as to how these genetic mutations exert their effects, she is using these genetic signals to drive the development of new therapies.
Dr. McNally has a special interest in neuromuscular genetic diseases like muscular dystrophy since often these disorders have accompanying cardiovascular complications. As a graduate student, she completed the first sequence comparisons of alpha and beta myosin and helped discover the properties of myosin motors. As a postdoctoral fellow, she discovered new genes responsible for human inherited cardiomyopathies and muscular dystrophies. In her independent laboratory, she established the first genetically engineered models of cardiomyopathy and muscular dystrophy, and then used these models to discover genetic modifiers of myopathies. Her current work is identifying genetic regulatory regions that improve heart function.
Her translational accomplishments have been recognized through an award from the Burroughs Wellcome Foundation and as a recipient a Distinguished Clinical Scientist Award from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. She serves on the Board of Directors for the Muscular Dystrophy Association and is the current Chair for the Council on Basic Cardiovascular Sciences of the American Heart Association. She is a past president of American Society for Clinical Investigation and currently President of the Association of American Physicians. In 2021, she was also elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Eng H. Lo, PhD, FAHA
Eng H. Lo, PhD, FAHA
Professor of Radiology and Neuroscience, Harvard Medical School
Director, Neuroprotection Research Laboratories
Massachusetts General Hospital
Eng H. Lo received a Bachelor of Science in engineering at Yale, a PhD in biophysics from University of California Berkeley, and completed a neuroscience postdoctoral fellowship at Stanford. In 1991, Dr. Lo joined the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and is currently Professor of Radiology and Neuroscience at Harvard. His research interests include neuroprotection and neuroplasticity in stroke and neurodegeneration, and in vivo imaging of brain function, with over 400 publications in peer-reviewed journals. Dr. Lo serves on the editorial boards of Brain Research, Cerebrovascular Disease, Conditioning Medicine, Experimental Neurology, Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow & Metabolism, Journal of Neurotrauma, Translational Stroke Research, and he was the Basic Science editor for Stroke from 2003 to 2015. In 2009, he was selected as the Jacob Javits Neuroscience Investigator by the NIH. In 2012, he was appointed as the Phyllis and Jerome Lyle Rappaport Scholar at MGH. In 2013, he received the AHA Thomas Willis Award for contributions to stroke research. In 2019, he received the Xandra Breakefield Mentoring Award from MGH. From 2017-2019, he served as President of the International Society for Cerebral Blood Flow & Metabolism. Dr. Lo is currently Lead Coordinator of the Consortium International pour la Recherche Circadienne sur l'AVC (CIRCA), a collaborative network dedicated to the investigation of circadian biology in cerebrovascular disease. In 30 years at MGH, Dr. Lo’s lab has trained over 90 students and fellows; many have gone on to establish their own labs worldwide.
Ernesto L. Schiffrin, MD, PhD, FAHA
Ernesto L. Schiffrin, MD, PhD, FAHA
Physician-in-Chief, Sir Mortimer B. Davis-Jewish General Hospital,
Distinguished James McGill Professor and Associate Chair, Department of Medicine
Montreal, Quebec CAN
Ernesto L. Schiffrin, CM, MD, PhD, FRSC, FRCPC, FACP, FAHA, is Physician-in-Chief, Jewish General Hospital; Director, Hypertension and Vascular Research Unit, Lady Davis Institute; Distinguished James McGill Professor and Associate Chair, Department of Medicine, McGill University.
Dr. Schiffrin was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He obtained his MD at the University of Buenos Aires Medical School in 1969, and after clinical training, moved to Canada in 1976, where he obtained a PhD in Experimental Medicine at McGill University in 1980. He was Professor of Medicine at University of Montreal, scientist at Institut de Recherches Cliniques where he was Director of the Medical Research Council of Canada (later Canadian Institutes of Health) Multidisciplinary Hypertension Group, and physician at Hôtel-Dieu Hospital until end of 2005. He then moved to the Jewish General Hospital as Physician-in-Chief and Professor of Medicine at McGill University. Dr. Schiffrin is author of 615 peer-reviewed publications, many book chapters and editor of 4 books on molecular and clinical aspects of vascular disease and hypertension.
He was Associate Editor, Hypertension (2003-15), and is Editor-in-Chief, American Journal of Hypertension (2016-). Dr. Schiffrin was President, Canadian Hypertension Society (1991–92); Chair, Hypertension Council, American Heart Association (2002–04); President, InterAmerican Society of Hypertension (2007-09), President, International Society of Hypertension (2012–14); President, Hypertension Canada (2013-16). Awards he received include: Fellow, Royal Society of Canada (2006); Irvine Page-Alva Bradley Lifetime Achievement Award, Hypertension Council, AHA (2007); Member of the Order of Canada (2010); Bjorn Folkow Award, European Society of Hypertension (2010); Excellence Award in Hypertension Research, Hypertension Council, AHA (2011); Robert Tigerstedt Award, American Society of Hypertension (2013); Distinguished Scientist Award, Canadian Cardiovascular Society (2013); Margolese National Prize on Heart Disorders (2016); Prix Galien Recherche Award (2017); Distinguished Fellow (2018) and Franz Volhard Award and Lectureship (2021), International Society of Hypertension.
Italo Biaggioni, MD, FAHA
Italo Biaggioni, MD, FAHA
David Robertson Professor of Autonomic Disorders
Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Dr. Biaggioni is Professor of Medicine and Pharmacology and the David Robertson Professor in Autonomic Disorders. His research is focused on the interaction between neural (autonomic) metabolic (renin- angiotensin, insulin) and local (adenosine, nitric oxide) mechanisms involved in the pathophysiology of hypertension and autonomic disorders.
Dr. Biaggioni’s research program has had continued NIH funding for over 30 years and has resulted in over 325 peer-reviewed publications. By eliminating autonomic buffering, he showed that endogenous nitric oxide normally restrains blood pressure by about 30 mmHg, and that nitric oxide contributes significantly to the orthostatic hypotension of autonomic failure. His research in obesity has shown that hypertension and endothelial dysfunction can be reversed, and insulin resistance can be improved, by autonomic removal. His group discovered four novel genetic autonomic disorders: dopamine-beta-hydroxylase deficiency, CYB561 deficiency, norepinephrine reuptake deficiency, and mutations of the neural nicotinic receptor causing autonomic ganglionopathy. His discovery that the norepinephrine precursor droxidopa reverses the norepinephrine deficiency of dopamine-beta-hydroxylase deficiency, ultimately led to its development for the treatment of orthostatic hypotension, only the second FDA-approved drug for this purpose.
Dr. Biaggioni also directs the Vanderbilt’s Autonomic Dysfunction Center, which provides a multidisciplinary care (internal medicine, clinical pharmacology, neurology, cardiology and geriatrics) for patients with debilitating autonomic disorders. The Center has about 2,500 outpatient evaluations per year from all over the country and abroad, an inpatient consult service and its own inpatient admission service. Finally, He has trained numerous young investigators that are now leaders in the field.
Kathryn J. Moore, PhD, FAHA
Kathryn J. Moore, PhD, FAHA
Jean and David Blechman Professor of Cardiology,
Director, NYU Cardiovascular Research Center, New York
University Grossman School of Medicine
New York, NY
Dr. Kathryn Moore is the Jean and David Blechman Professor of Cardiology, and the Director of the Cardiovascular Research Center at New York University School of Medicine. She is internationally recognized for her research on the molecular pathogenesis of cardiometabolic diseases, and the roles that non-coding RNAs and dysregulated immune responses play in those settings. By forging new links between lipids, metabolism and innate immunity, her discoveries have revealed fundamental insights into pathways that regulate cholesterol homeostasis and vascular inflammation.
Dr. Moore received her PhD from McGill University in Canada. Although her early research focused on the immune response to pathogens, she became fascinated with the mechanisms of “sterile” inflammation and pursued postdoctoral training at Harvard Medical School in the areas of autoimmunity and atherosclerosis. She joined the Harvard Medical School faculty as an Assistant Professor in 2001, before moving to New York University in 2009.
Dr. Moore has been the recipient of numerous awards for her contributions in the fields of innate immunity and vascular biology, including the AHA’s Special Recognition Award, the Jeffrey Hoeg Arteriosclerosis Award for Basic Science and Clinical Research, and the NIH’s Outstanding Investigator Award. In addition, Dr. Moore was recently elected to the National Academy of Sciences.
Vasan S Ramachandran MD DM FAHA Paragraph
Vasan S. Ramachandran, MD, DM, FAHA
Jay and Louise Coffman Professor in Vascular Medicine,
Professor of Medicine & Epidemiology
Chief, Section of Preventive Medicine & Epidemiology, Departments of Medicine & Epidemiology Boston University Schools of Medicine & Public Health
Dr. Ramachandran received his medical degree and completed his residency in internal medicine and fellowship in cardiology at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India. He joined the Framingham Heart Study in 1993 as a research fellow and rose to become its Principal Investigator and Director in 2014. Dr. Ramachandran joined Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) as an Associate Professor of Medicine in 1998. He became a full Professor of Medicine in 2006. Dr. Ramachandran was appointed as a Professor of Epidemiology at the Boston University School of Public Health in 2013. Currently, he serves as Chief of the Preventive Medicine and Epidemiology section in the Department of Medicine at the BUSM. He is the Jay and Louise Coffman Professor of Vascular Medicine. He is the Principal Investigator and founder of the Risk Underlying Rural Areas Longitudinal (RURAL) cohort study. He served as an Associate Editor for Circulation and was the founding Editor of Circulation: Cardiovascular Genetics. He is the Berlin Institute of Health Visiting Professor at the Charité Hospital, Berlin, Germany (2020-2022). Dr. Ramachandran is the recipient of the Louis and Artur Lucian Award (2021) from McGill University, Canada, for his contributions to cardiovascular science.
Dr. Ramachandran has made significant contributions to the genetic and non-genetic epidemiology of high blood pressure and heart failure. He has implemented population-based vascular testing (endothelial function and arterial stiffness), echocardiography, and exercise testing at scale in community-based cohorts. Dr. Ramachandran has made seminal contributions to elucidating the role of multi-omic biomarker approaches in cardiovascular disease risk prediction. He has received many NIH grants, including a mid-career clinical investigator award from the NHLBI. He has mentored over seventy clinical investigators and authored over 900 original articles in high-impact journals, with nearly 177,000 citations and an h-index of 184 on Google Scholar.
2020 Distinguished Scientists
Frank Sacks, MD, FAHA
Professor of Cardiovascular Disease Prevention, Nutrition Department
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Glenn Fishman, MD, FAHA
William Goldring Professor of Medicine and Director, Leon H. Charney Division of Cardiology Vice Chair for Research, Department of Medicine
NYU Grossman School of Medicine
New York, NY
Jeffrey D. Molkentin, PhD, FAHA
Professor, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Division Director, Molecular, Cardiovascular, Biology, Executive Co-Director, The Heart Institute
Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center
Gregg L. Semenza, MD, PhD, FAHA
C. Michael Armstrong Professor of Genetic Medicine, Pediatrics, Oncology, Medicine, Radiation Oncology and Biological Chemistry
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Director, Vascular Program
Johns Hopkins Institute for Cell Engineering
Robert M. Carey, MD, FAHA
Dean, Emeritus and Professor of Medicine
University of Virginia School of Medicine
Joan Heller Brown PhD, FAHA
Distinguished Professor and Chair, Department of Pharmacology
University of California San Diego, School of Medicine
La Jolla, CA
2019 Distinguished Scientists
William Osler Professor of Medicine
Director Department of Medicine
Physician-in-Chief, John Hopkins Hospital
Director of Medicine for Johns Hopkins Medicine
Anne Parrish Titzell Professor of Neurology, Weill Cornell Medicine
New York, NY
United Therapeutics Endowed Professorship in Pulmonary Vascular Disease
Professor of Internal Medicine Professor of Epidemiology, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine
New Orleans, LA
Brigham and Women's Hospital Heart & Vascular Center
Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Hélène Irwin Fagan Chair in Cardiology
Stanford School of Medicine
2018 Distinguished Scientists
C David Molina, MD MPH Professor of Medicine and
Director, Welch Center for Prevention, Epidemiology, and Clinical Research
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Dr. Appel is the C. David Molina Professor of Medicine and Director of the Welch Center for Prevention, Epidemiology and Clinical Research, a joint program of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the Bloomberg School of Public Health. Dr. Appel holds a primary faculty appointment in the Division of General Internal Medicine with joint appointments in Epidemiology, International Health, and Nursing. In addition, he directs the ProHealth Clinical Research Unit in West Baltimore.
The focus of Dr. Appel’s investigative career is the conduct of clinical, epidemiologic, and translational research pertaining to the prevention of high blood pressure, cardiovascular-kidney diseases, and other chronic conditions. He has conducted over 50 studies and published over 400 papers. Many of his research findings have had a substantial influence on health and health care policy. His principal lines of research are:
- controlled feeding trials, such as the DASH trial, which test optimal dietary strategies to lower blood pressure and cardiovascular risk;
- behavioral intervention trials, such as the POWER trial, which test novel strategies to accomplish lifestyle modification, often focused on obesity;
- trials and observational studies, such as AASK and CRIC, which identify risk factors for the progression of chronic kidney disease and its complications.
Dr. Appel has also been actively involved in shaping health care policy. He was a member of the 2005 and 2010 U.S. Dietary Guidelines Scientific Advisory Committees. For the American Heart Association, he has chaired its Nutrition Committee and its Council on Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health. He has served on several NIH and Institute of Medicine Committees and chaired the committee that set dietary reference intakes for sodium, potassium, and water. Among his awards are membership in the Association of American Physicians and the National Academy of Medicine (formerly Institute of Medicine).
Professor of Surgery and Medicine, Fienberg School of Medicine
Administrative Director, Center for Heart Failure,
Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute
Northwestern Memorial Hospital
Dr. Kathleen L. Grady is Professor of Surgery and Medicine at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University and Administrative Director, Center for Heart Failure of the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Chicago, Ill. As a long-standing volunteer with the American Heart Association (AHA), she has served as chair of the Council on Cardiovascular and Stroke Nursing (CVSN) and Council Operations Committee. Dr. Grady has received many awards, including the prestigious CVSN Katherine A. Lembright Award in recognition of her lifetime research achievements.
Dr. Grady, an internationally recognized researcher, has focused on health-related quality of life (HRQOL) of advanced heart failure patients who undergo heart transplantation (HT) and mechanical circulatory support (MCS) implantation. Her passion for understanding HRQOL began in the 1970s, while working as a staff nurse with HT patients in the ICU at Stanford University. Dr. Grady?s research has advanced our scientific understanding of HRQOL in this patient population. She has one of the largest databases on HRQOL long-term after HT and was one of the first investigators to report on HRQOL in patients undergoing first generation MCS. Dr. Grady demonstrated that HRQOL improves from before to long-term after HT and early after MCS, but also determined that post-surgical factors, including adverse events, contribute to decreased HRQOL. Dr. Grady?s research has been supported by the AHA and NIH. She currently has two multi-site R01 grants to (1) compare HRQOL outcomes in older advanced heart failure patients who undergo HT or destination therapy MCS and their caregivers, and (2) develop a measurement system to assess adjustment to MCS and HRQOL from before to after surgery, funded by the NIA and NHLBI, respectively. She also collaborates with the Interagency Registry for Mechanically Assisted Circulatory Support (Intermacs), having published multiple MCS HRQOL articles from this rigorous outcomes-focused database.
Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Attending Physician, Division of Cardiology
Massachusetts General Hospital
Dr. Levine is Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Attending Physician in the Division of Cardiology and Noninvasive Cardiology Laboratory at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Building on innovations in cardiac imaging, he has addressed the challenge of how we can detect heart valve disease early and prevent its progression to heart failure. His initial discovery of the nonplanar shape of the mitral valve redefined prolapse of that valve with the specificity needed to seek genetic causes. To achieve that goal, he forged and has directed an international Leducq network that promotes dynamic interactions between clinical and basic scientists with the shared mission of finding treatable disease mechanisms. The network has discovered the first causative familial genes and genome-wide variations associated with mitral valve prolapse. They are now exploring how mutations cause progressive valve disease and how disease evolution can be prevented.
With colleagues in cell biology and signaling, he recognized that in the remodeling heart after myocardial infarction, valves respond to stretch by adaptive cell growth. This growth is limited by maladaptive inflammation and fibrosis that increases mitral regurgitation (MR) in treatable ways. He has shown that infarction-related MR adversely impacts normally perfused myocardium, driving ventricular remodeling and failure; this can be alleviated by effective valve repair and biological interventions. By demonstrating mitral valve enlargement in hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and its essential role in ventricular outflow tract obstruction, he aims to modulate that valve enlargement to prevent obstruction physiologically.
Dr. Levine has mentored many international leaders to create a community of investigators who are advancing this new approach to prevent heart valve disease and preserve myocardial function and patient well-being.
Professor, Departments of Medicine,
Microbiology and Human Genetics
University of California
Los Angeles, Calif.
Aldons (Jake) Lusis did his PhD in Biophysics and his postdoc in Molecular Genetics. Since 1980, he has been a Professor at UCLA in the Departments of Medicine, Microbiology, and Human Genetics.
His laboratory uses population-based approaches in mice and humans to study common, complex forms of cardiovascular and metabolic disorders. Recent work in the lab has focused on the application of ?systems genetics? approaches (involving the integration of clinical trait and ?omics?-level data in populations) to address complex biological interactions. These include gene-by-environment interactions, tissue-tissue communication, and the role of the sex differences in cardiometabolic disorders.
Lauer/Missouri Endowed Chair and Professor
UMKC and Clinical Director of Outcomes Research
Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute Kansas
Dr. Spertus is a nationally recognized leader in Cardiovascular Outcomes Research, having co-founded the AHA Scientific Forum on Quality of Care and Outcomes Research, served as Chair of the AHA QCOR Council and having written >800 peer-reviewed manuscripts. His research career has been invested in improving the patient-centeredness and value of healthcare.
He pioneered the quantification of patients’ perspectives of their cardiovascular disease (including the Seattle Angina Questionnaire for coronary artery disease, Kansas City Cardiomyopathy Questionnaire for heart failure and Peripheral Artery Questionnaire for peripheral artery disease) and has supported their use as endpoints in clinical trials, observational registries, quality improvement projects and in routine clinical care. He also contributed substantially to the methodology of performance measurement and appropriateness ratings and has recently developed the infrastructure, ePRISM, to execute multivariable models with patient-specific risk factors within the routine flow of patient care to support evidence-based, precision medicine. He and his team have further combined their interests in patient-reported outcomes and risk modeling to implement precision medicine-based shared decision-making tools to achieve the triple aim of high-value healthcare: better patient experiences, improved outcomes and lower costs.
Director, Stanford Cardiovascular Institute
Simon H. Stertzer, MD, Professor of Medicine & Radiology
Stanford University School of Medicine
Joseph C. Wu, MD, PhD is Director of the Stanford Cardiovascular Institute and Simon H. Stertzer Professor of Medicine and Radiology at the Stanford School of Medicine. Dr. Wu received his MD from Yale University School of Medicine. He trained in internal medicine and cardiology at UCLA followed by a PhD in the Dept of Molecular Pharmacology.
Dr. Wu’s research focuses on biological mechanisms of patient-specific and disease-specific induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). The main goals are to (i) understand basic cardiovascular disease mechanisms, (ii) accelerate drug discovery and screening, (iii) develop “clinical trial in a dish” concept, and (iv) implement precision cardiovascular medicine for prevention and treatment of patients. His lab uses a combination of genomics, stem cells, cellular & molecular biology, physiological testing, and molecular imaging technologies to better understand molecular and pathophysiological processes.
Dr. Wu has received numerous awards, including National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director’s New Innovator Award (2008), NIH Roadmap Transformative Award (2009), American Heart Association (AHA) Innovative Research Award (2009), Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers given out by President Obama (2010), AHA Established Investigator Award (2012), Burroughs Wellcome Foundation Innovation in Regulatory Science Award (2015), and AHA Merit Award (2017). He also received the inaugural AHA Joseph A. Vita Award (2015) which is given to an investigator whose body of work published in the last 5 years has had transformative impact on basic, translational, or clinical cardiovascular research.
Dr. Wu currently serves on the Scientific Advisory Board for the Keystone Symposia (2014-2020), FDA Cellular, Tissue, and Gene Therapies Advisory Committee (2017-2020), AHA National Board of Directors (2017-2019), and Chair of the AHA National Research Committee (2017-2019).
2017 Distinguished Scientists
Professor of Medicine, College of Medicine and
Consultant, Department of Cardiovascular Diseases
Mayo Clinic Rochester
Dr. Gersh is Professor of Medicine at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine. Past positions include The W. Proctor Harvey Teaching Professor of Cardiology and Chief, Division of Cardiology at Georgetown University. He received his MB, ChB, from the University of Cape Town and his DPhil degree from Oxford University where he was a Rhodes Scholar.
He has 1,073 publications (929 manuscripts and 144 book chapters) (h-index 118). He was named in the Thomson Reuters list of individuals with the greatest number of cited scientific papers 2002-2012. Dr. Gersh is the editor of 15 books and on the editorial board of 27 journals, including The European Heart Journal (Deputy Editor) He is Editor-in-Chief of UpToDate in Cardiology.
He has received Teacher of the Year Awards from the Division of Cardiovascular Diseases Mayo Clinic and numerous Visiting Professorships and Invited Lectures both nationally and internationally. He is an Honorary /\Fellow of multiple international societies, an Honorary Professor of Medicine at the University of Cape Town, and an Adjunct Professor of Medicine at Duke University.
Dr. Gersh was the 2004 recipient of the Distinguished Achievement Award of the AHA Council of Clinical Cardiology and the 2007 recipient of the ACC Distinguished Service Award, the Hatter Award for “Advancement in the Cardiovascular Science” from the University College London and the University of Cape Town in 2009 and 2016. He received the degree of Ph.D. (honoris causa) from The University of Coimbra, Portugal in 2005. Dr. Gersh is the recipient of the 2012 James B. Herrick award of the AHA, and in 2013 was designated Master of the American College of Cardiology. He is the 2015 recipient of the Mayo Clinic Distinguished Alumni Award, the Silver and Gold Medals of the ESC in 2016.
Chair, Department of Cellular & Molecular Medicine
Lerner Research Institute
Section Head, Preventive Cardiology & Rehabilitation, Heart and Vascular Institute
Stanley Hazen, MD, PhD, received his training at Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis, including a medical degree, PhD in Biophysical Chemistry and Molecular Biology, and clinical training in Internal Medicine with subspecialty training in Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism. He has been at the Cleveland Clinic his entire professional career, where he serves both as the chair of the Department of Cellular & Molecular Medicine, Lerner Research Institute, and section head of Preventive Cardiology & Rehabilitation, Heart and Vascular Institute.
Dr. Hazen has published over 380 peer reviewed articles in both basic and clinical journals alike. He has made pioneering discoveries in atherosclerosis and inflammatory disease research that are impacting clinical practice. He made the seminal discovery linking gut microbial pathways to cardiovascular disease (CVD) pathogenesis, as well as development of both heart failure and chronic kidney disease. His comprehensive work spans from bench-to-bedside, establishes a new paradigm for understanding diet-gut microbiome-host interactions in diseases, and has spawned development of both new diagnostic tests and therapeutic approaches for the treatment and prevention of CVD and metabolic disorders.
Hazen's numerous other discoveries include defining pathways leukocytes use to generate reactive oxidants, and the functional importance of oxidation processes in CVD, macrophage recognition of senescent and apoptotic cells, modified lipoproteins, or in vivo regulation of platelet hyper-responsiveness. His studies lay the foundation for development of FDA- and EU-cleared diagnostic tests for CVD risk assessment in use worldwide, and have helped to spawn pharmaceutical development of myeloperoxidase inhibitors, which are in clinical trials.
Dr. Hazen has received numerous awards, including election as member or fellow to the American Federation for Medical Research (AFMR), the American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI), the Association of American Physicians (AAP), American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and the National Academy of Medicine.
Sekar Kathiresan, MD, FAHA
Director, Center for Genomic Medicine
Massachusetts General Hospital
Director, Cardiovascular Disease Initiative
Broad Institute Boston, Mass.
Dr. Sekar Kathiresan has pursued a systematic approach to understand the inherited basis for myocardial infarction (MI) in order to discover root causes, inform new therapeutic approaches, and identify at-risk individuals. He has distinguished non-causal factors (HDL cholesterol) from causal factors (LDL cholesterol and triglyceride-rich lipoproteins). His work identified that individuals who carry loss-of-function coding mutations in either of two genes – APOC3 and ANGPTL3 – rapidly clear triglyceride-rich lipoproteins from the circulation and have substantially lower MI risk. These observations have inspired the development of medicines to mimic these protective mutations.
In the past year, he has uncovered two non-lipid pathways underlying MI risk: (1) genes that regulate the migration of inflammatory cells across the blood vessel lining into the artery wall; and (2) acquired mutations in blood stem cells that increase with aging and provoke inflammation. Finally, he has developed a genetic test (i.e., polygenic risk score) to predict risk for MI and shown that statin therapy and/or a healthier lifestyle can modify inherited risk.
Dr. Kathiresan is the current Director of the Center for Genomic Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), Director of the Cardiovascular Disease Initiative at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, and an Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. He immigrated to the United States in 1980 from India and attended public schools in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania before graduating summa cum laude with a B.A. in History from the University of Pennsylvania in 1992. He went on to receive his M.D. from Harvard Medical School in 1997 and completed clinical training in internal medicine and cardiology at MGH. He served as Chief Resident in Internal Medicine at MGH in 2002-2003. From 2003-2008, he pursued post-doctoral research training in cardiovascular genetics through a combined experience at the Framingham Heart Study and Broad Institute.
Distinguished Professor – Molecular, Cellular & Developmental Biology
Chief Scientific Officer, BioFrontiers Institute
University of Colorado at Boulder
Leslie Leinwand, PhD is a Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology (MCDB) Distinguished Professor and the Chief Scientific Officer of the BioFrontiers Institute at the University of Colorado Boulder. She was recruited to be Chair of MCDB in 1995. She received her Bachelor’s degree from Cornell University, her PhD from Yale University and did post-doctoral training at Rockefeller University. She joined the faculty at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York in 1981 and remained there until moving to Colorado in 1995.
Dr. Leinwand co-founded Myogen, Inc. which was sold to Gilead Pharmaceuticals. She was also a co-founder of Hiberna, Inc, and more recently of MyoKardia, Inc, a publicly traded company founded to develop therapeutics for inherited cardiomyopathies. She is a Fellow of the AAAS, former MERIT Awardee of the NIH, Established Investigator of the American Heart Association and was recently elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Inventors.
The interests of Dr. Leinwand’s laboratory are the genetics and molecular physiology of inherited diseases of the heart and how gender and diet modify the heart. The study of these diseases has required multidisciplinary approaches, involving molecular biology, mouse genetics, mouse cardiac physiology, and the analysis of human tissues. Her teaching was recognized by funding from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Professor Program.
Jeremiah Stamler Professor of Medicine and Preventive Medicine
Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
Dr. McDermott is a leading clinician investigator studying lower extremity peripheral artery disease (PAD). Traditionally, the natural history of lower extremity outcomes in people with PAD and intermittent claudication was considered ‘benign’, because most people with PAD do not develop critical limb ischemia or worsening leg symptoms. Using a prospective study design with systematic assessment of objectively measured walking performance over time, Dr. McDermott’s investigative team demonstrated that people with PAD have greater functional impairment and faster functional decline than people without PAD.
Dr. McDermott’s investigative team also demonstrated that most people with PAD do not have classical symptoms of intermittent claudication and that even people with asymptomatic PAD have greater functional impairment and faster functional decline than people without PAD. Dr. McDermott was the first investigator to report that supervised treadmill exercise improves walking ability among PAD participants who are asymptomatic or who have atypical leg symptoms. Her work has established the presence and importance of ischemic calf muscle damage in PAD.
More recently, Dr. McDermott has led randomized clinical trials to identify innovative therapies to improve functional performance and prevent mobility loss in people with PAD. Dr. McDermott’s investigative team is currently studying interventions including Granulocyte-Macrophage Colony Stimulating Factor (GM-CSF), telmisartan, home-based exercise, metformin, and epicatechin-rich cocoa to improve functional performance and other outcomes in people with PAD.
Dr. McDermott has received multiple national awards including an Established Investigator Award from the American Heart Association. In 2013 she was named Master in the Society of Vascular Medicine for “outstanding contributions to vascular medicine”. Between 2011 and 2013, Dr. McDermott served as chair of the peripheral vascular disease council for the AHA. She is an elected member of the American Society of Clinical Investigation and the Association of American Physicians. She is a Senior Editor for JAMA.
Co-Director, Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital
St. Jude Professor and Chief, Pediatric Cardiology
Professor and Chief of Pediatric Cardiology
University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center
Jeffrey A. Towbin, M.D., is Co-Director of the Heart Institute at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, Chief of Cardiology at St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, and Professor and Chief of Pediatric Cardiology at the University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center. From 2003 to 2009 he served as Chief of Cardiology at Texas Children’s Hospital and served as Co-Director of the Heart Institute and Chief of Cardiology at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center from 2009-2015.
Clinically, Dr. Towbin has focused on cardiomyopathies and heart failure, cardiac transplantation, and cardiovascular genetics as his areas of expertise for his entire career. He has trained many of the leaders in these fields. Dr. Towbin’s research has focused on the genetics and mechanisms of cardiomyopathy and advanced heart failure, arrhythmias, as well as on inflammatory heart disease and their etiologies. His research has been funded continuously since 1987 and he has trained more than 50 post-doctoral and 20 pre-doctoral students – many of whom now have high level academic faculty positions. His laboratory research team has been a leader for many years in the field of gene discovery and mechanisms of these disorders – as well as viral causes of inflammatory heart disease including transplant rejection and transplant coronary disease.
He has co-authored more than 500 publications in high-impact journals, served as a principal mentor for multiple K-Grant-funded trainees and has been a member of multiple T32 training grants. In 2007, he received the American College of Cardiology (ACC) Distinguished Scientist (Basic Science) Award, and in 2013, he was awarded the American Heart Association’s Basic Research Prize.
Edwin Cohn Professor of Pediatrics
Harvard Medical School
Boston Children’s Hospital
Denisa Wagner grew up in Prague, Czechoslovakia. As early as middle school, she was already interested in biology, and started to do research in the labs of Charles University. After the invasion by the Soviet Block in 1968, she fled the country with her parents. She finished high school in Austria, and studied Biochemistry at the University of Geneva, Switzerland. Then she moved to the United States, where she obtained a Ph.D. in Biology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, under the guidance of Dr. Richard Hynes.
Dr. Wagner held early faculty positions at the University of Rochester and Tufts University, until she was recruited by Harvard Medical School in 1994. Still there, she is currently the Edwin Cohn Professor of Pediatrics in the Program in Cellular and Molecular Medicine and the Division of Hematology/Oncology at Boston Children’s Hospital. Her expertise lies in the fields of vascular biology, inflammation and thrombosis. For many years, her laboratory’s research has focused on adhesion molecules. Specifically, the regulation of their expression and function in normal physiology, and in pathological situations. Her lab has engineered mice lacking platelet, endothelial, or leukocyte adhesion molecules, such as von Willebrand factor and P-selectin, and has studied these mice in disease models.
One of the lab’s main interests is the interplay of inflammation and thrombosis. Recently, they have begun to explore the impact of neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs), which are chromatin coated with enzymes that are actively released from stimulated neutrophils. Dr. Wagner’s group has found both an important prothrombotic role of NETs, as well as detrimental/toxic effects of NETs formed during injury and after myocardial infarction. Most recently, they observed that NET formation is enhanced by cancer, diabetes, and the aging process; conditions that promote inflammation and thrombosis.
2016 Distinguished Scientists
Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Mitochondrial Dynamics and Translational Medicine
Professor and Head, Department of Medicine
Kingston, Ontario, Canada
Stephen L. Archer, MD, FAHA, is the Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Mitochondrial Dynamics and Translational Medicine, Professor and Head, Department of Medicine at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada
Dr. Archer is a Canadian and graduate of Queen’s University. After interning at the Royal Columbian Hospital, he completed his training in Medicine and Cardiology at the University of Minnesota. He worked at the Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Subsequently he was Chief of Cardiology at the University of Alberta and University of Chicago. He is currently Head of Medicine at Queen’s University. He holds a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Mitochondrial Dynamics and Translational Medicine, has more than 230 publications, and is particularly proud of his many successful trainees.
A longstanding AHA volunteer he has chaired many peer review committees and served as president of the Chicagoland AHA Board. His Discoveries include:
- Hypoxic pulmonary vasoconstriction and O2-induced ductus arteriosus constriction: With Weir and Thébaud established that O2-induced changes in mitochondrial function alter H2O2 production, which regulates ion channels and enzymes and thus vascular tone.
- cGMP-induced vasodilation: cGMP activates protein kinase G, which opens potassium channels, thereby hyperpolarizing membrane potential and causes vasodilatation.
- Sildenafil as Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (PAH) therapy: With Michelakis showed the acute and chronic benefits of sildenafil in PAH.
- Epigenetics of PAH: Methylation of the superoxide dismutase (SOD2) gene decreases H2O2 production causing normoxic HIF-1? activation. The resulting glycolytic metabolism and mitochondrial fragmentation are amenable to therapy.
- Mitochondrial dynamics in human diseases: With Sharp and Rehman showed that nuclear and mitochondrial division are coordinated by cyclin B-CDK1, which triggers mitosis and activates dynamin-related protein 1. This promotes the proliferative, apoptosis-resistant phenotype of PAH and cancer and can be therapeutically targeted. Fission also mediates cardiac ischemia- reperfusion injury.
- Mitochondrial-metabolic abnormalities in PAH and cancer: With Michelakis showed that pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase (PDK)-mediated inhibition of pyruvate dehydrogenase promotes aerobic glycolysis, suppresses apoptosis and drives proliferation. PDK inhibitors regress cancer and PAH.
Professor of Radiology, Medicine, and Neuroscience and Physiology
New York University School of Medicine
New York, N.Y.
Leon Axel, MD, PhD, FAHA is a Professor of Radiology, Medicine, and Neuroscience and Physiology at New York University School of Medicine in New York, N.Y.
Leon Axel, MD, PhD, is a Professor of Radiology, Medicine, and Neuroscience and Physiology at the New York University School of Medicine. Dr. Axel was one of the pioneers in the development of cardiovascular magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and he remains active in the development of new MRI methods and their application to cardiovascular disease.
Initially trained in astrophysics, Dr. Axel has sought throughout his career to use imaging, particularly MRI, as a tool for the quantitative investigation of cardiovascular physiology and pathophysiology. Some areas to which Dr. Axel has contributed significantly include quantitative perfusion imaging (with both computed tomography and MRI), velocity imaging, surface coil imaging, and magnetization tagging for regional cardiac function quantification. His current research is primarily focused on the development of robust methods for acquiring high-quality MRI images of patients in the presence of free-breathing and arrhythmias, which are common problems in clinical cardiovascular MRI, and for the analysis of the additional physiologic information revealed in the resulting images.
Dr. Axel has served on the Board of Scientific Councilors of the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, and he is a fellow of the American College of Radiology, the Society for Body Computed Tomography and Magnetic Resonance, the International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine, and the American Heart Association. Dr. Axel is on the editorial boards of Magnetic Resonance Imaging and Medical Image Analysis, and he serves as a Guest Editor for Circulation: Cardiovascular Imaging.
Professor and Director Division of Public Health Sciences
Wake Forest School of Medicine
Dr. Burke received his graduate training at the University of Iowa College of Medicine receiving both a Medical Degree and Master’s degree in Preventive Medicine and Epidemiology.
Dr. Burke has devoted his career towards seeking a clearer understanding of the etiology of cardiovascular disease in populations and in the development of better strategies for chronic disease prevention. He has led a large number of observational studies and clinical trials, including the Women’s Health Initiative, the Soy Estrogen Alternative Study, The CARDIA Study, the Cardiovascular Health Study, the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis, the MESA Family Study, the MESA Air Pollution Study, The Minnesota Heart Study, the Ginkgo Enhancing Memory Study, and the Reynolds Center Sudden Cardiac Death Study.
Dr. Burke has authored more than 350 peer-reviewed publications and has served on a number of major national committees, including: Chair of the American Heart Association’s Council on Epidemiology and Prevention; member of National Heart Lung and Blood Institute Board of Extramural Advisors, Co-Chair of the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute Prevention Task Force, Chair in CDC’s National Forum for the Prevention of Heart Disease and Stroke, and Chair of numerous multicenter study monitoring boards. Dr. Burke is the National Steering Committee Chair of the NIH funded Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis and has been widely recognized as a leader in population health, clinical prevention and multi-institutional studies.
Professor of Nursing
University of Linköping
Prof. Dr. Tiny Jaarsma is the editor-in-chief of the European Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing, which is a peer-reviewed journal of the Council on Cardiovascular Nursing and Allied Professionals of the European Society of Cardiology. She is the past chair of the Science Committee of that council, involved in the Nursing Council of the AHA and is a former board member of the Heart Failure Association.
Her research aims at enhancing the quality of nursing care and strengthening the health care delivery system for chronically ill cardiac patients. Her contributions have been in promoting evidence-based nursing practice internationally, specifically in patients with heart failure.
One of her main scientific achievements is the design, management and publication of a multicenter randomized trial evaluating the disease management in patients with heart failure, the COACH study (Coordinating Study Evaluating Outcomes of Advising and Counseling in Heart Failure). Another main achievement is the integration of current scientific knowledge in the middle range theory of self-care in chronic illness, developed with colleagues from the US and Sweden and the development of the European Heart Failure Self-care Behavior Scale that is currently translated in 21 languages. The scale is used in clinical trials to evaluate the effect of nursing interventions as well as used and tested in nursing practice to improve the quality of the patient education by nurses.
Her current research focusses on two relevant areas in heart failure care. One large international trial is ongoing, studying physical activity in patients with heart failure by exergaming. Another international study addresses communication related to palliative care in heart failure patients. Her research has been published in over 250 publications ranging from practical communications to scientific publications.
Klaus F Ley
Professor and Head Division of Inflammation Biology
La Jolla Institute for Allergy & Immunology
La Jolla, Calif.
Dr. Ley received his medical degree from Julius-Maximilians-Universität, Würzburg, Germany. He has a post-doctoral degree in Physiology from Freie Universität in Berlin, Germany and a post-doctoral degree in Bioengineering from the University of California, San Diego.
Dr. Ley’s research interest is focused on myeloid cells, specifically neutrophil and monocyte recruitment. Since 1980, he has published more than 200 original papers in peer-reviewed journals including Nature and Science.
In 1991, Dr. Ley discovered that L-selectin was involved in leukocyte rolling in vivo. In 2007, his lab discovered a fundamental new signaling mechanism in neutrophils that appears to be very important in neutrophil recruitment. For his work on neutrophils and monocytes, Dr. Ley received the 2008 Bonazinga Award, the highest award of the Society for Leukocyte Biology, and the 2010 Malpighi Award, the highest award of the European Society for Microcirculation and Vascular Biology.
Dr. Ley’s research in atherosclerosis started in 1997, when his lab discovered that P-selectin mediated rolling not only in venules, but also in inflamed arteries. His work is focused on the role of monocyte-derived cells in atherosclerosis. In 2001, his lab discovered CCL5 and CXCL1 as monocyte arrest chemokines relevant to atherosclerosis (Apoe-/- mouse model). Next, the lab investigated the role of platelets in promoting monocyte interactions with the vessel wall, which resulted in a publication in Nature Medicine in 2003. In 2006, the lab developed and published a method to measure the leukocyte content of the aortic wall by flow cytometry, a method that is now used by many labs around the world.
2015 Distinguished Scientists
Professor of Medicine
Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Samuel Z. Goldhaber, MD, Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, is Section Head of Vascular Medicine in the Cardiovascular Medicine Division at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH). He is Director of the BWH Thrombosis Research Group and serves as Principal Investigator of a broad range of randomized clinical trials and observational studies related to the prevention, treatment, and epidemiology of venous thromboembolism, stroke prevention in atrial fibrillation, and prevention of recurrent myocardial infarction.
Dr. Goldhaber showed through a series of clinical trials that right ventricular dilatation and hypokinesis predict an adverse prognosis in acute pulmonary embolism. Furthermore, these trials showed that systemic and catheter-based ultrasound-facilitated thrombolytic therapy more rapidly than heparin restored normal right ventricular function. He also conducted a randomized trial demonstrating that electronic medical alerts for high risk inpatients not receiving venous thromboembolism prophylaxis reduce the symptomatic DVT and pulmonary embolism rates by more than 40 percent.
Dr. Goldhaber serves as Chair of the Steering Committee of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)-sponsored ATTRACT Trial of DVT, which is testing pharmacomechanical low-dose thrombolysis against standard anticoagulation to prevent postthrombotic syndrome. He serves on the Steering Committees of the GARFIELD Atrial Fibrillation and GARFIELD-Venous Thromboembolism cohort studies and is National Coordinator of U.S. participating sites. For his work on prevention of venous thromboembolism, Dr. Goldhaber has received the Certificate of Appreciation from the Surgeon General of the United States.
Dr. Goldhaber directs a series of Harvard Medical School CME courses, including a 5-day update in clinical cardiology and a 2-day course on thrombosis and thromboembolism. He also tapes the “Clot Blog” for theheart.org on Medscape.
Dr. Goldhaber is President and Founding Director of the nonprofit organization, North American Thrombosis Forum. He serves as a Section Editor of Clinician Update and the Cardiology Patient Page for Circulation. He runs a busy outpatient practice of general cardiology, venous thromboembolism, and atrial fibrillation patients, and oversees the inpatient Cardiology Consult Service.
Dzau Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Senior Physician, Cardiovascular Division
Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Marc Pfeffer is the Dzau Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, and Senior Physician in the Cardiovascular Division at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. A noted researcher, Dr. Pfeffer, along with his late wife, Dr. Janice Pfeffer, and Eugene Braunwald MD, is credited with introducing the concept that angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEIs) could attenuate adverse ventricular remodeling following myocardial infarction and that this use would result in a prolongation of survival and other clinical benefits. Since this initial discovery, he has had a principal role in several practice-changing clinical trials such as SAVE, CARE, VALIANT, CHARM, PEACE, ARISE, TREAT, ALTITUDE, RED-HF, TOPCAT and ELIXA.
Dr. Pfeffer is considered as a team builder and takes pride in academic advancement of trainees and junior faculty collaborating on the trials. He is known for his fairness in data sharing and assisting others in developing meaningful scholarly works from study databases. He sets high standards for relationships with the sponsors whether industry or NHLBI.
Dr. Pfeffer is Senior Associate Editor of Circulation and is a member of the Editorial Board of several other prominent journals. He serves on the Data Safety Monitoring Boards of major international trials. An internationally recognized expert in the field of cardiology, he was recognized by Science Watch as having the most ‘Hot Papers’ (highly cited) in all of clinical medicine. Dr. Pfeffer was listed as one of the highly influential biomedical researchers of 1996-2011 in the European Journal of Clinical Investigation. He is the recipient of the William Harvey Award of the American Society of Hypertension, the Okamoto Award from Japan’s Vascular Disease Research Foundation, the Clinical Research Prize, as well as, the James B. Herrick Award, both from the American Heart Association. Dr. Pfeffer is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow and is the recipient of an Honorary Doctoral Degree from Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Sweden.
Edith Clemmer Steinbright Professor of Gerontology
School of Nursing
University of Pennsylvania
Dr. Barbara Riegel is the Edith Clemmer Steinbright Professor of Gerontology and Director of the Biobehavioral Research Center at the University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing. She is co-editor of the Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing, which is the official journal of the Preventive Cardiovascular Nurses Association and endorsed by the AHA Council on Cardiovascular and Stroke Nursing.
Dr. Riegel is an established nurse scientist studying adults with cardiovascular disease. Her primary research interest is self-care of older adults with chronic heart failure. Recently her interests have expanded to include multimorbidity—a common phenomenon in adults with heart failure. Dr. Riegel focuses her research on the self-care issues of medication adherence and decision-making in response to symptoms. She has demonstrated that poor medication adherence is a primary contributor to hospitalization in heart failure, identified intentional and unintentional factors associated with poor medication adherence, and developed an approach to improving medication adherence in these patients. In reference to symptom response, she has identified factors that impair the ability of heart failure patients to accurately perceive and interpret their symptoms, including age-related changes in interoception and illness-related changes in the brain. She has published both a situation-specific theory of heart failure self-care and a middle range theory of self-care of chronic illness. These theories have formed the basis of various self-report research measures used worldwide to study the self-care behaviors of chronically ill individuals. Dr. Riegel has more than 250 peer reviewed publications and is invited to speak nationally and internationally on self-care. This interest grew out of her early years as a Clinical Nurse Researcher at Sharp HealthCare in San Diego, California, where she led several studies testing disease management approaches to transitioning chronically ill patients from hospital to home, a theme that continues in her current program of research.
Edward S. Orgain Professor of Cardiology
Professor of Medicine, Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics
Durham, North Carolina
Dr. Rockman is an internationally recognized basic scientist in cardiovascular disease who has made seminal discoveries in understanding the molecular mechanisms of cardiac hypertrophy and heart failure, with emphasis on the role of G protein-coupled receptors in the development and therapy of heart disease. He pioneered the use of the mouse as a model system by developing miniaturized technologies to study murine cardiac pathophysiology. This work laid the foundation for him, and the scientific community, to use genetically engineered mice to study molecular mechanisms of disease. In a landmark study he disproved a long-standing theory that normalization of wall stress was critical in preventing heart failure. His work resulted in a paradigm shift in understanding how the heart responds to pathological stress. In elegant studies, he discovered that phosphoinositide 3-kinase has protein kinase activity and identified for the first time an endogenous substrate for the enzyme and role in receptor endocytosis. Recently, he discovered how β-adrenergic and angiotensin receptors in the heart can be selectively activated to induce cardioprotective signaling, which has led to the development of a new class of drugs known as biased ligands.
He has authored over 200 articles, has received many mentoring and teaching awards, and has been elected to the Association of American Physicians and the American Society for Clinical Investigation. He is the current Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Clinical Investigation.
Professor of Neurology, Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
Director, UCLA Comprehensive Stroke Center
Los Angeles, California
Dr. Saver is Director of the UCLA Comprehensive Stroke Center and Professor of Neurology at the David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles. Dr. Saver received his medical degree from Harvard Medical School in 1981, and is a graduate of the Harvard-Longwood Neurology Training Program, the University of Iowa Fellowship Program in Behavioral Neurology and Cognitive Neuroscience, and the Brown University Fellowship Program in Vascular Neurology. An author or co-author of over 460 research articles, 2 books, and 35 book chapters, Dr. Saver's research interests are in acute stroke treatment, stroke prevention, neuroimaging, clinical trial design, and neurocognitive consequences of stroke.
Dr. Saver has held numerous leadership positions in neurovascular and translational science organizations, including having served as Chair of the Stroke Council, Chair of the Scientific Statements Oversight Committee, and Chair of the Performance Measures Oversight Committee of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association and as Principal Investigator of the NIH-NINDS Field Administration of Stroke Magnesium (FAST-MAG) clinical trial. Having served on the Editorial Boards of numerous journals, he is currently Associate Editor at JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association, as well as Consulting Editor at the journal Stroke. Previously, Dr. Saver received the Physician of the Year Award from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association Western States Region and the William E. Feinberg Award for Excellence in Clinical Stroke from the American Heart Association.
Professor of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine and Biochemistry
Director, Laboratory for Clinical Biochemistry Research
University of Vermont College of Medicine
Russell P. Tracy, Ph.D., FAHA, ABCC is Professor of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine and Biochemistry in the College of Medicine at the University of Vermont (UVM), and Director of the Laboratory for Clinical Biochemistry Research. He has served as Senior Associate Dean of Research & Academic Affairs in the College of Medicine, and currently serves on the Board of Trustees of the UVM Medical Center. After graduate training at Syracuse University in biochemistry he was a post-doctoral fellow in Clinical Chemistry at the Mayo Clinic and has ABCC Board certification as a Clinical Chemist.
In the mid-1980’s Dr. Tracy began work in cardiovascular clinical trials and in the late 1980’s added epidemiological science, which has become his major area of interest. Dr. Tracy’s research focuses on coagulation, inflammation and adaptive immune systems in cardiovascular disease (CVD), and other chronic diseases. He has made major contributions to our understanding of inflammation in atherosclerosis and as a major cause of CVD and non-CVD morbidity and mortality in “well-controlled” HIV infected individuals. Most recently his lab has focused on the role of chronic infections, including CMV, HIV and HCV, in the regulation of adaptive immunity, and the implications for CVD.
NIH funded since 1984, Dr. Tracy is involved in many molecular and genetic epidemiological studies often as core lab director, biorepository director, and/or Steering Committee; examples include the Cardiovascular Health Study, the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis, the NHLBI Heart Failure Network, NHLBI’s HIV-CVD Consortium, and NHLBI’s Exome Sequencing Program. The LCBR Biological Specimen Repository is a major national resource, currently housing >4M samples, in almost 200 ultracold freezers.
Dr. Tracy has over 600 scientific publications, and numerous honors including the American Association of Clinical Chemistry Bernie Zak Award for Research, the University of Oklahoma Kelly West Lecturer, Emory University Distinguished Visiting Professor in Pathology and University of Kentucky Gill Heart Institute Visiting Professor. He serves currently on the Office of AIDS Research Working Group on HIV and Aging, and has participated in many NHLBI, NIA and NIAID workshops and planning sessions. He has done extensive mentoring of graduate students, postdoctoral Fellows and junior faculty, and has served on the advisory boards of several training programs around the country.
2014 Distinguished Scientists
Philip and Sima K. Needleman Professor of Medicine
Associate Chair for Translational Research
Director, Center for Pharmacogenomics
Washington University School of Medicine
St. Louis, Mo.
Gerald W. Dorn, II, received his medical school, Internal Medicine, and interventional Cardiology training at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, SC. After a brief stint on the faculty at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, Dr. Dorn moved to the University of Cincinnati where he rose through the ranks to become Chief of the Division of Cardiology and Associate Dean for Cardiovascular Services. During this period, Dorn’s interest in G-protein coupled neurohormonal signaling pathways that mediate cardiac hypertrophy and its progression to heart failure bore early fruit as a series of genetic mouse models in which cardiac-specific manipulation of Gαq or its downstream effectors activated intrinsic genetic programs for cardiomyocyte growth and/or programmed death.
Dorn’s background as a cardiologist has informed much of this research. He was involved in the development and early application of sophisticated physiological clinical diagnostics to interrogate complex cardiovascular phenotypes in mice (and more recently Drosophila), which he describes as “bringing the hospital into the lab”. As Principal Investigator of NHLBI P50 SCOR and SCCOR programs at the University of Cincinnati, Dorn and his co-investigators began studying human genetic variants linked to heart disease, modeling the human polymorphisms and mutations in experimental systems for mechanistic investigations.
Dorn moved to Washington University in St. Louis in 2008 to become the inaugural Philip and Sima K. Needleman Professor and the Associate Chair (Internal Medicine) for Translational Research. The Dorn laboratory investigates multiple aspects of genetic reprogramming in heart failure, with research efforts in cardiac signaling, non-coding RNAs, and most recently mitochondrial mechanisms of heart disease. Dr. Dorn and his wife of 24 years, Dr. Deborah A. Hauger (also a cardiologist) have one daughter, Lisa, who is an undergraduate student double majoring in Biology and Classics at Washington University in St. Louis.
David Mortara Distinguished Professor of Physiological Nursing
Clinical Professor of Medicine in Cardiology
University of California, San Francisco (UCSF)
Dr. Drew received her nursing degree in 1968 and was hired to help establish the first Coronary Care Unit (CCU) at Evanston Hospital in Illinois. Dr. Drew was a staff nurse, nurse manager and clinical nurse specialist in CCUs in Illinois and California. Drew earned her MS degree from UCSF in 1980 and joined the School of Nursing Clinical faculty in 1981. Drew earned the PhD degree from UCSF and rejoined the faculty as an Assistant Professor in 1990. Her signature courses at UCSF are in clinical electrocardiography which Dr. Drew has taught for more than 3 decades to medical students, residents, and graduate nursing students. Her lectures are known for their relevance to clinical practice and for her underwater photography. In 2009, Drew received UCSF’s Distinguished Teaching Award. Dr. Drew founded the ECG Monitoring Research Laboratory in the School of Nursing and has mentored numerous graduate students pursuing studies in the field of electrocardiology.
Dr. Drew's research has shaped the development of commercial cardiac monitors, including the use of: 1) standard unipolar precordial (V) leads (instead of modified leads), 2) multi-lead ECG monitoring, 3) use of reduced lead sets, 4) ST-segment ischemia monitoring, 5) QT interval monitoring, 6) pre-hospital mobile phone transmitted ECGs for patients who call 911 for chest pain, and 7) home ECG monitoring to detect allograph rejection in heart transplant patients. Drew’s research has also focused on strategies to improve nurse practices and to reduce clinical alarm fatigue with hospital patient monitoring. Dr. Drew resides in San Francisco with her cardiologist husband, Dr. Denis Drew.
Lloyd Noble Chair in Cardiovascular Research
Member and Head, Coagulation Biology Laboratory
Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, Oklahoma City, Okla.
Dr. Esmon is a member of the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation where he holds the Lloyd Noble Chair in Cardiovascular Research and is head of the Coagulation Biology Laboratory. He also holds adjunct faculty positions at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. He was a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator from 1988 until 2013, when he retired from the Institute. He has been a member of the National Academy of Sciences since 2002.
Dr. Esmon’s research involves the protein C anticoagulant pathway and the impact of its perturbations on the acute inflammatory response such as occurs in severe sepsis. With Dr. Fletcher Taylor, he was the first to show that activated protein C could prevent and treat a normally lethal septic response in animals. He and Dr. Whyte Owen were the first to identify thrombomodulin and subsequent work from their laboratories led to the isolation and characterization of thrombomodulin. With Dr. Kenji Fukudome, Dr. Esmon identified, cloned and characterized the endothelial cell protein C receptor that serves as a cofactor for thrombomodulin mediated protein C activation. His laboratory has since identified histones as major mediators of sepsis, and activated protein C as a critical regulator of the septic response.
In 2013 Dr. Esmon received the Robert J. and Claire Pasarow Foundation Award in Cardiovascular Research and the ISTH Robert P Grant Medal. Past honors include the E Donnal Thomas Lectureship & Prize (ASH), Established Investigator Award (AHA), MERIT Award (NHLBI), Distinguished Career Award for Contributions to Hemostasis (ISTH), and Edwin Cohn Lecturer, Harvard. He has served on numerous NHLBI advisory councils and is the inventor of several patents which have been licensed and are in development by U.S. companies for diagnosis and treatment of vascular diseases and blood clots. He is an author of over 400 scientific publications.
Chief, Division of Hemostasis and Thrombosis
Professor of Medicine
Harvard Medical School, Boston, Mass.
Dr. Bruce Furie is Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Chief of the Division of Hemostasis and Thrombosis at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Dr. Furie received his AB from Princeton University and his MD from the University of Pennsylvania. After residency at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, he was a postdoctoral fellow at the NIH with Drs. Christian B. Anfinsen and Alan N. Schechter. After clinical hematology training, he, with Dr. Barbara C. Furie, established their joint laboratory at New England Medical Center and Tufts University School of Medicine in 1975; he became Chief of the Division of Hematology-Oncology from 1990 to 1996. Upon moving to the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in 1997, he was Director of their Cancer Center.
Dr. Furie's research focuses within the area of hemostasis and thrombosis. Major activities involve the study of the structure-function relationships of the blood coagulation proteins, the structural biology of Factors VIII, IX and prothrombin, and the biology of P-selectin. With real time confocal and widefield imaging of thrombus formation in the microcirculation of a live mouse, they study the pathophysiology of thrombosis and have established a critical role for thiol isomerases in this process.
Dr. Bruce Furie was the recipient of the Dameshek Prize of the American Society of Hematology, a MERIT Award from the NIH and an honorary degree from Lund University (Sweden). Dr. Furie had been a co-editor of HEMATOLOGY: BASIC PRINCIPLES AND PRACTICE and lead editor of CLINICAL HEMATOLOGY-ONCOLOGY: PRESENTATIONS, DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT. He served as the President of the 2009 Congress of the International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis, and has served on the editorial boards of BLOOD, the Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis, and MOLECULAR MEDICINE and is the Secretary General of the International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis.
Professor of Medicine, Division of Cardiology
(Novartis Foundation Endowed Professor of Cardiovascular Research)
President, CPC Clinical Research, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora, Colo.
William R. Hiatt’s clinical research career has focused on peripheral artery disease (PAD) and understanding the mechanisms underlying the disease pathophysiology as a basis for developing new treatments. Peripheral artery disease is an atherosclerotic disorder that limits blood flow to exercising muscle, but the resultant functional limitations are not well explained by the hemodynamic disease severity. With funding from the NIH Academic Award in Vascular Disease, Dr. Hiatt and his colleague Dr. Eric Brass hypothesized that chronic alterations in skeletal muscle metabolism were a key component of the disease pathophysiology.
A series of coordinated studies over the ensuing 15 years demonstrated marked alterations in PAD skeletal muscle metabolism including accumulation of metabolic intermediates of oxidative metabolism (muscle acylcarnitines) in proportion to the reduction in peak exercise performance, profound evidence of mitochondrial DNA injury, alterations in muscle oxidative enzyme expression and decrease in the activity of the electron transport chain. These findings provided evidence of an acquired skeletal muscle mitochondrial myopathy in PAD and served as a basis to develop novel therapeutic interventions. Subsequent studies tested the clinical benefits and mechanisms of response to supervised exercise training that served as a basis for current ACC-AHA guidelines in PAD. Numerous clinical trials have evaluated the role of drugs (L-carnitine derivatives, PDE-3 inhibitors, prostaglandins, 5-hydroxytryptimine antagonists, antiplatelet drugs, antibiotics, lipid drugs, nitric oxide modulating drugs), biologics (gene therapy and cell therapy) and devices (peripheral catheters) in treating all clinical stages of PAD.
Dr. Hiatt has been supported in his research by CPC Clinical Research; a non-profit created by the University of Colorado as a stand-along but affiliated Academic Clinical Trials Organization. Since 2003 Dr. Hiatt’s clinical research has been informed by service on FDA advisory panels including the Cardiovascular and Renal Drugs Advisory Committee and currently the Endocrinologic and Metabolic Drugs advisory committee.
Professor of Health Research and Policy
Professor of Medicine (Cardiovascular Medicine)
Stanford School of Medicine, Stanford, Calif.
Dr. Hlatky is a cardiologist with major research interests in clinical trials, clinical research methods, outcomes research, and comparative effectiveness research. Dr. Hlatky has participated in many large, multicenter randomized clinical trials, including studies of coronary revascularization, treatment of acute myocardial infarction, hormone therapy to prevent cardiovascular disease, and management of life-threatening ventricular arrhythmias.
He pioneered the collection of data on economic and quality of life outcomes as part of randomized trials, which has become a standard tool in outcomes research. He has also conducted large outcomes research studies of coronary revascularization, sudden cardiac death, implantable cardioverter defibrillators, heart failure, and coronary artery disease. He has also developed decision models to assess the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of a wide variety of clinical strategies, including prevention of sudden cardiac death, use of testing to guide preventive treatment of heart disease, use of genetic testing in cardiovascular medicine, and management of cardiac risk during non-cardiac surgery.
He has led several research centers, including the Cardiac Arrhythmia Patient Outcomes Research Center, the Stanford-UCSF Evidence-based Practice Center, the Donald W. Reynolds Cardiovascular Clinical Research Center at Stanford, and the Stanford-Kaiser Cardiovascular Outcomes Research Center.
2013 Distinguished Scientists
Director, Experimental Pathology and Professor
Pathology and Biomedical Sciences
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
Los Angeles, Calif.
Dr. Kenneth E. Bernstein received an M.D. degree from New York University in 1978. After a residency in pathology and a research fellowship at NIH, Dr. Bernstein worked at Emory University and then Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. Dr. Bernstein has studied the physiology and biochemistry of the renin-angiotensin system since 1987. His research concerns two important areas: the angiotensin II AT1 receptor and angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE). Dr. Bernstein’s cloning of cDNA encoding the AT1 receptor in 1991 was a major discovery in understanding the RAS. Bernstein followed with a series of important papers showing that the seven transmembrane AT1 receptor signaled, in part, using several intracellular kinase pathways, including the Jak-STAT pathway. His work helped overturn dogma concerning intracellular signaling by seven transmembrane receptors and provides insight into why angiotensin II has many physiologic effects in addition to blood pressure control.
In 1988 and 1989, Dr. Bernstein’s laboratory was one of two to first clone and characterize the structure of ACE. Bernstein was also the first to discover that the ACE gene contains two distinct promoter regions, a promoter used by endothelium to make somatic ACE, and an intragenic testis-specific promoter used by developing sperm to make a smaller version of the ACE protein. The catalytic activity of this testis ACE is necessary for normal male fertility. In 1999, Dr. Bernstein collaborated with Dr. Mario Capecchi to produce an important technical advance that simplified how one can use Cre-Lox vectors for targeted homologous recombination in stem cells. In recent years, Dr. Bernstein’s lab created a series of mice with unique mutations in the ACE gene, focusing on the physiologic role of ACE in individual tissue types, such as the heart and the kidney. These animal models addressed the role of local vs systemic angiotensin II generation, as well as the physiologic role of ACE apart from blood pressure control. They identified a novel role of angiotensin II in erythropoiesis. They suggested that the ACE substrate Ac-SDKP may help protect the lung against fibrosis following chemotherapy. They indicated a role of ACE in the processing of immune peptides that signal self vs. foreign to the immune system. And they provided the first observation that mice over-expressing ACE in macrophages have a markedly enhanced immune response to tumors and bacterial infections. Finally, Bernstein’s lab has identified important functional differences between the two catalytic domains of ACE. This has clinical implications in that other labs have developed prototypic ACE inhibitors specific for each ACE catalytic domain.
Dr. Bernstein was an AHA Established Investigator from 1988-1993. In 2005, he shared the AHA’s Novartis Prize for Hypertension Research with Dr. Barry Brenner. In 2007, Dr. Bernstein received the AHA’s Basic Research Prize. Dr. Bernstein has lived for over 31 years with the ACE of his heart, his wife Ellen.
Professor, Medicine & Epidemiology
University of Washington, Seattle, Wash.
Investigator, Group Health Research Institute Group Health Cooperative
Dr. Bruce M. Psaty is a Professor of Medicine, Epidemiology, and Health Services; Co-Director of the Cardiovascular Health Research Unit at the University of Washington; an Investigator at Group Health Research Institute, Group Health Cooperative; and a practicing general internist at Harborview Medical Center, Seattle, Wash. He received his MD and PhD in English language and literature from Indiana University and his MPH in epidemiology from the University of Washington. His research interests include cardiovascular epidemiology, epidemiological methods, myocardial infarction, stroke, hypertension, diabetes, drug safety, pharmacoepidemiology, genetics, genomics, and pharmacogenetics.
Dr. Psaty is the principal investigator on several large epidemiologic studies and has had major roles as a cardiovascular disease epidemiologist at the coordinating centers of NIH-funded multi-center studies, including the Cardiovascular Health Study, the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis, and the Women's Health Initiative. In these settings and others, he has used case-control, cohort, clinical-trial and meta-analytic methods to evaluate the risks and benefits of a variety of medications, including hormone therapy, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents, and drugs used to treat hypertension, diabetes, dyslipidemia, asthma, heart failure, atrial fibrillation, osteoporosis, chronic pain, and other conditions as well as drug-gene interactions that may influence the risk-benefit profile of selected medications. Recently, Dr Psaty collaborated with investigators from other national and international cohort studies to establish the CHARGE (Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology) consortium, which has published more than 120 meta-analyses of genome-wide association studies of a variety of phenotypes. This consortium has also become a rich resource for a variety of research activities.
Dr. Psaty has served on various working groups, data-safety monitoring committees, review groups and study sections, including as chair of the NIH Cardiovascular Disease and Sleep Epidemiology Study Section (2004-2006), Institute of Medicine’s Committee on the Assessment of the U.S. Drug Safety System (2005-2006), the Executive Committee of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute’s Strategic Planning Effort (2006-2007), the Scientific Advisory Board of the Netherlands Biobank Infrastructure (2010-2013), and the Institute of Medicine’s Committee on Ethical and Scientific Issues in Studying the Safety of Approved Drugs (2010-12). He has testified at Congressional hearings about rofecoxib, rosiglitazone, and FDA-related legislation.
In 2005, Dr Psaty received the University of Washington Outstanding Public Service Award for his work on drug safety. The American Heart Association’s Epidemiology and Prevention Council selected Dr Psaty as the Remington Methodology Lecturer (2004) and as the Ancel Keys Memorial Lecturer (2009). Elected memberships include American Epidemiological Society, Association of American Physicians, and fellow of the American Heart Association. Currently, Dr Psaty is a member of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Science Board, the Safety Science Committee of the FDA’s Mini-Sentinel Initiative, and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute Advisory Council. He also teaches and mentors students, fellows and junior faculty in medicine and epidemiology. With more than 600 articles, editorials and commentaries in the medical literature, Dr Psaty publishes regularly, serves on the editorial board of several journals, and is a contributing writer at JAMA.
Eugene Braunwald Professor of Medicine
Harvard Medical School, Director
Center for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention
Brigham and Women's Hospital
Department of Medicine
Brigham and Women's Hospital
As a graduate of Brown University, the Harvard Medical School, and the Harvard School of Public Health, Dr. Paul M. Ridker is formally trained in cardiovascular medicine and epidemiology and directs the Center for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention, a translational research unit at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.
Dr. Ridker’s research focuses on the design and conduct of multi-national randomized trials, the development of inflammatory biomarkers for clinical and research use, the molecular and genetic epidemiology of cardiovascular diseases, and on novel strategies for cardiovascular disease detection and prevention. Best known for his work translating the biology of vascular inflammation into clinical practice, notable research findings from Dr. Ridker’s group include the first use of inflammatory biomarkers such as CRP, IL-6, and ICAM-1 to predict cardiovascular risk in otherwise healthy men and women; the first demonstrations that these same inflammatory biomarkers independently predict incident diabetes and hypertension; the first clinical observation that statins reduce inflammation and might be effective among those with low LDL but who have a persistent inflammatory response; and the development and validation of the Reynolds Risk Score, the first clinical risk prediction tool to include family history and inflammation along with traditional risk markers. On the basis of these data, Dr. Ridker then collaborated with investigators worldwide to conduct the 17,000 patient JUPITER trial demonstrating that statins in primary prevention are highly effective at reducing heart attack, stroke, and total mortality in those who do not qualify for treatment because of already low LDL but who are at elevated risk due to high CRP levels.
Continuing his work translating inflammation biology into practice, Dr. Ridker currently serves as Trial Chairman and Principal Investigator of two multi-national, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trials designed to address whether reducing inflammation can reduce cardiovascular event rates. These trials are the Canakinumab Anti-Inflammatory Thrombosis Outcomes Study (CANTOS) and the NHLBI funded Cardiovascular Inflammation Reduction Trial (CIRT) which together will include more than 25,000 patients worldwide. Dr. Ridker is also the Principal Investigator of the Women’s Genome Health Study (WGHS) and the JUPITER-GWAS, two prospective genome wide association studies being conducted among more than 40,000 initially healthy men and women.
Academically, Dr. Ridker serves as the Eugene Braunwald Professor of Medicine at the Harvard Medical School and for fifteen years has directed an NHLBI-funded training grant in cardiovascular epidemiology that has proudly produced a cadre of talented young clinical cardiovascular investigators. Having received early-career funding from the American Heart Association in the form of a Clinician Scientist Award (1992-1997) and an Established Investigator Award (1997-2002), Dr. Ridker also has a longstanding commitment to the AHA and its research and clinical missions, particularly for young investigators.
Henrietta B. and Frederick H. Bugher
Professor of Cardiovascular Genetics
Genetics Department Harvard Medical School
Dr. Jonathan G. Seidman is the Henrietta B. and Frederick H. Bugher Professor of Cardiovascular Genetics at Harvard Medical School. He received his undergraduate degree from Harvard University (’72) and his Ph.D. degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His postdoctoral studies were carried out in Dr. Philip Leder’s laboratory at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. He has been a member of the Genetics Department, Harvard Medical School since 1981.
The Seidman Laboratory, which Jonathan co-runs with his wife Christine Seidman, MD, studies the genetic basis for human disease. Heart disease is the laboratory’s principle focus, but efforts are also devoted to hearing loss, vascular malformations and metabolic abnormalities. Investigations range from the discovery of genetic variants in rare and common cardiovascular phenotypes to elucidation of how genetic variations alter signaling mechanisms in model organisms, information that has been translated into novel therapeutic interventions in human patients. To advance these efforts, the laboratory also applies high-throughput genomic sequencing for basic investigations and for clinical application.
Dr. Seidman is a member of The Genetics Society of America and the American Society of Human Genetics. He has received several awards including the Gill Heart Institute Award for Outstanding Contributions to Cardiovascular Research (2000); the 12th Annual Bristol-Myers Squibb Award for Distinguished Achievement in Cardiovascular Research (2002), jointly with Christine Seidman, MD; the Lefoulon-Delalande Foundation Grand Prix for Science (2007), joint recipient with Christine Seidman, MD and the Katz Prize for Cardiovascular Research awarded by Columbia University School of Medicine (2008), jointly with Christine Seidman, MD. He is also a member of the National Academy of Science (2007) and the Institutes of Medicine (2007).
Reitman Distinguished Chair in Cardiovascular Innovation
Professor of Medicine and Biochemistry
Director, Institute of Transformative Molecular Medicine
Director, Harrington Discovery Institute
Department of Medicine Case Western Reserve University and University Hospitals
Dr. Jonathan S. Stamler is recognized for the discovery of protein S-nitrosylation, a ubiquitous and conserved mechanism for controlling protein function and the prototypic redox-based signal. S-nitrosylation has emerged as a principal mechanism through which nitric oxide signals, and is thus recognized as central to the understanding of multiple aspects of cardiovascular physiology and disease. Dr. Stamler described the first endogenous peptide and protein S-nitrosothiols, and his and related work has demonstrated roles for S-nitrosylation in regulating ion channels, receptors, trafficking proteins and enzymes that are essential in the function of the heart and vasculature. Accordingly, dysregulated S-nitrosylation is implicated in a broad spectrum of cardiovascular diseases, including myocardial injury, heart failure, arrhythmia, pulmonary and systemic hypertension, atherosclerosis and diabetes. His research is notable for new insights into physiology, including the discovery of red blood cell-mediated vasodilation, which involves the S-nitrosylation of hemoglobin and which plays a central role in the respiratory cycle (consequently re-conceptualized as a three gas system: NO/O2/CO2). More broadly, he has discovered novel enzymatic functions for hemoglobins in bacteria, yeast, worms and mammals. Dr. Stamler is also known for discovering the enzymatic basis of nitroglycerin bioactivation, and for identifying novel enzymatic activities that govern NO bioactivity in the cardiovascular system and elsewhere, including S-nitrosylases and denitrosylases. His work anchors the development of new therapeutic approaches to disease characterized by aberrant S-nitrosylation.
Dr. Stamler has published more than 250 original articles and two books, has co-founded five companies and serves on multiple editorial and scientific advisory boards. He is the author of more than 125 patents and patent applications, and has been recognized by several prizes and awards. He attended Brandeis University, received his MD from Mount Sinai School of Medicine, completed his internship, residency and fellowships (in both Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Medicine) at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital (and affiliated VA hospital), and joined the faculty at Harvard University before spending 16 years on the faculty of Duke University. He moved to Case Western Reserve University and University Hospitals Case Medical Center in 2010.
Tilden Weger Bieler Professor of Medicine
Department of Medicine
Columbia University New York, N.Y.
Dr. Alan R. Tall is the Tilden-Weger-Bieler Professor of Medicine, Professor of Physiology and Cellular Biophysics and head of the Division of Molecular Medicine in the Department of Medicine of Columbia University. He recently served as the founding head of the Cardiovascular Research Initiative of Columbia University. Dr. Tall is internationally recognized for his work in plasma lipoprotein metabolism and atherosclerosis, especially in relation to the regulation and metabolism of plasma high density lipoproteins (HDL). Dr. Tall and collaborators discovered mutations in the cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP) gene that are associated with dramatically increased HDL and reduced LDL levels, establishing the role of CETP in the regulation of lipoproteins and identifying CETP as a potential therapeutic target.
Dr. Tall and colleagues have done research on the ATP binding cassette transporters ABCA1 and ABCG1 that promote cholesterol efflux from macrophage foam cells to apoA-1 and HDL particles, respectively. Recently, Dr. Tall and colleagues have identified a key role of cholesterol efflux pathways in limiting the proliferation of hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells and thus the pro-atherogenic production of inflammatory cells. Most recently, these studies have shown that in the setting of hypercholesterolemia, cholesterol efflux pathways mediated by a distinct transporter ABCG4 suppress the proliferation of megakaryocyte progenitor cells and limit excessive platelet production with anti-atherogenic and anti-thrombotic consequences. These studies have uncovered new links between the regulation of cellular cholesterol homeostasis by cholesterol efflux pathways and the regulation of cell proliferation, with relevance to both atherosclerosis and neoplastic disorders.
Dr. Tall is a member of the Association of American Physicians and has served on the Board of Scientific Councilors of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, the Research Committee and the ATVB Council of the American Heart Association. Dr Tall is an Associate Editor of Circulation Research and serves on the Editorial Boards of the Journal of Clinical Investigation and the ATVB journal. In recognition of his work, Dr Tall has been the recipient of the Irvine Page Award of the ATVB Council, and the Robert I Levy Lectureship of the Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health (formerly Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism) Council of the American Heart Association.
2012 Distinguished Scientists
Distinguished Professor and Chair
Department of Pharmacology
University of California, Davis
Dr. Donald M. Bers is the Joseph Silva Endowed Chair for Cardiovascular Research, Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Department of Pharmacology at University of California, Davis. Dr. Bers holds a Ph.D. in Physiology from the University of California, Los Angeles. Dr. Bers has held two endowed chairs and began his faculty career at the University of California, Riverside where he rose from Assistant Professor to Professor and Interim Associate Dean of Biomedical Sciences (1982-1992). He was recruited to Loyola University Chicago as Chair of Physiology (1992-2008) invigorated the faculty and developed a new Cell and Molecular Physiology Graduate Program. Since 2008 he has been a Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Department of Pharmacology where he has developed strong research and teaching programs. He has always led an active research group and participated extensively in teaching in multiple programs. He has mentored many Ph.D. students, postdoctoral fellows and junior faculty, and has served on many Dissertation Committees and Qualifying/Comprehensive Exam Committees at UC Riverside, Loyola and UC Davis.
Dr. Bers is a world-renowned expert on the cellular and molecular factors that regulate heart excitation and contraction. His research has advanced the scientific understanding of cardiac myocyte dynamics with innovative experimental techniques, an emphasis on quantitative measurements, and a unique ability to synthesize experimental results from many levels of biology into an integrated picture of heart function. He has written the remarkable single authored monograph Excitation-Contraction Coupling and Cardiac Contractile Force, which was originally published in 1991 and in a completely revised 2nd Edition in 2001. This eminently readable monograph remains an indispensable reference for students and working scientists alike.
Dr. Bers’ innovative and highly active research has resulted in his authorship of more than 350 scientific papers, book chapters and review articles. Most of these appear in top-flight journals. His enthusiasm and high standard of scholarship remain undiminished after more than thirty years of groundbreaking research. He is highly sought after as a speaker at conferences and symposiums nationally and internationally--a reflection of his stature in diverse fields of study.
Dr. Bers has an impressive record of service to both academic and scientific communities and has gained numerous awards and recognitions. He has held leadership positions for the International Society for Heart Research, Biophysical Society, American Heart Association, Heart Failure Society of America, American Physiology Society, Association of Chairs of Departments of Physiology. He has also served on numerous editorial boards, as an associate editor, and grant review panels, and has organized numerous scientific meetings.
Emeritus Professor of Epidemiology
Center for Population Health Sciences
University of Edinburgh
Gerry Fowkes obtained his medical degree from the Edinburgh Medical School, Scotland, UK. Following residency training in internal medicine he was awarded a King Edward VII Fund USA scholarship which led to his appointment as Assistant Professor at the University of North Carolina. He subsequently studied epidemiology and public health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and completed training in community medicine with award of the Littlejohn Gairdner Medal and Prize. Appointed Senior Lecturer in the University of Wales College of Medicine, he conducted research on the use of diagnostic tests in clinical practice. Returning to the University of Edinburgh in 1985 he set up a new research programme on the epidemiology of peripheral vascular diseases, leading to his promotion to Reader and then full Professor of Epidemiology.
Dr Fowkes established a research team to carry out the Edinburgh Artery Study on the epidemiology of peripheral artery disease. In 1990, he secured a major grant from the Wolfson Foundation to set up the Wolfson Unit for Prevention of Peripheral Vascular Diseases. Support was also obtained from the British Heart Foundation to create the Peripheral Vascular Epidemiology Research Group. The unit conducted the MRC Edinburgh Claudication Study and, with Charing Cross Hospital, London, the MRC multicentre UK Small Aneurysm Trial. Also, the Wellcome Trust funded the Edinburgh Vein Study into the epidemiology of varicose veins. A second programme grant was obtained from BHF for the Aspirin for Asymptomatic Atherosclerosis (AAA) trial. In 1996 he set up the Cochrane Collaborative Review Group on Peripheral Vascular Diseases and in 2004 the international Ankle Brachial Index (ABI) Collaboration to investigate the ABI in prevention of cardiovascular disease, culminating with the award in 2009 of the PAD Coalition Population Research prize.
In addition to his role as Director of the Wolfson Unit, Dr Fowkes was Head of the Department of Public Health Sciences and Director of the Centre for Population Health Sciences at the University of Edinburgh. He has been a member of numerous international task forces, guideline development groups and scientific bodies in the vascular field, as well as in epidemiology and public health. An NHS A+ distinction award to Dr Fowkes in 2003 was in recognition of his contributions to vascular medicine and public health in the National Health Service in Scotland.
Recently, Dr Fowkes was appointed Emeritus Professor of Epidemiology in the University of Edinburgh enabling him to concentrate on international aspects of his research including the ABI Collaboration and the Global Burden of Diseases Programme.
Distinguished Professor of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging
Department of Radiology
UCSF Medical Center
San Francisco, Calif.
Dr. Higgins graduated from Jefferson Medical College, summa cum laude (1967). He was an intern and resident in Department of Surgery, UCLA Medical Center (1967-1972) during which time he also was a research fellow in Department of Medicine, UCSD Medical Center (under supervision of Eugene Braunwald, MD). He was a resident in Department of Radiology at UCSD (1972-1974) and fellow in Cardiovascular Radiology at Stanford Medical Center (1974-75).
He was on the faculty in the in the Department of Radiology at UCSD Medical Center from 1975 to 1984 and was promoted to Tenured Professor in 1980. He has been Professor of Radiology at UCSF Medical Center from 1984 to 2012. He was designated Distinguished Professor in 2009.
Early research focus was the investigation of compensatory mechanisms and cardiovascular reflexes in response to heart failure and a variety of cardiovascular lesions. The main focus of research in 1976 until 1984 was to demonstrate the potential for contrast enhanced computed tomography for the identification and quantification of the size of acute myocardial infarction using a prototype ECG gated CT scanner implemented at UCSD under the direction of Dr. Higgins.
These studies were the first to identify delayed contrast enhancement of myocardial infarction and established the cellular basis (increased distribution volume of contrast medical due to loss of myocardial cellular membrane integrity) for this phenomenon. In the past decade cardiovascular CT has become widely applied in the evaluation of ischemic heart disease; nearly 30 years after this seminal research.
Since 1984, the primary focus of his research has been the exploration of the scientific basis for the use of magnetic resonance (MR) in cardiovascular disease and the development of clinical and research application in acquired and congenital heart disease. The first ECG gated MR images of the human heart were produced in his laboratory circa 1983. The first clinical service for cardiovascular MR was initiated by Dr. Higgins at UCSF Medical Center in 1984.
The research of Dr. Higgins has been supported by numerous grants from the American Heart Association and the NIH during the past 30 years. He was the recipient of a NIH Career Development Award in 1976. He has had multiple cycles of a NIH Research Training Grants extending over nearly 30 years. More than 100 clinical and research fellows from the USA, Canada, and multiple countries of Asia, Europe, and South America have participated in cardiovascular MR research and received clinical training in cardiovascular MRI under his supervision.
He has given more than 80 named lectureships in North America, South America, Asia, and Europe. He has been awarded honorary memberships in medical societies in Canada and multiple countries in Europe, Asia, and South America. He has received the Distinguished Achievement Award of AHA (1990), Outstanding Researcher Award of RSNA (2000), and Gold Medal of Society of Cardiovascular MR (2011).
Professor of Health Care Policy, Professor of Biostatistics
Department of Health Care Policy
Harvard Medical School
Sharon-Lise Normand is Professor of Health Care Policy (Biostatistics) in the Department of Health Care Policy at Harvard Medical School and Professor in the Department of Biostatistics at the Harvard School of Public Health. Her research focuses on the development of statistical methods for health services and outcomes research, primarily using Bayesian approaches, including causal inference, provider profiling, item response theory, latent variables analyses, multiple informants analyses, and evaluation of medical devices in randomized and non-randomized settings.
She serves on several task forces for the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology, was a consultant to the US Food and Drug Administration’s Circulatory System Devices Advisory Panel after serving a four-year term on the panel, is a member of the Medicare Evidence Development and Coverage Advisory Committee, and is Director of Mass-DAC, a data coordinating center that monitors the quality of all adult cardiac surgeries and coronary interventions in all Massachusetts’ acute care hospitals.
Dr. Normand has served on several editorial boards including Biometrics, Statistics in Medicine, Health Services and Outcomes Research Methodology, Psychiatric Services, and Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes. She was the 2010 President of the Eastern North American Region of the International Biometrics Society and is Vice Chair of the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute’s Methodology Committee.
Dr. Normand earned her Ph.D. in Biostatistics from the University of Toronto, holds a Masters of Science as well as a Bachelor of Science degree in Statistics, and completed a post-doctoral fellowship in Health Care Policy at Harvard Medical School. She is a Fellow of the American Statistical Association, a Fellow of the American College of Cardiology, a Fellow of the American Heart Association, and an Associate of the Society of Thoracic Surgeons. In 2011, Dr. Normand was awarded the American Statistical Association Health Policy Statistics Section’s Long Term Excellence Award.
Professor of Medicine and Pharmacology
Assistant Vice-Chancellor for Personalized Medicine
Department of Medicine and Pharmacology
Vanderbilt University School of Medicine
Dr. Roden is a clinical pharmacologist and cardiologist. He is currently Professor of Medicine and Pharmacology and Assistant Vice-Chancellor for Personalized Medicine at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.
His research focuses on mechanisms underlying variability in response to drug therapy. His major interest has been the relationship between mutations and polymorphisms in ion channel and other genes, and susceptibility to arrhythmias, including drug-related arrhythmias. Examples of individual projects in his laboratory include definition of the functional consequences of sodium channel deletion in zebrafish; development of methods to establish function of non-coding variants in ion channel and other genes, and to assess their functional significance in vitro and in patients; exploitation of a new method to rapidly generate mice with variant cardiac sodium channels; and studies of structure-function relations of wild-type and variant ion channels. The laboratory's research is being translated into studies of arrhythmia genomics and pharmacogenomics.
Dr. Roden directs the Pharmacogenomics of Arrhythmia Therapy (PAT) program, the Vanderbilt site part of the NIH Pharmacogenetics Research Network. The site studies drugs used to treat cardiac arrhythmias and on testing the hypothesis that the effect of certain drugs to unexpectedly provoke potentially fatal arrhythmias includes a genetic component. Work in PAT identifies common polymorphisms and genomic structures in arrhythmia candidate genes (ion channel and other), establishes function of these variants, and studies association between DNA variants and large databases of patients with defined arrhythmia and drug response phenotypes.
Dr. Roden has received the Young Investigator Award from the American Society of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics, and the Distinguished Scientist Award from the Heart Rhythm Society.
Reginald Jenney Professor of Anaesthesia (Harvard)
Director of the Anesthesia Center for Critical Care Research (MGH)
Department Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Medicine
Massachusetts General Hospital
Dr. Warren M. Zapol is the emeritus Anesthetist-in-Chief at Massachusetts General Hospital and the Reginald Jenney Professor of Anaesthesia at Harvard Medical School. He is currently the Director of the MGH Anesthesia Center for Critical Care Research. Dr. Zapol is a graduate of MIT and the University of Rochester School of Medicine. After completing a residency in Anesthesiology at MGH he has remained on the staff since 1972. Supported by the NHLBI, Dr. Zapol’s research efforts include studies of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), acute respiratory distress syndrome, and cardiopulmonary physiology in animals and humans.
Supported by the National Science Foundation, he has led nine Antarctic expeditions to study the diving mechanisms and adaptations of the Weddell seal. Through that research his team learned how marine mammals avoid the bends and hypoxia during prolonged free diving. In 2003, he was awarded the Intellectual Property Owners Association’s Inventor of the Year Award for the treatment of hypoxic human newborns with inhaled nitric oxide, a technique now used to save the lives of over ten thousand babies each year in the USA that he pioneered with his MGH team. In 2006, a steep mountain glacier in Antarctica was named for Dr. Zapol by the United States Board on Geographic Names.
In 2008, he was appointed by President George W. Bush and 2012 reappointed by President Barack Obama in 2012 as an academic representative to the U.S. Arctic Research Commission.
2011 Distinguished Scientists
Senior Investigator and President Emeritus, Gladstone Institutes
Professor, Pathology and Medicine
University of California
San Francisco, Calif.
Dr. Robert W. Mahley is a senior investigator at both the Gladstone Institute of Cardiovascular Disease and the Gladstone Institute of Neurological Disease and president-emeritus of the Gladstone Institutes. Dr. Mahley is also a professor of pathology and medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. As president, Dr. Mahley oversaw Gladstone’s establishment and its growth to include three institutes. He recently developed the Gladstone Center for Translational Research to facilitate the movement of some aspects of Gladstone’s basic research into developmental targets. In 2010, after 30 years as president, he stepped down to more actively pursue his research.
Dr. Mahley is an internationally known expert on heart disease, cholesterol metabolism and, more recently, Alzheimer’s disease. He studies plasma lipoproteins and particularly apolipoprotein (apo) E, the major genetic risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease. His seminal research has defined apoE’s critical role in cholesterol homeostasis and atherosclerosis. His Turkish Heart Study shed light on the genetics of low HDL-C. He has also made fundamental contributions to understanding the role of apoE in the nervous system, specifically in nerve injury and regeneration and in the remodeling of neurites on neuronal cells. These findings laid the groundwork for the explosion of research linking apoE4, a variant of apoE, to the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease and neurodegeneration.
In 1971, Dr. Mahley joined the staff of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute at the National Institutes of Health, and in 1975 became head of the Comparative Atherosclerosis and Arterial Metabolism Section. Four years later, he was recruited to create the Gladstone Institutes. Dr. Mahley is a member of many scientific and professional societies, including the American Heart Association, the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, the American Society for Clinical Investigation, the Association of American Physicians, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Society for Neuroscience. In addition, he serves on the editorial boards of several scientific journals.
Dr. Mahley is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine, and the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. He recently received the Builders of Science Award from Research!America for his leadership as Gladstone’s founding director and president, guiding its growth to become one of the world’s foremost independent research institutes.
After earning a bachelor’s degree from Maryville College, Maryville, Tennessee, in 1963, Dr. Mahley completed both an MD and a PhD at Vanderbilt University in 1970. The following year he did a pathology internship at Vanderbilt.
Professor of Biochemistry and Medicine
University of Vermont College of Medicine
Ken Mann’s blood coagulation studies began with elucidation of the multiple forms of thrombin (1969). Over the course of his career he combined biophysical, biochemical, cell biological and clinical research to investigate the formation of blood pro- and anticoagulants and their mechanisms of action. His laboratory described the biochemistry and dynamics of thrombin formation in normal and pathologic conditions and the influence of pharmacologic interventions on the process. These activities have led to over 500 publications and the issue of 12 patents. His research program has been strongly supported by the NIH, the AHA and the Pharmaceutical Industry. Mann’s contributions have been recognized by selection for the E.I., Sol Sherry and Special Recognition Awards from the AHA, E. Donnall Thomas Prize and Stratton Medal of the American Society of Hematology, Grant Medal from the International Society of Thrombosis and Hemostasis, and Henri Chaigneau Prize from the Association Française des Hémophiles. He is a UVM Scholar, member of the Vermont Academy of Science and Distinguished Alumnus of the Mayo Foundation. He has served as Member of the SAC of the AHA, President of the Association of Medical and Graduate Departments of Biochemistry, Chairman of the Council on Thrombosis and Council Chairman of the International Society on Thrombosis and Hemostasis, the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Leducq Foundation, the Board of Directors of the National Hemophilia Foundation and on the Board and Treasurer of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. He has made extensive contributions to the peer review process of the NIH, the AHA and other philanthropic organizations. He has provided editorial services to the Journal of Biological Chemistry, ATVB, Blood, and the Journal of Thrombosis and Hemostasis.
Throughout his research career he has been actively engaged in graduate and medical education and has contributed to the training of a large number of highly successful scientists who continue to work in the blood coagulation field. He attributes his successful research career to his associations with many exceptional students, mentors and collaborators and to his spouse, Jeanette, who has supported his professional aspirations for over 40 years.
Chief, Division of Preventive Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital
Michael and Lee Bell Professor of Women's Health, Harvard Medical School
JoAnn E. Manson, MD, MPH, DrPH, FAHA, is Chief of the Division of Preventive Medicine, as well as Co-Director of the Connors Center for Women’s Health and Gender Biology, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School. She is Professor of Medicine and the Michael and Lee Bell Professor of Women’s Health at Harvard Medical School. The focus of Dr. Manson’s research has been women's health, randomized clinical trials in cardiovascular disease prevention, and translational research. Her primary interests include the role of estrogen and hormonal factors, moderate vs vigorous physical activity, nutritional interventions, and other lifestyle modifications as determinants of cardiovascular disease and diabetes in women. She is Principal Investigator of several grants from the National Institutes of Health, including the VITamin D and OmegA-3 TriaL (VITAL), the Women’s Health Initiative Vanguard Clinical Center at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, the Women’s Antioxidant and Folic Acid Cardiovascular Trial, and Biochemical and Genetic Risk Factors for CVD in Women, among others. She is also PI of the Boston site for the KEEPS trial.
Dr. Manson is a member of many professional societies and serves on the editorial/medical advisory boards of several medical journals. She has received numerous awards and honors, including the “Woman in Science” Award from the American Medical Women’s Association, election to membership in the Association of American Physicians, the Harvard College Women’s Professional Achievement Award, fellowship in the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the North American Menopause Society’s Postmenopausal Cardiovascular Health Research Award, the International Menopause Society’s Henry Burger Research Prize, and the American Heart Association’s Population Research Prize. She served on the Executive Committee of the NHLBI’s Strategic Planning Committee, as well as on several Institute of Medicine committees and workshops, and grant study sections. She has published more than 700 articles in the medical literature, has served as editor-in-chief of several textbooks including Prevention of Myocardial Infarction and Clinical Trials in Heart Disease: A Companion to Braunwald’s Heart Disease, as well as authored several health-related books for lay audiences. She is one of the top 10 most highly cited authors in the world in the field of clinical medicine and has conducted research that has influenced national guidelines, clinical practice, and health policy. Dr. Manson was one of the physicians featured in the National Library of Medicine’s exhibition, “History of American Women Physicians”, in Bethesda, MD. She is currently President of the North American Menopause Society.
Professor of Pediatrics, Chair, Division of Molecular Cardiovascular Biology
Executive Co-Director of the Heart Institute
Cincinnati Children's Research Foundation
Dr. Robbins received his Ph. D. in Genetics and Development in 1976 from the University of Connecticut and was appointed as Assistant Professor in the College of Medicine at the University of Missouri-Columbia. He rose through the academic ranks, and left Missouri to join the Department of Pharmacology and Cell Biophysics at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine in 1987. In 1993 he moved to the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital to start a new division of Molecular Cardiovascular Biology and in July 2009, formed the Heart Institute, integrating the basic and clinical arms of Pediatric Cardiology. He currently is a Professor of Pediatrics, Chair, Division of Molecular Cardiovascular Biology, Associate Chair of the Research Foundation and Executive Co-Director of the Heart Institute. He has won a number of teaching and research awards, including the Golden Apple awarded by the medical students for excellence in teaching, the Kaplan Award for innovative research, the National Research Achievement Award from the American Heart Association, the President’s Distinguished Lecture award from the International Society for Heart Research, the Rieveschl Award for Outstanding Research Achievements and the Drake Medal. He was an Established Investigator of the American Heart Association. He has been elected a Fellow of the American Heart Association, the International Society for Heart Research and was elected to the International Academy of Cardiovascular Sciences. He has served on and chaired numerous national research review committees for the National Institutes of Health and the American Heart Association. He currently serves on 11 Editorial Boards and is a Senior Associate Editor for Circulation Research.
Dr. Robbins has been publishing in the field of cardiovascular biology for approximately 20 years. With over 200 publications during this period, his contributions have changed the way that basic cardiovascular research is done, by allowing the research community to carry out “gain-of-function” approaches specifically in the myocardium via cardiac-specific transgenesis. In a series of landmark papers, Robbins first defined the promoter elements needed to target and drive high levels of gene expression in the mammalian heart. Identifying the cis-trans interactions was what drove the basic research but, understanding the implications, Robbins then took the work further and explored the utility of cardiac-specific gene expression as a method of doing defined genetics in the mammalian four-chambered heart. After the initial proof-of-principal showing that cardiac specific trans-genesis was feasible, he defined, built and tested a set of reagents that is now routinely used by hundreds of laboratories to carry out genetic experiments in the mouse cardiovascular system.
Dr. Robbins unambiguously showed the utility of the general approach and developed a set of robust reagents that could easily be used to create animal models of cardiovascular disease. Dr. Robbins’ work has changed the way in which we explore the basic pathology of cardiovascular disease. With well over 700 different models being developed and published using his reagents, the work that Dr. Robbins published allowed the entire field to move forward at a pace undreamed of only 15 years ago. A contributing factor to the rapid spread of the technology was Dr. Robbins’ early decision to make the reagents freely avail-able, allowing the rapid dissemination of the needed tools, free from the confines of university intellectual property concerns.
Dr. Robbins went on to use gain-of-function approaches to further his own investigations into the underlying pathologies of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, as well as defining the structure-function relationships in a number of the contractile proteins. His recent experiments have established the importance of protein quality control and proteotoxicity as causative for a class of cardiomyopathies, which has recently led to the startling observation that intracellular pre-amyloids appear to play an important, and possibly generalized role in cardiovascular diseases of various etiologies.
Aram V. Chobanian Distinguished Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine
Director, Whitaker Cardiovascular Institute
Boston University School of Medicine
Kenneth Walsh is the Aram V. Chobanian Professor of Medicine and the Director of the Whitaker Cardiovascular at Boston University School of Medicine. Dr. Walsh, who received his PhD in Biochemistry from the University of California, Berkeley, previously held faculty positions at Case Western Reserve University and at Tufts University School of Medicine.
The Walsh laboratory investigates the signaling- and transcriptional-regulatory mechanisms that control both normal and pathological tissue growth in the cardiovascular system. Many of these studies involved analyses of the PI3-kinase/Akt/GSK/Forkhead signaling axis. This pathway is of critical importance in the regulation of organ growth and body size. Signaling through this pathway controls cellular enlargement (hypertrophy), cell death (apoptosis), and blood vessel recruitment and growth (angiogenesis). They have shown that the PI3-kinase/Akt/GSK/Forkhead signaling axis regulates multiple steps critical in angiogenesis including endothelial cell apoptosis, differentiation, migration and nitric oxide production. They have also shown that some of the same signaling steps are important for physiological and pathological cardiac hypertrophy, and regulate myocyte survival in models of heart disease.
Ongoing projects in the Walsh laboratory analyze mechanisms of inter-tissue communication within the cardiovascular system and how these regulatory mechanisms are perturbed by obesity-induced metabolic dysfunction. Using mouse genetic models, they have identified how miscommunication between cardiac myocytes and vascular endothelial cells contributes to the transitions from compensated hypertrophy to heart failure. Other studies examine how alterations in the expression of adipocyte-derived cytokines, referred to as adipokines, interfere with normal signaling within the cardiovascular system and thereby contribute to obesity-linked cardiovascular disease. Related projects examine how age-associated loss of skeletal muscle mass affects metabolic and cardiovascular function, and they are exploring the possibility that muscle-secreted factors (myokines) confer some of the beneficial effects of exercise training on cardiovascular and metabolic diseases.
Dr. Walsh has published approximately 300 articles, of which 71 have received more than 100 citations. He is the recipient of multiple research grants from the National Institutes of Health, including a MERIT Award. This year he was awarded a Program Project Grant to conduct basic and clinical studies on how the vascular endothelium functions at the interface of cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. Dr. Walsh is a member of the Cardiac Contractility, Hypertrophy and Failure Study Section for the National Institutes of Health. He is an Associate Editor for the journal Circulation and serves on numerous editorial boards including Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology, Circulation Research, Hypertension Research and Skeletal Muscle. Dr. Walsh is the recipient of the Irvine F. Page Award from the Council on Arteriosclerosis and was previously an Established Investigator of the American Heart Association.
2010 Distinguished Scientists
Jay N. Cohn, MD, is a professor of medicine in the Cardiovascular Division, Department of Medicine, at the University of Minnesota Medical School in Minneapolis.
Dr. Cohn received his MD from Cornell University Medical School in 1956 and completed his internship and residency at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston. He served as a fellow in cardiovascular research and as a clinical investigator at the Veterans Affairs Hospital and Georgetown University in 1960-65, chief of hypertension and clinical hemodynamics at the Veterans Affairs Hospital as well as professor of medicine at Georgetown University in 1965-74. Dr. Cohn was head of the Cardiovascular Division at the University of Minnesota 1974-96 and is currently director of the Rasmussen Center for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention.
Dr. Cohn is internationally recognized for his contributions to our understanding of cardiovascular disease and for his leadership in designing and carrying out clinical trials to document efficacy of new interventions for heart failure. He has pioneered an assessment of cardiovascular function in patients with hypertension, shock, acute myocardial infarction and heart failure. He was the first to advocate vasodilator therapy for heart failure, including nitroprusside, nitrates with hydralazine and converting enzyme inhibitors. He organized and chaired the first long-term trials in heart failure, the Veterans Affairs Cooperative Study Program on vasodilator therapy of heart failure (V-HeFT). He was among the first to advocate bedside hemodynamic monitoring in acutely ill individuals and was the first to identify the syndrome of right ventricular infarction. He was among the first to identify neurohormonal activation as a key contributor to the progression of heart failure and to set the stage for neurohormonal inhibiting therapy. His animal and clinical studies have established the importance of structural remodeling of the left ventricle as the basis for the progression of heart failure and for the therapeutic response to drugs that prolong life and reduce long-term morbidity. In recent years he has focused on early identification of cardiovascular disease in order to initiate therapy before organ system disease develops. His innovative efforts at early detection have included screening to diagnose stiffening of the small arteries, utilizing a methodology he developed at the University of Minnesota which is now FDA-approved and marketed worldwide.
Dr. Cohn is the founder of the Heart Failure Society of America and served as its first president. It is now the premier organization in the world of health professionals dedicated to the diagnosis and treatment of heart failure. He also founded and served as editor-in-chief of the first journal dedicated to heart failure, the Journal of Cardiac Failure, which is now one of the most frequently cited cardiovascular journals. He is the author of more than 700 scientific publications and has written extensively on circulatory physiology, hypertension, congestive heart failure and its treatment, nervous system control mechanisms in heart failure, and vascular compliance. He holds a number of patents, including those related to pulsewave analysis for the measurement of arterial elasticity and use of hydralazine and isosorbide dinitrate for the treatment of heart failure. He serves on the editorial boards of many of the major journals in the field and is co-editor of the cardiology text, "Cardiovascular Medicine," and editor of the textbook, "Drug Treatment of Heart Failure.
Dr. Cohn is a master of the American College of Physicians, a fellow of the American Heart Association, American College of Cardiology and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and is a member of the Association of American Physicians and the American Society for Clinical Investigation as well as many other professional societies. He is a past president of the Heart Failure Society of America, the International Society of Hypertension and the American Society of Hypertension and has served as an officer of the American Heart Association and the American Federation for Clinical Research. He is currently president of the International Society of Cardiovascular Pharmacotherapy. He served as chairman of the Cardiorenal Advisory Committee of the Food and Drug Administration and has served on a number of government boards and committees.
Dr. Cohn has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the Arthur S. Flemming Award, the James B. Herrick Award of the American Heart Association (AHA), the Distinguished Service Award (AHA), the AHA Scientific Councils' Distinguished Achievement Award, the Distinguished Scientist Award of the American College of Cardiology, the Novartis Award of the Council for High Blood Pressure Research, the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Heart Failure Society of America, the William S. Harvey Award, the Sir Thomas Lauder Brunton Award, the Arrigo Recordati International Prize for Scientific Research: Lifetime Achievement in Heart Failure, the Henry Ford Heart & Vascular Institute’s Lifetime Research Achievement Award, and the Cornell Weill Medical College Alumni Association Award of Distinction. He is a member of the Academic Health Center’s Academy for Excellence in Health Research at the University of Minnesota and received the Clinical Scholar Award for 2006 of the University of Minnesota Medical Center. He has presented numerous honorary lectures around the world and has served as visiting professor at many universities in the United States and abroad.
Dr. Criqui is professor and chief of the Division of Preventive Medicine, Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine. He is also professor in the Division of Cardiology, Department of Medicine, and is director of the Preventive Cardiology Academic Award Program.
Dr. Criqui received his medical degree and completed residency training at the University of California, San Francisco, and received a master of public health degree in epidemiology from the University of California, Berkeley. He is board certified in general preventive medicine by the American College of Preventive Medicine.
He is an elected member of the American Epidemiological Society and is a fellow of the American Heart Association, American College of Preventive Medicine, American College of Epidemiology, Society for Vascular Medicine, the Council on Peripheral Vascular Disease of the AHA, and the Council on Epidemiology and Prevention of the AHA, for which he served as chair. He is immediate past chair of the Interdisciplinary Committee on Prevention of the AHA and currently chairs the International Peripheral Arterial Disease Working Group for the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study. He has also served on committees for the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization and the Institute of Medicine. He serves on the editorial board for several journals, and is senior consultant to the editorial board for the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
Dr. Criqui is an active and productive investigator in cardiovascular epidemiology and preventive cardiology, and has made seminal contributions in the fields of peripheral arterial disease, subclinical atherosclerosis and peripheral venous disease. He has published more than 385 manuscripts and book chapters and has been an invited lecturer at numerous national and international meetings. He has received several national/international awards, including the Joseph E. Stokes III Preventive Cardiology Award (2001), the Frederick H. Epstein Memorial Lecture Award (2002), the AHA Council on Epidemiology and Prevention Special Recognition Award (2004) and the Distinguished Achievement Award of the AHA Council on Epidemiology and Prevention (2008).
Henry Halperin is David J. Carver Professor of Medicine and professor of radiology and biomedical engineering at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Dr. Halperin received a B.S degree in physics with highest distinction from Purdue University in 1971, and received an M.A. degree in physics from the University of California, Berkeley in 1972. He received an M.D. degree from Louisiana State University, New Orleans in 1977. He was a fellow in cardiology at The Johns Hopkins Hospital 1981-84. He is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, an Established Investigator and Fellow of the American Heart Association, a Fellow of the Heart Rhythm Society, a McClure Fellow of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics laboratory, and an Eagle Scout. He is the co-director of the Johns Hopkins Cardiovascular Imaging Center, and director of Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support at Johns Hopkins Hospital. He is a past chair of the AHA Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support Subcommittee and a past member of the Emergency Cardiac Care Committee.
Dr. Halperin has done extensive research in CPR. In studies that included computer modeling and advanced imaging, he investigated hemodynamic and airway mechanisms operative during CPR. These findings were instrumental in developing AHA recommendations for optimizing the chest compression rate and depth during CPR. In addition, these studies clarified the contribution of airway collapse, air-flow and air?trapping to generation of intrathoracic pressure during chest compression. He also did studies showing that improving blood flow during CPR could increase survival. He then developed methods and devices, most of which are clinically available, for monitoring and improving chest compression, while avoiding interruptions in chest compression. He developed (1) an accelerometer-based chest-displacement-measuring technology enabling real-time feedback on the quality of chest compression and its effect on outcomes, (2) a system for markedly reducing the chest-compression-induced artifact in the ECG, allowing correct interpretation of the ECG without interrupting chest compression, and (3) automatic mechanical chest-compression devices for improving blood flow.
Dr. Halperin has also done extensive research in electrophysiology. He invented ways of combining the anatomic information from real-time magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), with catheter ablation, to determine, through direct visualization, if complete ablations are present; and if not, to complete such ablations. He is one of the key pioneers studying interactions between MRI and cardiac rhythm devices. MRI is generally denied to patients with implanted devices, due to potential safety concerns. He showed, however, that modern devices can be MRI safe, because of improved technology. The clinical utility is substantial since more than 90 percent of diagnostic questions are answered with MRI, compared with only 20 percent with conventional imaging. Other centers are using these data to start their imaging programs, and the algorithm for safe MRI scanning has been adopted by the AHA. Dr. Halperin also introduced MRI in the study of mechanisms of arrhythmias, and this approach has been adopted by many research groups. Among other findings, he showed that a major substrate for ventricular tachycardia is scar, sometimes mixed with normal tissue, which can be imaged with MRI, and which are ideal targets for ablation.
Ten of his students have received young investigator awards from the American Heart Association and Heart Rhythm Society, and he has had continuous support from the National Institutes of Health for his research programs. He has more than 130 peer-reviewed publications and more than 25 patents issued.
David Harrison is the Bernard Marcus Professor of Medicine at Emory University. He obtained his MD from the University of Oklahoma in 1974 and then received internal medicine and cardiology training at Duke University. He performed a research fellowship at the University of Iowa Cardiovascular Center in 1980-82. In 1982, he joined the faculty at Iowa, where he remained until 1990, when he moved to Emory University.
Dr. Harrison’s research has focused on understanding how diseases like hypertension and hypercholesterolemia alter vascular function, and he has been funded by the National Institutes of Health since 1982. He was among the first to show that common diseases such as hypercholesterolemia and atherosclerosis alter endothelium-dependent vasodilatation. In 1987, he and his colleagues published the first paper showing that endothelial function could be improved by dietary correction of hypercholesterolemia. He subsequently showed that a major cause of altered vascular function in diseases such as hypercholesterolemia, hypertension and diabetes is an increase in vascular superoxide production. His group initially characterized the NADPH oxidase as a source of radicals in hypertension. He subsequently has shown that the NADPH oxidase can stimulate other radical generating enzymes to generate reactive oxygen species. Recently, he and his colleagues made the seminal discovery that the adaptive immune system plays an important role in the genesis of experimental hypertension.
Dr. Harrison has previously served as chairman of the American Heart Association Circulation Council and the Council on Basic Science and he has chaired the NIH Experimental Cardiovascular Sciences study section. Dr. Harrison is a past president of the Association of University Cardiologists and a member of the American Association of Physicians. He has served on the editorial boards of various journals, including Circulation Research, Hypertension, ATVB and Circulation.
Dr. Harrison delivered the George Brown Memorial Lecture to the 1995 American Heart Association Scientific Sessions, the Sir George Pickering Lecture to the British Hypertension Society in 2001, the Robert Furchgott Lecture at the International symposium on Mechanisms of Vasodilatation in 2002 and the Robert M. Berne Distinguished Lecture to the Experimental Biology Meeting in 2002. In 2003, he received the Basic Science Award from the Basic Science Council of the American Heart Association. He received the Novartis Award from the High Blood Pressure Council of the AHA for outstanding hypertension research in 2004 and was awarded the Carl J. Wiggers Award of the Cardiovascular Section of the American Physiological Society in 2010.
Harlan M. Krumholz, MD, SM, FAHA, is a pioneer in the field of outcomes research. His scholarship at the interface of medicine, epidemiology, statistics, management sciences and economics has profoundly influenced clinical practice and healthcare policy.
The themes of effectiveness, efficiency, equity, safety, timeliness and patient-centeredness of healthcare prevention and clinical care form the core of his research efforts.
Dr. Krumholz’ research team has advanced the science of measurement in clinical care. He leads initiatives for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to develop national measures for public reporting of hospital performance. His ongoing work in this area includes six outcomes measures that are reported on Hospital Compare and several others in development. Prior research supported the development and refinement of the publicly reported core process measures. These assays have enabled many studies of quality of care. He has led measure development committees for the American College of Cardiology, the American Heart Association, the National Committee for Quality Assurance and the Joint Commission. He has also led consensus statements to set standards for measures on behalf of organizations including the American College of Cardiology, the American Heart Association and the National Quality Forum.
Dr. Krumholz is a national leader in quality improvement. His research team introduced the use of mixed methods in the evaluation of determinants of performance, and developed the use of positive deviance to discover key strategies that could be disseminated to improve care. Notable among these efforts was the Door-To-Balloon Alliance, a national campaign to reduce delays in the treatment of patients with heart attacks that included participation of more than 1,000 hospitals. The team’s efforts over the past decade have also focused on characterizing and reducing readmission rates. Dr. Krumholz leads a joint effort by the American College of Cardiology and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement to reduce readmission rates nationwide.
Dr. Krumholz’ research focus on disparities in health care established a new conceptual model for interpreting research on this topic. His contributions have refined targets for intervention, illuminated the complexity surrounding differences in treatment and potential remedies, and contributed to the reduction in racial disparity in door-to-balloon times. He has also worked to expand studies of women with heart disease, identifying biological, clinical and psychosocial factors that influence care and outcomes.
Dr. Krumholz is an advocate for transparency and professionalism in research and clinical care. His scholarship revealed questionable practices in the promotion of Vioxx and has prompted calls to end ghostwriting and guest authorship in the medical literature. His research was cited in testimony that led to the development of the Sunshine Act within the health reform bill.
A graduate of Yale College, Dr. Krumholz completed his medical degree at Harvard Medical School. He completed his residency and chief residency at the University of California at San Francisco and a fellowship in cardiology at Beth Israel Hospital of Harvard Medical School. During his fellowship, he earned a master of health policy and management from Harvard’s School of Public Health. He is an elected member of the Institute of Medicine, Association of American Physicians, and American Society for Clinical Investigation. He is editor of Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, and is a member of the Board of Trustees of the American College of Cardiology and the American Board of Internal Medicine. Dr. Krumholz is director of the Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program at Yale University School of Medicine, and director of the Center for Outcomes Research and Evaluation at Yale-New Haven Hospital.
2009 Distinguished Scientists
Martin Chalfie is the William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Biological Sciences and past chair of the Department of Biological Sciences at Columbia University. In 2008 he shared the Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Osamu Shimomura and Roger Y. Tsien for his introduction of Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP) as a biological marker.
Dr. Chalfie was born in Chicago, Ill. He obtained both his A.B. and Ph.D. from Harvard University and then did postdoctoral research with Sydney Brenner at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, England. He joined the faculty of Columbia University as an assistant professor in 1982 and has been there since.
He uses the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans to investigate nerve cell development and function, concentrating primarily on genes used in mechanosensory neurons. His research has been directed toward answering two different biological questions: How do different types of nerve cells acquire and maintain their unique characteristics? How do sensory cells respond to mechanical signals? In his studies, he has introduced several novel biological methods in addition to his work with GFP.
He traces his work on Green fluorescent protein to a 1988 seminar from Paul Brehm about bioluminescent organisms. This led to some crucial experiments in 1992, detailed in his paper “Green fluorescent protein as a marker for gene expression,” which is among the 20 most-cited papers in the field of molecular biology and genetics. He has published more than 200 papers, of which at least 16 have more than 100 citations.
Dr. Chalfie is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Royal Society of Chemistry (Hon.). He shared the 2006 Lewis S. Rosenstiel Award for Distinguished Work in Basic Medical Science from Brandeis University and the 2008 E. B. Wilson Medal from the American Society for Cell Biology with Roger Tsien.
Dr. Robert Califf was born in Anderson, SC, in 1951 and attended high school in Columbia, SC, where he was a member of the 1969 AAAA South Carolina Championship basketball team.
He graduated from Duke University, summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, in 1973 and from Duke University Medical School in 1978, where he was selected for Alpha Omega Alpha. He performed his internship and residency at the University of California at San Francisco and his fellowship in cardiology at Duke University. He is board-certified in internal medicine (1984) and cardiology (1986) and is a Master of the American College of Cardiology (2006).
He is currently vice chancellor for clinical research, director of the Duke Translational Medicine Institute (DTMI), and professor of medicine in the Division of Cardiology at the Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C. For 10 years he was the founding director of the Duke Clinical Research Institute (DCRI), the premier academic research organization in the world. He is the editor-in-chief of Elsevier’s American Heart Journal, the oldest cardiovascular specialty journal. He has been author or co-author of more than 900 peer-reviewed journal articles and a contributing editor for theheart.org, an online information resource for academic and practicing cardiologists. He was recently acknowledged as one of the 10 most cited authors in the field of medicine by the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI).
Dr. Califf led the DCRI for many of the best-known clinical trials in cardiovascular disease. With an annual budget of more than $100 million, the DCRI has more than 1,000 employees and collaborates extensively with government agencies, the medical-products industry, and academic partners around the globe in all therapeutic areas. In cooperation with his colleagues from the Duke Databank for Cardiovascular Disease, Dr. Califf has written extensively about the clinical and economic outcomes of chronic heart disease. He is considered an international leader in the fields of health outcomes, quality of care, and medical economics.
Dr. Califf has served on the Cardiorenal Advisory Panel of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Pharmaceutical Roundtable of the Institute of Medicine (IOM). He served on the IOM committees that recommended Medicare coverage of clinical trials as well as the removal of ephedra from the market and on the IOM’s Committee on Identifying and Preventing Medication Errors. He is a member of the IOM Forum in Drug Discovery, Development, and Translation and a subcommittee of the Science Board of the FDA. He was the founding director of the coordinating center for the Centers for Education & Research on Therapeutics (CERTs), a public/private partnership among the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the FDA, academia, the medical-products industry, and consumer groups. This partnership focuses on research and education that will advance the best use of medical products. He is the co-chairman of the Clinical Trials Transformation Initiative (CTTI), a public private partnership focused on improving the clinical trials system.
Dr. Garret FitzGerald is the McNeil Professor in Translational Medicine and Therapeutics at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, where he chairs the Department of Pharmacology and directs the Institute for Translational Medicine and Therapeutics. Dr. FitzGerald trained in medicine in University College Dublin and its teaching hospitals and in statistics at Trinity College in Dublin and the London School of Hygiene.
Following fellowships at the Royal Postgraduate Medical School in London, the Max Planck Institute in Cologne and at Vanderbilt, Dr. FitzGerald joined the faculty at the last institution and eventually led the Division of Clinical Pharmacology as the William Stokes Professor of Experimental Therapeutics. He moved in 1991 to lead the Department of Medicine and Experimental Therapeutics at University College, Dublin and then returned in 1994 to the U.S. to take up direction of the Center for Experimental Therapeutics and the General Clinical Research Center as the Robinette Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine at Penn. These structures were subsumed into ITMAT when it was founded in 2004, anticipating the funding of Clinical and Translational Research Centers two years later by the NIH. ITMAT has grown to more than 650 members and supports research programs, faculty recruitment, education and infrastructural developments relevant to translational research. Dr. FitzGerald has served as Chair of the Department of Pharmacology at Penn. The department is routinely placed on the top three in NIH funding in the United States and supports a Graduate Group in Pharmacological Sciences with about 90 students.
Dr. FitzGerald’s research has been characterized by an integrative approach to elucidating the mechanisms of drug action, drawing on work in cells, model organisms and humans. His work contributed substantially to the development of low-dose aspirin. He was the first to describe the dose dependent suppression by aspirin of thromboxane and prostacyclin biosynthesis in vivo and to discover that inhibition of platelet cyclooxygenase by low-dose aspirin occurred in the presystemic circulation and to characterize the interaction by which NSAIDs like ibuprofen could interact with and undermine cardioprotection from aspirin. FitzGerald’s group was the first to predict and then mechanistically explain the cardiovascular hazard from NSAIDs. Since his first prediction of a potential hazard, based on clinical pharmacological studies 12 years ago, evidence consistent with the mechanism proposed – suppression of COX-2 derived prostacyclin – has emerged from (i) multiple studies in model systems including many genetically manipulated mice created by his group, (ii) human genetics, (iii) randomized comparisons amongst NSAIDs and 7 placebo controlled trials of 3 structurally distinct NSAIDs designed to be specific for inhibition of COX-2. Aside from this work, FitzGerald has also discovered many products of lipid peroxidation and established their utility as indices of oxidant stress in vivo. Using this methodology, he demonstrated that conventional doses of vitamin E and C have no impact on lipid peroxidation in healthy individuals with intact endogenous antioxidant defence; that social consumption of alcohol has a pro oxidant effect and that suppression of lipid peroxidation retards atherogenesis in mice. His laboratory was the first to discover a molecular clock in the cardiovascular system and has contributed substantially to our understanding of the importance of peripheral clocks in the regulation of cardiovascular and metabolic function. Dr. FitzGerald’s papers have been published in journals such as Cell, Science, Nature, the New England Journal of Medicine, the Lancet, JAMA, PNAS, the JCI and Nature Medicine and have been cited more than 30,000 times. He has also published on science policy in the lay and professional press and is an occasional sports commentator for Il Manifesto. He has been awarded honorary degrees from University College Dublin and the Universities of Edinburgh and Frankfurt. Among his awards are the Harvey Medal, the Boyle Medal, the Taylor Prize and the Cameron Prize.
Dr. FitzGerald serves on the Peer Review Advisory Committee of the NIH, the Science Board of the FDA and the Drug Forum of the Institute of Medicine.
Tadashi Inagami received his Ph.D. from Yale University in 1958. After obtaining his M.S. and D. Sc. degrees in Japan, he returned to Yale in 1962 to the laboratory of professor J.M. Sturtevant. In 1966 he moved to the Department of Biochemistry at Vanderbilt and established collaboration with Stanley Cohen, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of Biochemistry, Emeritus and Nobel laureate. Cohen suggested that Inagami attempt to isolate renin from mouse salivary gland, which laid the foundation for his studies of the renin-angiotensin system.
Inagami is internationally recognized for his pioneering research on renin and angiotensin II (AII) receptors that constitute key mechanisms in the cardiovascular regulation and degenerative diseases by the renin-angiotensin system. In 1977 he identified renin by isolating the first pure and stable renin from porcine kidney, and discovered that it was a new member of the aspartyl protease family with a unique substrate specificity strictly limited to angiotensinogen. In 1978, using the first specific antibodies to renin and an affinity chromatographic method, he demonstrated the presence of specific renin in the brain and discovered in 1981 that renin in neuronal cells is capable of producing angiotensin by an intracellular mechanism. He and his collaborators found renin in other non-renal tissues such as the adrenal, pituitary, and vascular tissues, and showed that their action is independent of renin in plasma. By 1982 he determined the amino acid sequence of renin from mouse submaxillary gland. This new concept had a major impact on developments in research on tissue renin.
Inagami then turned his attention to the hypotheses that abnormalities in the AII receptor signaling causes cardiovascular disease. In the early 1990s he and his collaborators expression-cloned several isoforms of the type I receptor (AT1, AT1A and AT1B) and a new gene for the type 2 receptor, AT2. He and his collaborators produced AT2 receptor gene knockout mice and discovered that the AT2 receptor has a major effect in controlling cardiac left ventricular hypertrophy. He also discovered that vascular cell hypertrophy and remodeling is mediated by transactivation of epidermal growth factor receptor, a receptor tyrosine kinase, by the G-protein coupled angiotensin type 1 receptor, AT1. These studies enabled further research on the pathophysiological roles of the renin-angiotensin system in the cardiovascular system.
Currently, Dr. Inagami's laboratory is focused on molecular and cellular mechanisms involved in pathobiology of vascular, cardiac and renal tissues and cells. His scientific activities have been devoted to education and research on the basic mechanism of serious cardiovascular diseases including high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, heart failure, and irreversible degenerative failure of the kidney.
Inagami served for 16 years as the director of the Specialized Center of Research in Hypertension, which was established at Vanderbilt by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the NIH. He was named Stanford Moore Professor or Biochemistry in 1991, and he has been presented numerous prestigious national and international awards.
Today, Inagami's laboratory is considered one of the world leaders in cardiovascular disease research. Results of his studies have been published in more than 650 papers in refereed scientific journals for biochemistry, physiology, and cardiovascular diseases.
Dr. Evangelia (Litsa) Kranias was born in Thessaloniki, Greece. She came to the United States as a Fulbright undergraduate scholar to attend the University of Chicago in 1966. Subsequently, she received her doctorate degree in molecular biology and biochemistry from Northwestern University in 1974, and was a postdoctoral fellow at the Medical School of Northwestern University. In 1978, Dr. Kranias joined the University of Cincinnati, College of Medicine, where she is currently a Distinguished University Research Professor, professor and chair of Pharmacology and Cell Biophysics, Hanna Professor of Cardiology and co-Director of the Cardiovascular Center of Excellence.
Dr. Kranias has received numerous awards and honors, including the University of Cincinnati Faculty Achievement Award, the Medical Center Drake Medal, the George Rieveschl Award for Distinguished Scientific Research and the AHA Samuel Kaplan Award. She also delivered the Janice Pfeffer Distinguished Lecture of the ISHR.
Dr. Kranias has served on the Council of the NIH National Center of Research Resources and as chair of the Advisory Committee of the NIH Mutant Mouse Regional Resource Centers. She is currently serving on the Research Committee of the AHA, on the executive committee of the ISHR and as treasurer of the North American Section of the ISHR.
Dr. Kranias has been elected to the Council of the Biophysical Society, the Council of the North American Section of the ISHR, and the International Council of the ISHR. She is a Founding Fellow of the ISHR and Fellow of the Council on Basic Cardiovascular Sciences of the AHA, the International Academy of Cardiovascular Sciences and the Cardiovascular Section of the American Physiological Society. She has also served as associate editor of the Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology as well as on the editorial boards of several major journals.
Dr. Kranias has published over 250 scientific papers, including 211 original articles. Her research has been funded uninterruptedly by NIH and was honored by a RCDA and a MERIT Award. Dr. Kranias has also mentored many young scientists and has served as an exemplary role model for young women in science. She was named one of the “2007 Leading Women” for Women’s advocacy.
Dr. Kranias’ research program has provided fundamental insights into the regulatory mechanisms and signaling pathways underlying calcium homeostasis in cardiac physiology and pathophysiology with special emphasis in heart failure. She was the first to demonstrate a key role of phospholamban in the regulation of cardiac contractility and showed that by controlling the levels of phospholamban alone, it is possible to fine-tune the heart’s pumping action. This key discovery opened a new front of therapeutic targets in heart failure. Dr. Kranias has also extended her basic research findings to the clinical arena and has elucidated the functional significance of Ca-handling in the deteriorated function of human failing hearts. Furthermore, she identified genetic variations in key Ca-cycling proteins, which may predispose to arrhythmias and heart failure. Dr. Kranias’ goal is to build a comprehensive understanding of cardiac calcium cycling and contractility in health and disease.
Dr. Kuller received his B.A. degree in 1955 from Hamilton College in Clinton, N.Y., his MD in 1959 from George Washington University School of Medicine, his M.P.H. in 1964 and DrPH in 1966 from the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health. He trained in internal medicine in Maimonides Hospital in Brooklyn, N.Y. in 1959-61 and in preventive medicine at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health in 1964-65, and is board certified in preventive medicine. He was a faculty member at the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health, reaching the rank of professor of epidemiology from 1971-72. At the same time, he was also a faculty member at the Department of Preventive Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. He was chair and professor in the Department of Epidemiology at the Graduate School of Public Health at the University of Pittsburgh from 1972-2002 and is currently Distinguished University of Public Health and Professor of Epidemiology.
He is a Fellow of the American College of Cardiology, the American Heart Association and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He was president of the American College of Epidemiology from 1985-86, the American Epidemiological Society from 1989-90 and the Society for Epidemiological Research from 1994-1995. He was president of the Armed Forces Epidemiology Board in 1994-96. Dr. Kuller was a Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellow from 1983-84, working with the late Representative Claude Pepper. He was a member of the Board of Scientific Councilors at the National Cancer Institute from 1983-87 and a member of the NIA National Advisory Council on Aging from 2001-05. He is a Fellow of the American Heart Association Councils on Epidemiology, Cerebrovascular Disease and Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism. He was also a founding member of the Nutrition Committee of the American Heart Association.
Dr. Kuller was a MERIT awardee at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute for his research on sudden cardiac death from 1986-96. He received the Abraham Lilienfeld Award of the American College of Epidemiology in 1988, the Alumni Achievement Award at George Washington University in 1985, the Johns Hopkins Centennial Scholar and Society of Scholars in 1991. In 2002, he received the Distinguished Council Achievement Award from the American Heart Association in 2002 and the Joseph Stokes, III Award from the American Society for Preventive Cardiology in 2009.
In 1993, he co-chaired the National Institutes of Health report on the Recruitment and Retention of Women in Clinical Studies. He has been on the editorial boards of many journals, including Stroke, Atherosclerosis Thrombosis and Vascular Biology, Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association, American Journal of Epidemiology and the European Journal of Epidemiology.
Dr. Kuller has authored and co-authored more than 600 papers. He has been actively involved in research related to inflammation and CVD and precipitants of heart attack. More recently, he has been involved in studies of the determinants of heart disease among individuals infected with HIV who are being treated with effective antiviral therapy. Another major interest is the interrelationship between vascular disease, aging and Alzheimer’s disease and the potential prevention of dementia.
Roger Y. Tsien, born in 1952, received his A.B. in chemistry and physics from Harvard College in 1972. He received his Ph.D. in physiology in 1977 from the University of Cambridge and remained as a research fellow until 1981. He then became an assistant, associate, then full professor at the University of California, Berkeley.
In 1989 he moved to the University of California, San Diego, where he is an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and professor in the department of pharmacology and of chemistry and biochemistry. He was a scientific co-founder of Aurora Biosciences Corporation (1996), which went public in 1997 (ABSC) and was acquired by Vertex Pharmaceuticals in 2001 (VRTX). He was also a scientific co-founder of Senomyx Inc. in 1998, which went public in 2004 (SNMX).
Dr. Tsien is best known for designing and building molecules that either report or perturb signal transduction inside living cells. These molecules, created by organic synthesis or by engineering naturally fluorescent proteins, have enabled many new insights into signaling via calcium, sodium, pH, cyclic nucleotides, nitric oxide, inositol polyphosphates, membrane and redox potential changes, protein phosphorylation, active export of proteins from the nucleus, and gene transcription. He is now developing new ways to target contrast agents and therapeutic agents to tumor cells based on their expression of extracellular proteases.
His honors include First Prize in the Westinghouse Science Talent Search (1968), Searle Scholar Award (1983), Artois-Baillet Latour Health Prize (1995), Gairdner Foundation International Award (1995), Award for Creative Invention from the American Chemical Society (2002), Heineken Prize in Biochemistry and Biophysics (2002), Wolf Prize in Medicine (shared with Robert Weinberg, 2004), Rosenstiel Award (2006), E.B. Wilson Medal of the American Society for Cell Biology (shared with M. Chalfie, 2008), and Nobel Prize in Chemistry (shared with O. Shimomura and M. Chalfie, 2008). He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the Royal Society.
2008 Distinguished Scientists
University Professor and Director
Johns Hopkins Malaria Research Institute
A native of Minnesota, Peter Agre studied chemistry at Augsburg College (B.A., 1970) and medicine at Johns Hopkins (M.D., 1974). He completed his residency at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland and an oncology fellowship at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Agre joined the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine faculty in 1984 and rose to the rank of professor of biological chemistry and professor of medicine. In 2005, Agre moved to the Duke University School of Medicine where he served as vice chancellor for science and technology and James B. Duke Professor of Cell Biology. Agre returned to Johns Hopkins in January 2008, where he is professor and director of the Malaria Research Institute at the Bloomberg School of Public Health.
In 2003, Agre shared the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for discovering aquaporins, a family of water channel proteins found throughout nature and is responsible for numerous physiological processes in humans and is implicated in multiple clinical disorders. Agre has received other honors including 12 honorary doctorates, Commandership in the Royal Norwegian Order of Merit from King Harald V, and the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award from the Boy Scouts of America. Agre is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine, for which he chaired and serves on the Committee on Human Rights. In February 2008, Agre became president-elect of the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences.
Clinical Professor, Section of Pediatric Cardiology
Principal Investigator, Bogalusa Heart Study
Tulane University School of Medicine/School of Public Health
New Orleans, La.
Investigations led by Dr. Berenson in Bogalusa for 30 years, involving thousands of children in rural Louisiana, have provided what amounts to an encyclopedia of the critical early natural history of arteriosclerosis and hypertension. His findings have provided solid evidence of the need to look for emerging sings of cardiovascular and metabolic abnormalities and to aggressively address modifiable risk factors. Remarkably, Dr. Berenson, three decades ago, began describing racial and gender differences in cardiovascular risk and pointing to the critical influence of long-term lifestyle trends, such as obesity and smoking. We all owe a tremendous debt to Dr. Berenson for bringing these distributing trends into focus and clarifying the complex interactions of genetics and environment in disease development. Our national emphasis on healthier children’s diets and lifestyles is to a large extent predicated on the lessons learned from a lifetime of robust research by this extraordinary clinician-scientist.
Dr. Berenson began his enormously productive academic career at Tulane University School of Medicine in 1948, as an assistant in the Department of Medicine. He had received his M.D. degree at Tulane in 1945 and joined his alma mater after service in the U.S. Navy. After four years of clinical and research training with Dr. George Burch and a two-year fellowship with Dr. Albert Dorfman at the University of Chicago, he moved to the faculty of Louisiana State University School of Medicine in 1954. He served with distinction there until 1991, when he rejoined Tulane. Currently, he is director of Tulane Center for Cardiovascular Health, and Principal Investigator at Bogalusa Heart Study. As Director of NIH funded Specialized Center of Research for Arteriosclerosis and later National Research and Demonstration Center, Dr. Berenson led the Bogalusa Heart Study for the past 34 years. He has published more than 850 journal articles and four books documenting his research.
As you might expect, in view of his distinguished record, Gerald Berenson accumulated a trophy case full of awards and honors. To cite a few of his most recent kudos, he was the initial recipient in 1997 of the Kids First Award of New Orleans Council for Young Children. Tulane honored him with its Outstanding Alumnus Award in 1999 and a Tulane 50th anniversary Lifetime Achievement Award in 1995. In 2005 he received the Meritorious Achievement Award of the American Heart Association for his contributions to understanding the early origins of atherosclerosis in childhood, and in 2006 he was the recipient of the American Heart Association’s Population Research Prize.
Dr. Berenson has ably served many AHA components, such as the Council on Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology (ATVB); Council on Epidemiology and Prevention (EPI), and the Council on Lifelong Congenital Heart Disease and Heart Health in the Young (Young Hearts). He has been an inspirational leader of the association’s Louisiana Affiliate (currently the Greater Southeast Affiliate), of which he was president in 1971. A widely sought visiting scholar, lecturer and conference leader, Dr. Berenson has ably served many other professional organizations, including the American Society of Hypertension, the American College of Cardiology, and American Society for Preventive Cardiology. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Today, Dr. Berenson’s research team has resumed its tasks, but the past few years have been anything but easy. When Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, it also decimated the Tulane School of Medicine. Dr. Berenson lost his home in the storm. He, his wife and labrador were floated out in aluminum bloat boats by sheriff deputies and taken to Baton Rouge. He spent the next four days helping triage patients on the LSU campus and the next six weeks at the Charity Hospital in Baton Rouge. Many of his prized laboratory samples were lost and facilities damaged by wind and rain in Bogalusa. But even if this acclaimed research had ended forever on that fateful August day – which, fortunately, it did NOT – history would recognize the Bogalusa Heart Study’s achievements as monumental. Now Dr. Berenson and his group are back at work, adding further to an awesome record that fundamentally changed the direction of preventive medicine.
Chief, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine
Director, Institute of Molecular Cardiology
University of Louisville
After graduating from the University of Perugia (Italy), Dr. Bolli completed a research fellowship at the NHLBI and a clinical cardiology fellowship at Baylor, where he rose to the rank of professor. In 1994, he became chief of cardiology at the University of Louisville. Twice, at two different institutions (Baylor and University of Louisville), Dr. Bolli developed a leading research program.
He has received the ACCP Physician Scientist Award, the Pharmacia-Chiron Young Investigator Award, the NIH MERIT Award, the AHA Basic Research Prize, the Research Achievement Award of the ISHR, the Bowman Research Award (University of Manitoba), the Louis and Artur Lucian Award, the Howard Morgan Award, and the AHA Distinguished Achievement Award. He is a member of the ASCI and AAP and a Foreign Fellow of the Academy of Sciences of the Royal Society of Canada. He has delivered the Keith Reimer Distinguished Lecture of the ISHR, the Robert Berne Distinguished Lecture of the APS, and the George Brown Memorial Lecture of the AHA.
Dr. Bolli has served in the NHLBI Program Project Committee and Advisory Council. Among his AHA activities, he has been a member of the Board of Directors and has chaired the Pathophysiology Review Committee, the Council on Basic Cardiovascular Sciences, and the Council Operations Committee. He was also secretary general and is currently president of the ISHR. He has served as associate editor of JMCC and is associate editor of Circulation Research and senior guest editor of Circulation.
Dr. Bolli has published 303 papers, including 205 original articles. Among the original articles, 34 have appeared in Circulation Research, 11 in PNAS, 7 in JCI, and 23 in Circulation. Thirty-three of his papers have been cited more than 100 times, seven more than 200 times, and five more than 300 times. He is first or last author in 74 percent of the 205 original articles. His Hirsch factor is 71.
Dr. Bolli’s research has focused on the mechanisms responsible for myocardial ischemia/reperfusion injury and on the development of cardioprotective strategies. His earlier work established a fundamental role of reactive oxygen species in the pathogenesis of myocardial “stunning,” a concept now accepted as a proven hypothesis. Subsequently, he identified the signal transduction pathways and cardioprotective genes responsible for the late phase of myocardial “preconditioning,” thereby elucidating the molecular basis of this adaptation of the heart to stress. He is investigating the use of stem/progenitor cells for repair of infarcted myocardium.
Distinguished Professor of Biology and Human Genetics
Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute
University of Utah School of Medicine
Salt Lake City, Utah
Mario R. Capecchi was born in Verona, Italy in 1937. He received his B.S. in chemistry and physics from Antioch College in 1961 and his Ph.D. in biophysics from Harvard University in 1967. He completed his thesis work under the guidance of Dr. James D. Watson. From 1967-69 he was a Junior Fellow of the Society of Fellows at Harvard University. In 1969 he became an assistant professor in the Department of Biochemistry, Harvard School of Medicine and was promoted to associate professor in 1971. In 1973 he joined the faculty at the University of Utah as a professor of biology. Since 1988 Dr. Capecchi has been an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute; since 1989, a Professor of Human Genetics at the University of Utah School of Medicine; and since 1993, Distinguished Professor of Human Genetics and Biology. He is also co-chairman of the Department of Human Genetics.
Dr. Capecchi is best known for pioneering the technology of gene targeting in mouse embryo-derived stem (ES) cells that allows scientists to create mice with mutations in any desired gene by choosing which gene to mutate and how to mutate it. This gives the investigator virtually complete freedom in manipulating the DNA sequences in the genome of living mice, and allows detailed evaluation of any gene’s function during its development or post-developmental phase. Research interests include the molecular genetic analysis of early mouse development, neural development in mammals, production of murine models of human genetic diseases, cancer and factors affecting life expectancy, homologous recombination and programmed genomic rearrangements in the mouse.
Dr. Capecchi is a member of the National Academy of Sciences (1991) and the European Academy of Sciences (2002). His prestigious awards include the Bristol-Myers Squibb Award (1992), Gairdner Foundation International Award (1993), General Motors Corporation’s Alfred P. Sloan Jr. Prize (1994), German Molecular Bioanalytics Prize (1996), Kyoto Prize in Basic Sciences (1996), Baxter Award for Distinguished Research in the Biomedical Sciences (1998), Colby Presidential Endowed Chair (1999), Italian Premio Phoenix-Anni Verdi Award (2000), Spanish Jiménez-Diáz Prize (2001), Albert Lasker Award (2001), National Medal of Science (2001), John Scott Medal Award (2002), Massry Prize (2002), Pezcoller Foundation-AACR International Award for Cancer Research (2003), Wolf Prize in Medicine (2002/03), March of Dimes Prize in Developmental Biology (2005), and the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine (2007) with Oliver Smithies and Martin Evans.
Distinguished University Professor, Northwestern University
SUNY Health Science Center
Dr. Furchgott was born in Charleston, S.C. He received a B.S. degree in chemistry from the University of North Carolina in 1937 and a Ph.D. degree in biochemistry from Northwestern University in 1940. He was at Cornell University College of Medicine from 1940-49 and at Washington University from 1949-1956. He served as professor and chairman of the Department of Pharmacology at the State University of New York Downstate Medical Center from 1956-1982, and is presently at that institution. Since 1989, he has been adjunct professor of pharmacology at the University of Miami School of Medicine.
His major research interests include cardiac pharmacology, adrenergic peripheral mechanisms, theory of drug-receptor mechanisms, and vascular pharmacology and physiology. Before the advent of radioligands for studying receptors, he developed theory and pharmacological procedures for the characterization of cell-membrane receptors on which drugs, neurotransmitters and hormones act. He was a pioneer in the development of the concept and theoretical basis of “receptor reserve.”
In 1980, Dr. Furchgott reported his discovery of the obligatory role of endothelial cells in the relaxation (vasodilation) of arteries by acetylcholine and related muscarinic agonists. He demonstrated that the relaxation resulted from release of labile factor from the stimulated endothelial cells, a factor he called endothelium-derived relaxing factor or EDRF.
Between 1980 and 1986, discoveries from his laboratory and laboratories worldwide demonstrated that many vasodilators, both endogenous substances and drugs, act by stimulating release of EDRF. Dr. Furchgott independently showed that EDRF acts by stimulating the enzyme guanylate cyclase in vascular smooth muscle cells, leading to an increase in cyclic GMP, which mediates relaxation. He also found that photorelaxation of blood vessels is mediated by an increase in cyclic GMP.
In 1986, Dr. Furchgott had presented evidence for the independent proposal that EDRF is nitric oxide (NO), and that the neurotransmitter released by NANCY (Non-Adrenergic Non-Cholinergic nerves may also be nitric oxide. The discovery of endothelium-dependent vasodilation and the identification of EDRF as nitric oxide have opened up a new area of research which is contributing much to our understanding of cardiovascular physiology and pathophysiology.
Dr. Furchgott is a recipient of numerous awards and honors; among these are the Goodman and Gilman Award for Research on Receptor Pharmacology from the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics; the CIBA Award form the AHA’s Council for High Blood Pressure Research; the AHA Research Achievement Award; and the 1998 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. He is the recipient of numerous honorary doctoral degrees and was the president of the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics from 1971-72. He is also a member of the National Academy of Sciences.
James V. Neel Distinguished University Professor of Internal Medicine and Human Genetics
Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute
University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, Mich.
Dr. David Ginsburg is James V. Neel Distinguished University Professor of Internal Medicine and Human Genetics Warner-Lambert/Parke-Davis Professor of Medicine, a member of the Life Sciences Institute at the University of Michigan Medical School, and an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
p He received his B.A. degree in molecular biophysics and biochemistry from Yale University and his M.D. degree from Duke University School of Medicine. His postdoctoral clinical and research training was done at the Brigham and Women's Hospital and Children's Hospital, Harvard Medical School.
Dr. Ginsburg is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and recipient of the E. Donnall Thomas Lecture and Prize from the American Society of Hematology, the Basic Research Prize from the American Heart Association, and the 2004 ASCI Award from the American Society of Clinical Investigation.
David Ginsburg is interested in understanding the components of the blood-clotting system and how disturbances in their function lead to human bleeding and blood-clotting disorders.
Professor Emeritus of Medicine
Former Director of Cardiovascular Research Institute
University of California, San Francisco
San Francisco, Calif.
Richard J. Havel is known by many as "Mr. Lipoprotein, USA." He, more than any other investigator unraveled the complex metabolism of the plasma lipoproteins beginning with his pioneering work in the Anfinsen lab at the National Heart Institute in Bethesda, Maryland, where he was one of the first Clinical Associates from 1953-1956. His manuscript on the ultracentrifugal separation of lipoproteins is one of the most frequently cited papers, rivaling Lowry's paper on protein measurement.
He, more than any other investigator, unraveled the complex metabolism of the plasma lipoproteins. He brought order into an area that was at the time murky at best. John Gofinan had made a brave start and insisted on the importance of recognizing the distinctive properties of the several classes of lipoproteins but his analytic ultracentrifugation method was too cumbersome and expensive for widespread clinical use. Nor did it yield quantities of material that would be needed for elucidation of interconversions and catabolic pathways.
Havel introduced a new era when in 1955, while still a Fellow in the laboratory of Christian B. Anfinsen, when he developed preparative ultracentrifugation with his colleagues Howard A. Eder and Joseph H. Bragdon. This technical breakthrough and the series of papers from Havel and others in the NIH group that quickly followed ushered in a new era in the study of lipoprotein metabolism.
Over the ensuing years Havel systematically explored the pathways of lipoprotein catabolism and the metabolic mechanisms controlling it. His synthesis is generally accepted as definitive.
Dr. Havel received his BA form Reed College in Portland, Oregon in 1946, completed his internship a Medicine at New York Hospital (Cornell University Medical School in 1949, and received an MS and MD degrees from the University of Oregon Medical School in 1949. He was Assistant Resident in Medicine, New York Hospital (1950-51), Research Fellow in Medicine, New York Hospital (1951-52), and Chief Resident in Medicine, New York Hospital (1952-53).
Havel has published over 300 manuscripts. Their quality is attested to by his election to the National Academy of Sciences in 1983; the Institute of Medicine in 1989; the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1992. He has received many other honors including the Bristol-Myers Squibb Award for Distinguished Achievement in Nutrition Research and the Distinguished Achievement Award from the AHA Council on Arteriosclerosis.
Distinguished Professor of Pharmacology
UCLA School of Medicine
Beverly Hills, Calif.
Louis J. Ignarro was born in 1941 in Brooklyn, N.Y. and grew up in Long Beach,, N.Y.. He received a B.Sc. degree in Pharmacy/Chemistry from Columbia University in 1962, and a Ph.D. degree in Pharmacology/Physiology from the University of Minnesota in 1966. He did a postdoctoral fellowship at the N.I.H. in the Laboratory of Chemical Pharmacology in 1966-1968.
Dr. Ignarro’s first research position after training was with the CIBA-Geigy Pharmaceutical Company and in 1973 took on his first academic position at Tulane Medical Center in the Department of Pharmacology. In 1985, he accepted the position of Professor of Pharmacology at the UCLA School of Medicine, where he remains today. His current endowed position is the Jerome J. Belzer, MD, Distinguished Professor of Pharmacology.
Dr. Ignarro has received many Awards, most notably: the Basic Research Prize of the American Heart Association; election into the National Academy of Sciences; election into the Academy of Arts and Sciences; election into the American Philosophical Society; and the 1998 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.
Louis J. Ignarro and two other researchers received the 1998 Nobel Prize in Medicine for their major discoveries involving nitric oxide as a unique signaling molecule in the cardiovascular system. In 1972, Dr. Ignarro discovered nitric oxide causes vasodilation, lowering of blood pressure, and inhibition of thrombosis. In 1986, Dr. Ignarro confirmed his suspicion that blood vessels can make nitric oxide, the active ingredient in nitroglycerin, a common drug used to treat heart conditions. Experiments in 1990 showed that nitric oxide is the neurotransmitter responsible for penile erection, and this discovery led to Viagra, the first oral medication for treating erectile dysfunction.
Dr. Ignarro’s discoveries created an explosion of research involving nitric oxide. In 1986, there were a dozen papers published on nitric oxide and just 10 years later, there were about 7,600 papers. His observations with nitric oxide have made it possible for medical professionals to understand what protects the cardiovascular system against pathological conditions such as hypertension, stroke, coronary artery disease and other forms of atherosclerosis, gastrointestinal ulcers and vascular complications of diabetes.
Dr. Ignarro’s laboratory at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA has never been larger than eight or nine people. Throughout his career, funding for the lab has come from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and local heart associations. In 2000, Ignarro testified before Congress on the importance of NIH funding for basic science research. In his testimony, he said that only in America could the son of an uneducated carpenter receive the Nobel Prize in Medicine.
Professor Emeritus, Pharmacology and Biochemistry
University of Washington
Edwin Gerhard Krebs was born to William Carl Krebs and Louisa Helena Stegeman Krebs in Lansing, Iowa, on June 6, 1918. He was the third of four children. His father, a Presbyterian minister, died while Krebs was in his first year of high school. To keep Krebs' two older brothers enrolled at the University of Illinois in Urbana, Louisa Krebs moved the family from Greenville, where Edwin Krebs grew up, to the university town.
In 1940, after completing his high school and undergraduate work in Urbana, Krebs entered medical school at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Mo. He had the opportunity to work under Arda A. Green, who was associated with Carl Ferdinand Cori and Gerty T. Cori. The Coris were a husband-and-wife team who had won the Nobel Prize in 1947 for research on carbohydrate metabolism and the enzyme phosphorylase. Krebs' later collaboration with Edmond Fischer at the University of Washington in Seattle had its beginning in the research conducted by the Coris.
After receiving his medical degree in 1943 and completing an eight-month residency in internal medicine at Barnes Hospital in St. Louis, Krebs became a medical officer in the navy, serving in that capacity until 1946. Due to the unavailability of a resident position, and on the advice of one of his professors, Krebs began studying science. Because of his background in chemistry, Krebs chose to work in biochemistry and was accepted by the Coris as a postdoctoral fellow in their laboratory. For two years, while working for the Coris, Krebs studied the interaction of protamine (a basic protein) with rabbit muscle phosphorylase. This work seemed so rewarding to him that he decided to continue his efforts in the field of research, and in 1948 he was invited by Hans Neurath to join the faculty as an assistant professor in the department of biochemistry at the University of Washington.
At this time Neurath's department greatly emphasized protein chemistry and enzymology (enzymes are proteins that act as catalysts in biochemical reactions). Work in the Coris' laboratory had established that the enzyme phosphorylase existed in active and inactive forms, but what controlled its activity was unknown. Combining his experience on mammalian skeletal muscle phosphorylase with Edmond Fischer's experience with potato phosphorylase after Fischer joined the department, Krebs and Fischer teamed up to uncover the molecular mechanism by which phosphorylase makes energy available to a contracting muscle. What they discovered was reversible protein phosphorylation. An enzyme called protein kinase takes phosphate from adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the supplier of energy to cells, and adds it to inactive phosphorylase, changing the shape of the phosphorylase and consequently switching it on. Another enzyme, called protein phosphatase, reverses this process by removing the phosphate from phosphorylase, thus deactivating it. Protein kinases are present in all cells.
Once it became evident that reversible protein phosphorylation was a general process, the impact of Krebs and Fischer's work was immeasurable. Their collaboration opened the field of biochemical research and paved the way to much of the work done in the area of biotechnology and genetic engineering. Protein phosphorylation has even been posited as the basis of learning and memory. Medical applications have included development of the drug cyclosporin, which blocks the body's immune response by interfering with phosphorylation to prevent rejection of transplants. As important as what happens when the process functions normally is what happens when It goes awry: protein kinases are involved in almost 50 percent of cancer-causing oncogenes.
Recognition for Krebs' work came through various awards besides the Nobel Prize. In 1988 Krebs and Fischer shared the Passano Award for their research, and Krebs was one of four scientists to share the Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research in 1989. He was co-recipient of the Robert A. Welch Award in Chemistry in 1991, followed by the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine a year later. Besides concentrating his research on protein phosphorylation, Krebs has investigated signal transduction and carbohydrate metabolism.
In 1968 Krebs left the University of Washington to accept the position of founding chairman of the department of biological chemistry at the University of California in Davis. When he returned to Washington in 1977, he became chairman of the department of pharmacology. From 1977 until 1983, Krebs was associated with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute as well.
Besides concentrating his research on protein phosphorylation, Krebs has investigated signal transduction and carbohydrate metabolism.
J.S. Dunn Professor, Regental Professor
Director, Cell Signaling Center
Institute of Molecular Medicine
University of Texas
Dr. Murad received his M.D. and Ph.D. from Western Reserve University (later Case Western Reserve University) in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1965. In addition to his clinical practice, Murad taught pharmacology at the University of Virginia School of Medicine, Charlottesville (1975-81), Stanford University (1981-89) and Northwestern University (1988).
While at Stanford, he ventured into the private sector as a vice president of Abbott Laboratories (1988–92) and then became president of the Molecular Geriatrics Corporation (1993-95). He began teaching at the medical school of the University of Texas, Houston, in 1997.
In 1977, Murad showed that nitroglycerin and several related heart drugs induce the formation of nitric oxide and that the colorless, odorless gas acts to increase the diameter of blood vessels in the body. Furchgott and Ignarro built on this work. In 1980, Furchgott demonstrated that cells in the endothelium, or inner lining, of blood vessels produce an unknown signaling molecule, which he named endothelium-derived relaxing factor (EDRF). This molecule signals smooth muscle cells in blood vessel walls to relax, dilating the vessels.
Ignarro's research, conducted in 1986 and done independently of Furchgott's work, identified EDRF as nitric oxide. These discoveries led to the development of the anti-impotence drug sildenafil citrate (Viagra) and had the potential to unlock new approaches for understanding and treating other diseases.
Murad was also the recipient of the Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award in 1996 for his discovery. Murad and Ignarro collaborated on Nitric Oxide: Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Therapeutic Implications (1995).
Excellence Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, N.C.
Dr. Oliver Smithies, Excellence Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine, shared the 2007 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine with Mario Cappechi for their discoveries of principles for introducing specific gene modifications in mice by the use of embryonic stem cells. The achievement marked the pinnacle of a scientific career for Smithies, a UNC faculty member for 19 years, containing numerous honors and two major innovations that have fundamentally changed the science of genetic medicine and laid the foundation for today’s research into gene therapy. In particular, Dr. Smithies has used gene targeting to develop mouse models for diseases such as cystic fibrosis, thalassemia, hypertension and atherosclerosis.
In the mid-1980s, while at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, Smithies co-discovered a technique to introduce DNA material in cells, replicated a natural process called homologous DNA recombination. He thought that genetic disorders could be treated by correcting mutations in bone marrow cells, or stem cells. This “gene targeting” led to the creation of transgenic mice, or “designer mice,” that replicated human disease. Smithies’ lab produced the first animal model of cystic fibrosis, a disease caused by one defective gene, and also studied high blood pressure, atherosclerosis and other diseases.
This method also enabled scientists to study specific genes by creating “knock-out mice.” By targeting and removing, or knocking out, a specific gene, researchers can find out what happens when it’s missing. Smithies has used the analogy of removing a steering wheel from a car: without it you soon find out why it has a steering wheel. Now this research method is commonplace in biomedical research and has been the basis for thousands of published papers.
In the 1950s, while at Connaught Medical Research Laboratory in Toronto, Smithies greatly improved gel electrophoresis, a process of separating proteins to identify genes, using starch. The innovation simplified the procedure and became standard in laboratories.
Dr. Smithies’ innovations have revolutionized genetic research and advanced the effective treatment of many diseases, "and millions of people worldwide have better and longer lives because of the talent and determination he has brought to his work,” said UNC chancellor James Moeser. “For decades, he has embodied the very best of academic research and humanity through his modesty, good humor, creativity and love of invention. Through his example, hundreds of students and colleagues have learned how to help the world through research."
Born in 1925 in Yorkshire, England, Smithies as a young child was drawn to the idea of invention and enjoyed building telescopes and radios. He attended a high school for bright students and won a scholarship to Oxford University. He earned a bachelor of arts degree (first-class honors) in physiology from Oxford in 1946, and he went on to earn his master's degree and doctorate in biochemistry from Oxford in 1951.
Professor and Vice Chancellor for Research
University of Colorado, Denver
Dr. Richard J. Traystman is vice chancellor for research at the University of Colorado Denver. He is also professor of pharmacology at the School of Medicine. He has spent more than 35 years working on the regulation of brain blood vessels, cardiac arrest/cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and stroke.
Dr. Traystman received his B.S. and M.S. degrees from Long Island University in 1963 and 1966, respectively. He received his Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University Medical Center in 1971 and then did a post-doctoral fellowship at Bowman Gray School of Medicine. He returned to Johns Hopkins Medical Center in 1972 and remained there until 2003 as a Distinguished University Professor. In 2003, he was appointed associate vice president for research planning and development and associate dean for research at Oregon Health Science University. He was also professor of anesthesiology and perioperative medicine.
Dr. Traystman has received numerous distinguished awards from both clinical and basic science organizations for his work. He received the Laerdal Prize from the Society of Critical Care Medicine in 1991; the American Society of Anesthesiologists Excellence in Research Award in 1997; the Robert M. Berne Distinguished Lecturer Award from the Cardiovascular Section of the American Physiological Society in 1996; the Stuart C. Cullen Medal and Distinguished Lectureship Award from the University of California San Francisco in 1998; the Pharmacia-Upjohn Distinguished Lecturer Award from Emory University in 1999; the Hermann Rahn Distinguished Lecturer Award from the State University of New York at Buffalo in 2001; the Society of Critical Care Medicine Excellence in Research Award in 2003; and an honorary doctorate (Sc.D.) from his alma mater, Long Island University, in 1999.
Dr. Traystman has participated in Study Section Review Committees for the National Institutes of Health, American Heart Association and Veteran's Administration. He was associate editor for the American Journal of Physiology: Heart and Circulatory Section, and was deputy editor for Critical Care Medicine. He is presently editor-in-chief of the Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism.
Dr. Traystman also serves on the editorial boards of several other prestigious journals and reviews manuscripts for a multitude of journals. He has served on many AHA committees and has been a stroke fellow for many years. Dr. Traystman has published more than 450 articles in peer-reviewed journals, has trained more than 100 fellows and students, and has been funded by NIH throughout his career.
He is principal investigator of a Program Project Grant from NIH for more than 24 years and has had continuous NIH funding since 1971. Dr. Traystman has been involved in the regulation of the cerebral vasculature and in particular translational research, attempting to translate discoveries from animal, cell, and molecular models to humans with emphasis on normal and pathophysiological states. This work has encompassed the control of cerebral vessels via the nervous system, and hypoxia, to effects of occlusion of cerebral blood vessels (stroke) on brain pathology and neural functional behavior, to pathology resulting from cardiac arrest and cardiopulmonary resuscitation, to neuroprotection with a variety of pharmacological agents and methodologies. He has made major contributions to our understanding of how the brain and its circulation respond to clinical disease states such as stroke and cardiac arrest, and his work is striking for its breadth and application to the adult, neonate, and fetal brain.
Professor of Medicine and Physiology
University of Minnesota
Chief, Section of Cardiology
Veterans Administration Medical Center
Dr. Weir is a professor of medicine and integrative biology and physiology at the University of Minnesota. He was director of cardiac catheterization at the Minneapolis VA Medical Center from 1978 until 1999 and chief of cardiology from 2000 until January 2008.
For more than 35 years, his research has focused on the mechanisms by which oxygen is sensed in the body, particularly hypoxic pulmonary vasoconstriction (HPV), which is important in matching ventilation and perfusion in the lungs, and normoxic contraction of the ductus arteriosus. Failure to contract at birth leads to the common condition of patent ductus arteriosus.
In the 1970s most investigators looked for a vasoconstrictor substance formed during hypoxia that could cause HPV. Dr Weir proposed the alternative concept of "normoxic pulmonary vasodilatation" -- that there is a vasodilator factor active during normoxia. Together, with Dr. Stephen Archer, he developed the hypothesis that changes in oxygen tension alter vascular tone through redox changes in the smooth muscle cells. They were the first to show that hypoxia inhibits potassium channels in the smooth muscle cells of the pulmonary arteries, while normoxia inhibits potassium channels in the ductus. In both cases membrane depolarization and calcium entry follows potassium channel inhibition.
The study of ion channels led to his observation that the anorectic drugs aminorex and dexfenfluramine, which caused outbreaks of pulmonary hypertension, also inhibit voltage-gated potassium channels in pulmonary artery smooth muscle. Subsequent studies in many laboratories have demonstrated the importance of potassium channel function and expression in virtually every animal model of pulmonary hypertension and in idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension.
Dr. Weir holds degrees from Oxford University, B.A. (physiology), B.M., BCh. (medical degree) and D.M. (doctorate). He completed his residency/fellowship in internal medicine/cardiology at the Radcliffe Infirmary, Oxford; Hammersmith Hospital, London; and Groote Schuur Hospital, Cape Town, with professors Paul Beeson, John Goodwin and Val Schrire. His research fellowship was at the CVP Laboratory of the University of Colorado, as a Fulbright scholar, under the mentorship of Drs. Jack Reeves and Bob Grover. He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians (London) and received a Fogarty International Fellowship in 1993.
Together, with Dr .Jack Reeves, he initiated the Grover Conferences on the Pulmonary Circulation in 1984, which continue today. He has been an editor of eleven books on the pulmonary circulation. Between 1999 and 2001 Dr. Weir was chair of the AHA Council on Cardiopulmonary and Critical Care.
2007 Distinguished Scientists
University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine
Iowa City, Iowa
Dr. Abboud is internationally recognized for his discovery that the heart plays a major role as a neurosensory organ, a finding that has advanced scientific understanding about autonomic control of circulation. As a result, biomedical researchers know more about the interplay between the nervous system and the heart, and doctors can better treat heart disease, obstructive sleep apnea, hypertension and neurocardiogenic syncope. Dr. Abboud is widely known for pioneering the use of multidisciplinary teams in cardiovascular research -- "a visionary paradigm shift" for the field. Dr. Abboud is the Edith King Pearson Chair of Cardiovascular Research. He directs an interdisciplinary cardiovascular research training program and a Program Project Grant on Integrative Functions in Neurovascular Control, now in its 32nd year. He has been director of the Cardiovascular Research Center since 1974. Dr. Abboud has served as president of several leading national organizations, including the American Heart Association, the Association of American Physicians, the Central Society for Clinical Research, and the American Federation for Clinical Research. Dr. Abboud is the recipient of numerous awards, including the prestigious CIBA Award for Hypertension Research conferred by the American Heart Association, and is former editor-in-chief of Circulation Research.
University of California, San Francisco
San Francisco, Calif.
Dr. Coughlin's cardiovascular research discovered how thrombin, an enzyme that causes blood to clot, works on the cellular level. In the process, he identified a new family of receptors that are broadly involved in a number of biological processes and have important implications for the development of novel treatments for diseases and pathologic events in which thrombosis plays an important role, including heart attacks and many strokes. His discoveries led to a greater understanding of platelets and clot formation. Dr. Coughlin is the recipient of numerous honors and awards. In 2004 he won the Bristol Myers Squibb Cardiovascular Research Award and he was elected to the National Academy of Science. He joined the Cardiovascular Research Institute at the University of California, San Francisco in 1984 as a postdoctoral fellow and joined the faculty in 1986. He was named professor of medicine in 1996 and was appointed professor of cellular and molecular pharmacology, as well as director of the Cardiovascular Research Institute in 1997.
Harvard Medical School
Dr. Gimbrone is the Elsie T. Freidman Professor of Pathology at Harvard Medical School, director of the Center for Excellence in Vascular Biology and chairman of the Department of Pathology at the Brigham & Women's Hospital in Boston, Mass. His research focuses on the mechanisms of vascular disease, in particular the role of the endothelial cell in complex disease processes such as atherosclerosis, thrombosis and inflammation. He was among the first to establish reproducible methods for the in vitro culture of endothelium and smooth muscle from human blood vessels and to use the tools of modern cell biology and molecular biology to dissect their functions in health and disease. He is a past-president of the American Society for Investigative Pathology and the founding president of the North American Vascular Biology Organization. His seminal contributions to the field of vascular biology have been recognized by the Warner-Lambert Parke Davis Award in Experimental Pathology (FASEB), an Established Investigator Award and the Basic Research Prize from the American Heart Association and the Cardiovascular Research Lifetime Achievement Award from the Bristol-Myers Squibb Institute. Dr. Gimbrone is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Institute of Medicine.
Professor of Internal Medicine and Molecular Genetics
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
Dr. Hobbs is interested in defining the genetic factors responsible for differences in blood cholesterol levels. She has discovered genetic defects causing both very high and low plasma levels of cholesterol. Her characterization of these defective genes has provided insights into cholesterol metabolism and identified new drug targets for the treatment of elevated levels of plasma cholesterol, the major risk factor for atherosclerosis and heart disease.
Dr. Hobbs is a professor of internal medicine and molecular genetics at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. She graduated from Stanford University and earned her M.D. from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. She received her clinical training as an internist and endocrinologist at Columbia-Presbyterian and at UT Southwestern. In her work she has used human genetics to elucidate key pathways in cholesterol and lipoprotein trafficking. Her major contributions, together with Jonathan Cohen, include the discovery of the molecular basis for the variation in the plasma levels of the atherogenic lipoprotein Lp(a) and the defective genes causing two autosomal recessive forms of severe hypercholesterolemia: sitosterolemia (ABCG5 or ABCG8) and autosomal recessive hypercholesterolemia (ARH). She showed that ABCG5 and ABCG8 limit intestinal absorption and promote biliary excretion of dietary sterols and that the adaptor protein ARH is required for efficient clearance of LDL from plasma. She found that loss-of-function mutations in PCSK9 are present in more than 2 percent of African Americans and that these alleles are associated with reduced plasma levels of LDL and protection from coronary atherosclerosis. She has provided evidence that sequence variations with major effects collectively contribute significantly to plasma levels of HDL and LDL. Most recently, she has used population-based resequencing to identify new genes and sequence variations that contribute to inter-individual variability in levels of triglycerides and HDL. She is a member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation, the Association of American Physicians, the Institute of Medicine, American Heart Association and Academy of Arts and Sciences . She received the Heinrich Wieland Prize for metabolism research and the American Heart Association Clinical Research Prize.
2006 Distinguished Scientists
Frederick Henry Leonhardt Professor
New York, N.Y.
Jan L. Breslow heads the Laboratory of Biochemical Genetics and Metabolism at The Rockefeller University, where he investigates genetic and environmental factors involved in atherosclerosis susceptibility.
Over the past 25 years, Dr. Breslow has identified many of the genes that control the transport of cholesterol and other fats through the bloodstream and has shown that some forms of these genes predispose individuals to atherosclerosis, while others protect against the disease. His creation of the apolipoprotein E knockout mouse provided the first good small animal model of atherosclerosis and has opened up many new experimental approaches for the study of this disease.
In recent years, Dr. Breslow has applied genomic techniques to mouse models to identify new sets of genes that act in the immune system and in the blood vessel wall to control atherosclerosis susceptibility, as well as genes that influence a person’s response to high cholesterol diets.
Dr. Breslow received A.B. and M.A. degrees from Columbia University and an M.D. from Harvard Medical School. He completed an internship and residency in pediatrics at Children’s Hospital Medical Center in Boston, and was then a staff associate at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, before returning to Harvard and Children’s Hospital in 1973.
He joined The Rockefeller University in 1984, where he holds the Frederick Henry Leonhardt Professorship. A member of the National Academy of Sciences and its Institute of Medicine, Dr. Breslow is a former president of the American Heart Association.
His numerous honors include the American Academy of Pediatrics E. Mead Johnson Award, the Heinrich Wieland Prize in Lipid Research, the American Heart Association Basic Research Prize, the Pasarow Foundation Cardiovascular Research Award, the Bristol-Myers Squibb Award for Cardiovascular Research, and the New York City Mayor’s Award for Excellence in Science and Technology.
Medical College of Wisconsin
Dr. Gross received his Ph.D. in pharmacology from the University of Utah in 1971. Dr. Gross joined the faculty at the Medical College of Wisconsin in 1973 and was promoted to professor in 1980. He has been a continuously NIH-funded investigator for the past 33 years.
His major area of research concerns mechanisms by which endogenous substances released by the heart can protect the myocardium during ischemia and/or reperfusion, a phenomenon termed ischemic preconditioning (IPC). In this regard, Dr. Gross's laboratory was the first to demonstrate that the ATP-sensitive potassium channel was a critical trigger and effector of IPC. This breakthrough has been repeated by a number of investigators and remains one of the key components of this remarkable cardioprotective phenomenon.
Dr. Gross's was also the first laboratory to identify a role for endogenous opioids in triggering and mediating the cardioprotective effects of acute or delayed IPC and that exogenous opioids such as morphine also possessed potent cardioprotective properties mediated via KATP channel opening.
Most recently, he was awarded an NIH MERIT Award in which he uncovered a new endogenous cardioprotective pathway that appears to be mediated by CYP 450 isoforms in the heart.
Over the past 33 years Dr. Gross's work has resulted in approximately 400 full-length peer reviewed journal articles, reviews and book chapters. Dr Gross has been an invited speaker at more than 80 universities and pharmaceutical companies. He has mentored 15 Ph.D. students and 10 postdoctoral fellows, 95 percent of whom were funded by fellowships from the American Heart Association.
Dr. Gross is a reviewer for all the leading cardiovascular journals including Circulation Research, Cardiovascular Research and Circulation. He also serves on the editorial board of eight journals and has been an associate editor of the American Journal of Physiology for the past eight years.
Dr. Gross is a Fellow of the American Heart Association, a founding Fellow of the International Society of Heart Research and is a member of the American Society of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics and the American Physiological Society.
Professor of Medicine and Public Health
Boston University School of Medicine
Dr. Kannel, a summa cum laude graduate of the Medical College of Georgia (1949), trained in internal medicine in the U.S. Public Health Service in New York and was certified in 1958
He became a fellow of the American College of Cardiology in 1969, the American Heart Association (1966), American College of Epidemiology (1981), and American College of Preventive Medicine (1984).
He has been active in cardiovascular epidemiology for more than 50 years, associated with the Framingham Study since its inception in 1950. In 1996 he became its director, succeeding Dr. Thomas R. Dawber, the original architect of the world famous study.
He also received a master's degree in public health and epidemiology cum laude from Harvard in 1959.
He was associated with the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) for over 35 years and has a long and abiding interest in preventive cardiology, for which he received numerous awards including the Canadian Gairdner Award (1976), Bruce Memorial Award of the ACP (1982), Dana Award(1986), Dutch Einthoven Award (1973), AHA Research Achievement Award (1994), and New York Academy of Medicine Award (2006).
Dr. Kannel has also received honorary medical degrees from Gothenberg Sweden, University of Rio De Janiero, and Medical College of Ohio (Doctor of Science).
He was past chairman of the AHA Council of Epidemiology and chief of the Department of Preventive Medicine and Epidemiology of Boston University School of Medicine. Dr. Kannel is professor of medicine and public health at Boston University School of Medicine and a senior investigator at the Framingham Study.
Dwight and Vera Dunlevie
Professor of Pediatric Cardiology
Director of Cardiopulmonary Research Program at Wall Center
Stanford University School of Medicine
A graduate of McGill University Medical School in 1971, Dr. Rabinovitch completed internship and residency at the University of Colorado Medical Center in 1973, worked for the Ministry of Health in Israel from 1973-74 and completed her fellowship in pediatric cardiology at Harvard Medical School, Children's Hospital Medical Center in 1977. She is board certified in pediatric cardiology in the United States and Canada.
Dr. Rabinovitch was appointed assistant professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, and relocated in 1982, as associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Toronto. She was subsequently appointed professor of pediatrics in laboratory medicine and pathobiology, and of medicine at the University of Toronto, and director of cardiovascular research at the Research Institute, Hospital for Sick Children, from 1988 until her recruitment to Stanford in 2002.
An international leader in the fields of pulmonary vascular development and vascular biology, Dr. Rabinovitch authored more than 130 peer-reviewed articles and 90 reviews. She was recognized with numerous prestigious awards, most recently, the AHA 2005 Dickinson Richards Lecture, the AHA 2004 Basic Science Research Prize, and the 2004 Canadian Institutes for Health Research, Institute for Circulatory and Respiratory Health Lectureship and Prize.
Previous awards include:
- McGill University Cushing Memorial Award in Pediatrics (1971)
- Canadian Cardiovascular Society Research Achievement Award (1994)
- American Physiological Society Julius Comroe Lectureship (1996)
- Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada Award of Merit (1999)
- Canadian Institutes of Health Research Distinguished Scientist Award (2000)
- AHA Paul Dudley White Lectureship (2002)
- 2003 Gill Heart Institute (University of Kentucky) Award for Outstanding Contributions to Cardiovascular Research
Chairman, Dept. of Physiology and Biophysics
Professor of Physiology and Biophysics,
Biochemistry and Medicine
Boston University School of Medicine
Dr. Donald M. Small was born in Newton, Mass. in 1931 and moved to California as a young boy. He attended Occidental College, graduating in 1954, and went on to UCLA Medical School, graduating in 1960. He attended Oxford University as a Marshall Scholar and obtained a masters in physiology.
After a residency in internal medicine in Boston, he spent two and a half years studying biophysics of lipids and proteins at the Pasteur Institute in Paris, France. There, he began his studies on the physical chemistry of cholesterol and its interaction with membrane lipids and bile salts.
These studies led to a hypothesis for the formation of bile and predicted the abnormalities leading to biliary cholesterol supersaturation and gallstone formation. Dr. Small and his students studied bile formation and composition in animals and humans and determined that cholesterol supersaturation was a result of diminished bile salt secretion and/or increased cholesterol secretion leading to abnormal bile, which when nucleated formed cholesterol crystals, then grew into gallstones.
Turning to liver secretion in the plasma, he began the study of lipoproteins and atherosclerosis model systems of lipid in lipoproteins and atherosclerotic deposits to generate theories of lipoprotein structure and cholesterol deposition in the process of atherogenesis. Later with colleagues, he showed the changes in the physical behavior of lipid deposits as atherosclerosis regressed. These studies formed the basis for the deposition of lipids in atherosclerotic plaques and how they evolve during progression and regression.
Dr. Small founded the Biophysics Department at Boston University School of Medicine in 1988 and later chaired the Physiology and Biophysics Department until July 2006.
He is the author of more than 300 scientific articles and one major book, “The Physical Chemistry of Lipids.”
He received The American Gastroenterology Association’s Beaumont Prize and was the George Lyman Duff Memorial Lecture of the American Heart Association in 1986.
Dr. Small has three sons and four grandchildren and continues to be active in the lab. He is an avid skier and outdoorsman.
Professor of Public Health (Epidemiology & Biostatistics)
Research Professor of Medicine (Preventive Medicine & Epidemiology)
Professor of Public Health (Epidemiology & Biostatistics)
BU School of Public Health
Principal Investigator, The Framingham Study
Boston University School of Medicine
Dr. Wolf received his medical degree from the State University of New York, at Syracuse, cum laude in 1960 and was elected to Alpha Omega Alpha.
He trained in medicine at Boston City Hospital and at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital, and in neurology and neuropathology at the Massachusetts General Hospital. He also trained in epidemiology at the University of Pennsylvania.
He is professor of neurology and research professor of medicine (epidemiology and preventive medicine) at Boston University School of Medicine, and professor of public health.
He has been a Framingham Study investigator since 1967 and has been PI of the Framingham Heart Study Contract from NHLBI to Boston University since 1989.
His research interest has been in the epidemiology of stroke, dementia and cognitive decline.
He was chief of the Stroke Section at Boston University from 1969 to 2000 and participated in many clinical and therapeutic trials of stroke including the NINDS Stroke Data Bank.
He is a member of the Stroke and Epidemiology & Disease Prevention councils of the AHA, having served on the Executive Committees of both, and was a member of the Science Affairs Council of the AHA.
Dr. Wolf is PI of an R01 Precursors of Stroke Incidence and Prognosis continuously funded by NINDS since 1981, and of two R01’s from the NIA: Epidemiology of Dementia since 1989, and MRI, Genetic & Cognitive Precursors of AD & Dementia funded since 1999.
He received the Jacob A. Javits Neuroscience Investigator Award from the NINDS, the Award for Excellence in Clinical Stroke of the AHA Stroke Council and delivered the Connor Memorial Lecture. He also received the Mihara Award of the International Stroke Society (1996) and ASA New England Chapter’s C. Miller Fisher Award (2000).
He is a member of numerous societies, including the American Neurological Association, American Epidemiologic Society and the American Academy of Neurology.
2005 Distinguished Scientists
Distinguished Professor of Medicine
Krannert Institute of Cardiology
Dr. Harvey Feigenbaum is widely recognized as one of the pioneers in echocardiography and has been a leading scientist in this field for decades. He is a visionary, one of the first to understand the potential of ultrasound in cardiovascular medicine, and was one of the first to appreciate the role that echocardiography could play in expanding our knowledge of the pathophyisiology of ischemic heart disease.
Dr. Feigenbaum was born and raised in East Chicago, Ind. He graduated with honors from Indiana University undergraduate and medical schools, and interned at Philadelphia General Hospital. He returned to IU for residency and fellowship. In 1962 became an instructor at IU Medical School and rose to distinguished professor in 1980. Investigational interests were initially in electrophysiology and then cardiac catheterization and hemodynamics. In 1963 he saw an advertisement claiming that ultrasound could measure cardiac volume. The ad was a sham, but diagnostic ultrasound was intriguing. Although there was great skepticism toward new cardiac tests following failures such as ballistocardiography and the fact that cardiac ultrasound had been around for about 10 years without much clinical enthusiasm, he used it to detect pericardial effusion. This application became the world’s first practical, popular use of echocardiography. His laboratory subsequently developed many more applications. Other echocardiography contributions included training many early pioneers and the first cardiac sonographers, organizing the first and numerous other courses, writing the first textbook with multiple editions and translations, founding the American Society of Echocardiography and later serving as its journal’s first editor.
Dr. Feigenbaum truly shaped the face of echocardiography, as we now know it, and is regarded internationally as the "Father of Echocardiography."
Otho S.A. Sprague Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus
University of Chicago
Harry Fozzard is a cardiologist and cardiac electrophysiologist who has focused on mechanisms of sudden cardiac death, the sodium, calcium, and potassium channels underlying the cardiac action potential, and excitation-contraction coupling. His research has helped lay the foundations for modern clinical electrophysiology. After graduating from Washington University Medical School in 1956, he trained in internal medicine and cardiology at Yale and at Barnes Hospital. He learned cellular cardiac electrophysiology and developed a voltage clamp for cardiac cells in Silvio Weidmann’s lab in Bern, Switzerland. Appalled by the death rate from acute myocardial infarction, he established the first coronary care unit at Barnes Hospital in 1965 and with engineering colleagues developed a digital computer system for real-time arrhythmia monitoring. In 1966 he moved to the University of Chicago, where he was responsible for the computer division of its Myocardial Infarction Research Unit. Using the voltage clamp, he and colleagues demonstrated the complex dependence of cardiac contraction on membrane depolarization and calcium current. His lab perfected ion-selective microelectrodes for monitoring intact cells, characterizing the role of Na/Ca exchange and the calcium channel in regulating intracellular calcium. More recently, he has led the development of structure-function of the cloned cardiac sodium channel, exploiting molecular modeling and mutation to guide and understand function. His laboratory is in its 44th year of NIH support. During this long career he has mentored in his lab 60 Ph.D. and M.D./Ph.D. candidates, postdoctoral fellows and scientists on sabbatical, and has taught on the wards and in medical, graduate and college courses.
He led Chicago’s Cardiology program with Leon Resnekov for 10 years before becoming chairman of the University’s Pharmacological & Physiological Sciences Department. He served the NIH as chairman of the Physiology study section and as author of the proposal for the BHAT trial. He was the American Heart Association’s 1981-83 vice-president for research, and from 1986-91 editor-in-chief of Circulation Research. Dr. Fozzard is a world leader in cardiac electrophysiology whose research is distinguished by its innovativeness, rigor, sophistication and broad impact.
Director, Center for Human Nutrition and Chair, Dept of Clinical Nutrition
University Texas Southwestern Medical Center Dallas, Texas
Dr. Scott M. Grundy is the director of the Center for Human Nutrition and chairman of the Department of Clinical Nutrition at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. He's also chief of the metabolic unit, Veterans Affairs Medical Center, in Dallas, Texas. He is also the Distinguished Professor of Internal Medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas. Previously, he was on the faculty at the University of California, San Diego, the National Institutes of Health Phoenix Clinical Research Unit, the Rockefeller University, New York City, and Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. Dr. Grundy received his M.D. degree from Baylor College of Medicine and his Ph.D. from the Rockefeller University.
Dr. Grundy has been a member of, or chaired, several American Heart Association committees, including the Arteriosclerosis Council, Nutrition Committee, Task Force on Risk Reduction, and Task Force on Cholesterol. He chairs the Adult Treatment Panel of the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) and is a member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation, the American Association of Physicians, and the National Academies of Sciences (Institute of Medicine).
Dr. Grundy received The Award of Merit from the American Heart Association in 1983. He gave the Lydia J. Roberts Memorial Lecture in Chicago in 1988 and the George Lyman Duff Lecture at the 1990 AHA meeting in Dallas. In 1990, he was awarded an honorary degree in medicine from the University of Helsinki, Finland. In 1994, he received the Roger J. Williams Award in preventive nutrition. He was made a member of the National Academies Institute of Medicine in 1996, and in 1997 and 1998 he received the Bristol Myers Squibb Award for Distinguished Achievement in Nutrition Research and the American Society for Clinical Nutrition's E.V. McCollum award, respectively.
Dr. Grundy's major research areas are in nutrition and cholesterol and lipoprotein metabolism. He has published over 300 original papers, and numerous solicited articles and chapters. Notable research achievements include the development of methods for measuring cholesterol balance and biliary lipid secretion in humans, identifying the metabolic causes of cholesterol gallstones, defining effects of saturated and unsaturated fats, especially monounsaturated fatty acids, on cholesterol and lipoprotein metabolism, uncovering genetic defects underlying elevated blood cholesterol and other lipid disorders, identifying metabolic defects of elevated blood cholesterol, high triglycerides, and low HDL (the good cholesterol), hypoalphalipoproteinemia, and defining mechanisms of action of several lipid-lowering drugs, notably fibrates and HMG CoA reductase inhibitors (statins).
Dr. Grundy is an internationally recognized leader in human lipid lipoprotein metabolism, dedicated to providing the kind of scientifically well-founded guidance and guidelines to the PHS, professional organizations, practicing generalists, and the public as a whole. His research is remarkable for its extraordinary breadth, for its elegance, and most importantly, for the tremendous impact it has had on our understanding of clinically important factors affecting lipoprotein metabolism.
Sterling Professor of Genetics
Chair, Department. of Genetics
Yale University School of Medicine
New Haven, Conn.
Dr. Richard P. Lifton is Sterling Professor and chair of the Department of Genetics at Yale. He's also professor of internal medicine. He received his B.A. from Dartmouth, M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from Stanford, and completed clinical training at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Dr. Lifton’s laboratory has coupled the clinical investigation of families from around the world with human genetics to identify genes and biochemical pathways that underlie common diseases, with a focus on hypertension. His laboratory has identified mutations in eight genes that markedly elevate blood pressure and another 8 that lower blood pressure. The effects of these mutations converge on a single final common pathway -- renal salt handling -- and unequivocally demonstrate the impact of altered renal salt reabsorption on blood pressure. These studies provide fundamental understanding of the pathogenesis of hypertension, identify novel therapeutic targets, and have implications for the treatment of this common disease.
Dr. Lifton has received multiple awards for his pioneering work on the genetic basis of hypertension, including the Novartis Award, the highest award of the AHA Council for High Blood Pressure Research; the Pasarow Foundation Award for Medical Research; the Richard Bright Award of the American Society of Hypertension; the Basic Research Award of the AHA; and the Roy O. Greep Award of the Endocrine Society.
Dr. Lifton is an internationally renowned clinical-scientist who has made major discoveries on monogenic causes of hypertension and hypotension. His research has been systematic, novel and exceedingly useful to an understanding of the causes of primary hypertension.
Chief, Cardiovascular and Bioprosthetic Research and Tenured Professor
UTHSC San Antonio
San Antonio, Texas
Dr. Palmaz has 20 issued patents and is the author of 29 books or book chapters and has authored 101 peer-reviewed publications. He is a member of the editorial board for Circulation and is a scientific reviewer for several other journals, including the Journal of Vascular Surgery and the Journal of Vascular, Interventional Radiology and the Journal of Cardiovascular Radiology. For two years in a row, his patent on the balloon-expandable stent was recognized as one of the "Ten patents that changed the world" published in IP International Magazine in August 2002. His early stent research artifacts are now part of the medical collection of the Smithsonian Institutions.
In January 2003 Palmaz received the Presidential Distinguished Scholar Award from the University of Texas San Antonio. He received the title of "Master of Interventional Cardiology" from the Argentina College of Cardiology, And "Extraordinary Professor" from the National University of La Plata, Argentina. He also received honorary titles or awards from the International Society of Endovascular Surgery, the Society of Interventional Radiology, the German Roentgen Society, The Rotterdam Thoraxcenter in Holland, the Washington Cardiovascular Research Foundation, the Society of Cardiac Angiography, the Texas Heart Institute, the Texas Bar Association, the San Antonio chapter of the AHA, the Miami Cardiac and Vascular Institute, the Cardiovascular Institute of the South, and the Surfaces i
Dr. Palmaz is chief of cardiovascular and bioprosthetic research and tenured professor at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, Texas. He received his MD degree in 1971 at the National University of La Plata, Argentina, and completed his radiology specialty training at the University of California, Davis in 1980.
Dr. Palmaz began his professional career in 1974 at San Martin University Hospital in Argentina, and was chief of special procedures at Martinez Veterans Administration hospital in 1981. In 1983, Dr. Palmaz joined the University of Texas Health Sciences Department of Radiology as chief of angn Biomaterials Foundation.
Chair, Department of Cell Biology and Molecular Medicine
Head, Cardiovascular Research Institute
UMDNJ Newark, N.J.
Dr. Vatner is professor and chair of the Department of Cell Biology and Molecular Medicine and director of the Cardiovascular Research Institute at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey in the New Jersey Medical School. After Dr. Vatner received his M.D. and clinical and research training, he was appointed assistant professor at the University of California at San Diego in 1969. In 1972 he moved to Harvard Medical School and rose to professor of medicine. Dr. Vatner’s scientific findings are documented in more than 400 peer-reviewed scientific publications.
Since 1972, he has trained more than 75 postdoctoral research fellows, including more than 20 who now hold full professorships. He was editor-in-chief of the American Heart Association journal Circulation Research from 1991-99. He chaired the AHA Council on Circulation from 1990-92 and was instrumental in effecting its merger with the Council on Basic Science. Most notably, he and the late Dr. Mel Marcus, who followed Dr. Vatner as program committee chair for the former Council on Circulation, were instrumental in developing a new young scientist award, known as the Melvin L. Marcus Young Investigator Award in Cardiovascular Science. Later, Dr. Vatner developed and acquired funding for an intermediate-level scientist award, the Basic Research Council on Circulation Cardiovascular Research Prize.
Dr. Vatner has numerous honors and awards, including the Scientific Councils’ Distinguished Achievement Award of the Association in 1998, the George E. Brown Lecturer in 1986, the 1995 Wiggers Award of the American Physiology Society, the National Institute of Health Merit Award, and the American Heart Association Research Achievement Award.
Dr. Vatner has been and continues to be one of the most dynamic, productive and respected cardiovascular scientists of our time.
2004 Distinguished Scientists
Professor and Chairman
Medical College of Wisconsin
Dr. Cowley’s research has focused on the study of high blood pressure to create ways to bring about a meaningful convergence of the genetic and physiological responses to environmental perturbations. Over the past decade this research has been directed toward elucidating genetic and physiological pathways that determine the function of the kidney, blood vessels and endocrine systems that influence blood pressure. This work with his colleagues culminated in the first comprehensive systems biology map of cardiovascular function published in Science in 2001. Dr. Cowley has served as the chairman of the Council for High Blood Pressure Research of the AHA and as the president of American Physiological Society. He is the current president of the International Union of Physiological Sciences. He is the chairman of the Department of Physiology and director of the NIH Specialized Center for Hypertension Research at the Medical College of Wisconsin.
Chairman, Dept. of Medicine
Director of Research, Dept. of Medicine
Brigham & Women’s Hospital
Victor J. Dzau, M.D., is professor of medicine and director of Molecular and Genomic Vascular Biology at Duke University School of Medicine. He was appointed chancellor for Health Affairs at Duke University effective July 1, 2004. From 1996-2004, Dr. Dzau was the Hersey Professor of the Theory and Practice of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, chairman of the Department of Medicine and director of Research at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. Dr. Dzau's academic interests are in cardiovascular translational research. His laboratory pioneered the concept of tissue angiolensin in cardiovascular disease. Recently, he used gene transfer and genetic modification of stem cells to develop novel therapies. He has received the AHA Scientific Council’s Distinguished Achievement Award, the Novartis Award of the Council of High Blood Pressure Research and the Polter Prize in Biomedical Science of the European Academy of Science and Arts. Dr. Dzau is a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Science. He served on the Advisory Committee to the director of the NIH and was a founding member of the Society of Vascular Medicine and Biology, and the founding editor in chief for the American Physiological Society's journal, Physiological Genomics.
CEO VCU Health System Authority
Vice President for Health Services
Dr Kontos was born on the island of Cyprus. He came to the United States in 1959. He graduated from the University of Athens School of Medicine in 1958. He also received a Ph.D. in physiology from the Medical College of Virginia (MCV). After internship, residency in medicine and fellowship in cardiopulmonary research, he joined the faculty of MCV, which in 1968 became a component of Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). Since 1972 he has been professor of internal medicine at VCU. He held several administrative positions at VCU, including chairman of the Division of Cardiopulmonary Research; chairman of the Division of Cardiology; chairman of the Departments of Pathology and of Internal Medicine; dean of the School of Medicine; vice president for Health Sciences; and CEO of the VCU Health System. He recently retired from his administrative responsibilities. Dr Kontos served as president of the AHA Virginia Affiliate and chaired the AHA Stroke Council. He authored more than 200 original publications, reviews and chapters. His research was in the physiology and pathophysiology of the cerebral microcirculation and especially in the role of free radicals in ischemia, hypertension and brain trauma. He received many honors including: Fellowship from the World Health Organization; Scholarship in Academic Medicine from the Markle Foundation; the Eugene M. Landis award from the Microcirculatory Society; the A. Ross McIntyre award from the University of Nebraska; Distinguished Achievement award from AHA; the Carl J. Wiggers award from the cardiovascular section of the American Physiological Society. He delivered the George E. Brown lecture in 1984 and the Thomas Willis lecture in 2001. Two of Dr. Kontos' sons are cardiologists, Michael at VCU, and Chris at Duke University.
Professor of Pediatrics and Epidemiology
University of Iowa College of Medicine
Iowa City, Iowa In 1954 Dr. Lauer graduated from the University of Manitoba with a B.Sc. and M.D.. His residencies in pediatrics were in the Winnipeg Children’s Hospital, the Sheffield Children’s Hospital (England) and Buffalo Children’s Hospital. He had several fellowships in pediatric cardiology: Buffalo Children’s Hospital, Mayo Clinic (Minnesota), and the Hospital for Sick Children (Toronto).
From 1970 to the present, he has been professor of pediatrics and epidemiology at the University of Iowa. He has trained many fellows in pediatric cardiology who now hold academic jobs. In 1971, he established the Muscatine Study, a longitudinal study of the origins of atherosclerosis and hypertension beginning in childhood funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. The Muscatine Study continues to examine the relationship of childhood risk factors to the early manifestations of atherosclerosis in young adults. Dr. Lauer chaired the Expert Panel on Blood Cholesterol in Children and Adolescents of the National Cholesterol Education Program of the U.S National Institutes of Health (NIH). He served as the principal investigator of the Iowa portion of the Dietary Intervention Study in Children (DISC), a controlled trial of lower fat diets in hypercholesterolemic children. He has served as chairman of Epidemiology Study Section 1 of the NIH. He was the principal investigator of an NIH-funded Specialized Center in Congenital Heart Disease, and also a study of cardiovascular disease risk factors beginning in a population of school age children and adolescents in Muscatine Iowa.
Director, Whitaker Cardiovascular Institute
Boston University School of Medicine
Dr. Loscalzo is the Wade Professor and chairman of the Department of Medicine and director of the Whitaker Cardiovascular Institute at Boston University School of Medicine. He is a summa cum laude graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, where he also obtained his M.D. and Ph.D. in biochemistry in 1977. He trained in internal medicine and cardiology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, after which he was appointed to the hospital staff and Harvard Medical School faculty. After 10 years on the Harvard faculty, Dr. Loscalzo moved to Boston University first as chief of cardiology, and in February 1997 chair of medicine. Author of over 450 articles and 20 books, he is internationally recognized for his work on the vascular biology of nitric oxide, platelet function and atherothrombosis. He is immediate past chair of the Board of Scientific Counselors of the NHLBI and the Cardiovascular Board of the American Board of Internal Medicine, and current director of the NHLBI-sponsored Specialized Center of Research in Ischemic Heart Disease at Boston University. He is also editor-in-chief of Circulation.
Professor of Medicine, Chief of Cardiology
Johns Hopkins University
Eduardo Marbán’s professional career is dedicated to understanding disorders of cardiac rhythm and pump function, and to developing novel treatments based upon fundamental insights into mechanism. A native of Havana, Cuba, Dr. Marbán came to this country with his parents at age 6 as a political refugee. He earned his B.S. in mathematics from Wilkes College in Pennsylvania, and then attended the Yale University School of Medicine in a combined MD/PhD program. Dr Marbán was an intern and medical resident on the Osler service at the Johns Hopkins Hospital, and then completed his cardiology fellowship there. Appointed to the Johns Hopkins University faculty as assistant professor in the Department of Medicine in 1985, Dr Marbán reached the rank of professor in 1991. In 1998, Dr Marbán became director of the newly-established Johns Hopkins Institute of Molecular Cardiobiology, an inter-departmental program designed to foster fundamental research into the workings of the heart. Dr Marbán was honored as the first faculty member, in 1998, to occupy the Michel Mirowski Professorship in Cardiology. This endowed chair honors Dr. Mirowski, the inventor of the automatic implantable defibrillator. In 2003, Dr Marbán became the chief of cardiology at Johns Hopkins; he also directs the Donald W. Reynolds Cardiovascular Clinical Research Center at Johns Hopkins, a $24 million, four-year program focused on identifying novel risk factors for sudden cardiac death.
Dr Marbán has received the Basic Research Prize of the American Heart Association (AHA), the Research Achievement Award of the International Society for Heart Research, and the Distinguished Service Award of the Council on Basic Cardiovascular Sciences of the AHA. He serves as editor-in-chief of Circulation Research, the world’s leading journal of cardiovascular investigation. In his research, Dr Marbán has made several discoveries that have translated into patents (five issued, six pending). These are in the fields of gene therapy, particularly for the treatment of cardiac arrhythmias, and drug treatments for heart disease and stroke. Dr Marbán’s inventions have formed the basis for two startup companies (Paralex, subsequently acquired by Cardiome Pharma and Excigen). One of his inventions has already led to the testing of a novel treatment for heart failure in human clinical trials.
Professor of Interventional Radiology and Director of Research
Oregon Health and Sciences University
Professor and director of research at the Dotter Interventional Institute of Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) in Portland, he received his medical degree and started his angiographic career in Prague, Czech Republic. In 1967, he moved to the United States on the invitation of Dr. Charles Dotter and has worked at OHSU since. Dr. Rösch’s research work has covered a wide range of vascular and interventional radiology including development of the TIPS technique and introduction of embolization treatment of GI hemorrhage. Dr. Rösch has published 451 scientific papers and book chapters, two books and 14 teaching films/videos/CDs. Rösch is an honorary fellow or member of several U.S. and foreign societies and has received many awards. These include four gold medals of the U.S., European and Japanese radiologic societies, Lifetime Achievement Awards from CIRSE and the AHA Scientific Council’s Distinguished Achievement Award.
Feinberg School of Medicine
Jeremiah Stamler, M.D., first chair of the Department of Preventive Medicine, received his undergraduate degree from Columbia University in New York in 1940 and M.D. degree from the State University of New York in 1943.
Dr. Stamler's association with Northwestern's Feinberg School of Medicine began in 1958, when he joined the Department of Medicine; from 1959 to 1965 he was an assistant professor in the department, becoming a full professor in 1972. That same year Dr. Stamler was named professor and chair of the newly created Department of Community Health and Preventive Medicine. He served as chair until 1986, and as professor until 1990, when he became emeritus professor. From 1973-90 Dr. Stamler held the distinguished position of Dingman Professor of Cardiology at the Medical School; from 1973-85 he also served as chairman of the Department of Community Health and Preventive Medicine at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.
2003 Distinguished Scientists
New York Medical College
Council on Basic Cardiovascular Sciences (BCVS)
Dr. Piero Anversa received his M.D. degree from the University of Parma, Italy in 1965. He became a professor of pathology at the University of Parma and subsequently professor of medicine in microbiology, immunology and pathology at New York Medical College. Dr. Anversa is also vice-chairman of the Department of Medicine and director of the Cardiovascular Research Institute. He has published over 200 original articles and published 61 book chapters/review articles.
Chair, Family/Preventive Medicine
University of California, San Diego
La Jolla, Calif.
Council on Epidemiology and Prevention (EPI)
From the day of her entrance into Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts, this Evanston, Ill. seeker of the truth knew medicine was to be her lifelong study. This search was to become concentrated on discovering the causes and hopefully the cures for epidemic illnesses.
After completing her internship and residency, she took post-doctoral studies in Clinical Medicine of the Tropics at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. She then moved on to the University of Minnesota, where she explored advanced epidemiology; then to John Hopkins to study genetics.
International appreciation of her work has come in the form of awards, fellowships, and endowments. Internationally recognized as an expert in epidemiology, she is currently the Chair of the Department of Community and Family Medicine at the University of California at San Diego. Elizabeth Barrett-Connor's main research has been into the factors promoting a healthy old age.
Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Council on Clinical Cardiology
Dr. Braunwald received his medical training at New York University and completed his medical residency at the Johns Hopkins Hospital. He has served as both chief of the cardiology branch and clinical director of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, and as the founding chairman of the Department of Medicine at the University of California-San Diego. Dr. Braunwald is the only cardiologist who is a member of the National Academy of Sciences. He has served as president of the American Society for Clinical Investigation and the Association of Professors of Medicine.
He has received numerous honors and awards including the Research Achievement and Herrick Awards of the American Heart Association, the Distinguished Scientist Award of the American College of Cardiology, the Phillip's Award of the American College of Physicians, the Williams Award of the Association of Professors of Medicine, and the Kober medal of the Association of American Physicians. He is the recipient of eight honorary degrees from distinguished universities throughout the world. In 1996, Harvard University created the Eugene Braunwald Professorship in Medicine as a permanently endowed chair.
Dr. Braunwald is the author of more than 1000 publications and an editor of Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, (editor-in-chief of the 11th edition and the 15th edition, currently in preparation) and the founding editor/author of heart disease, now in its 5th edition. These two books are the leading texts in internal medicine and cardiology respectively. Dr. Braunwald has been chairman of the TIMI trials since 1984 and he has led the SAVE and CARE trials.
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
Council on Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology (ATVB)
Michael S. Brown received a B.A. degree in chemistry in 1962 and an M.D. degree in 1966 from the University of Pennsylvania. He was an intern and resident at Massachusetts General Hospital, and a postdoctoral fellow with Dr. Earl Stadtman at the National Institutes of Health.
In 1971, he came to Dallas where he rose through the ranks to become a professor in 1976. He is currently Paul J. Thomas Professor of Molecular Genetics and Director of the Jonsson Center for Molecular Genetics at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas.
Dr. Brown and his long-time colleague, Dr. Joseph L. Goldstein, discovered the low-density lipoprotein (LDL) receptor, which controls the level of cholesterol in blood and in cells. They showed that mutations in this receptor cause Familial Hypercholesterolemia, a disorder that leads to premature heart attacks in one out of every 500 people in most populations. They have received many awards for this work, including the U.S. National Medal of Science and the Nobel Prize for Medicine or Physiology.
Mount Sinai School of Medicine
New York, N.Y.
Council on Clinical Cardiology
Dr. Valentin Fuster received his M.D. degree from Barcelona University and did his internship at Hospital Clinico in Barcelona. He did his residency at the Mayo Graduate School of Medicine in Rochester, Minn., and then served as a professor of medicine and consultant in cardiology. In 1982, Dr. Fuster went to Mount Sinai Medical Center as chief of the Division of Cardiology. Between 1991-94, Dr. Fuster was the Mallinckrodt Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and chief of the cardiac unit at Massachusetts General Hospital. In 1994 he returned to Mount Sinai Medical Center as director of the Zena and Michael A. Wiener Cardiovascular Institute, and as dean for Academic Affairs at The Mount Sinai Medical Center. Dr. Fuster is the past president of the American Heart Association, a member the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Advisory Council, and chairman of the Fellowship Training Directors Program of the American College of Cardiology. Dr. Fuster has published more than 400 articles on coronary disease, atherosclerosis and thrombosis.
He has been the recipient of the Andreas Gruentzig Scientific Award of the European Society of Cardiology, the Lewis A. Conner Memorial Award, for scientific accomplishment, by the American Heart Association, and the Distinguished Scientist Award, for scientific accomplishment in cardiology, from the American College of Cardiology. Dr. Fuster has received the 1996 Principe de Asturias Award of Science and Technology, the highest award to Spanish-speaking scientists from the son of the King and Queen of Spain. In March 2000, he received the Distinguished Service Award from the American College of Cardiology for his contribution to Medicine.
University of Montreal and McGill University
Montreal, QC, Canada
Council on Hypertension (formerly Council on High Blood Pressure Research)
For 40 years, Dr. Genest was one of the world leaders in hypertension research and patients’ management. In 1962, Dr. Genest helped save the Université Montréal, faculty of medicine, which after many successive visits, was threatened with cancellation of its accreditation as a medical school by the Joint U.S. and Canada Council on Medical Schools. He was appointed organizer of the Montreal meeting in 1965, and because of the increasing number of attendees to the CITC annual meetings, Dr. Genest proposed the club be changed to a formal clinical investigation society with its own charter and by laws. Dr. Genest created the Clinical Research Institute of Montréal, which has been a model and prototype of the modern organization of clinical research. The Clinical Research Institute of Montreal, inaugurated in 1967, was the first one to establish a priority the creation of teams of physician-scientists and basic researchers in each thematic laboratory.
Dr. Genest has been a consistent and ardent promoter of biomedical and clinical research and of its importance in modern society, stressing the importance of the physician-scientist for the understanding of physiological process toward more effective treatment and prevention of diseases. Dr. Genest is considered giant in Canadian medicine, and one of the first three living Canadian physicians to be nominated in 1993 to the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame. His many contributions have been recognized by numerous awards.
University of Miami School of Medicine
Dr. Myron Ginsberg has dedicated his professional career to stroke-related research. This career has now spanned three decades and is filled with outstanding accomplishments reflecting his scientific expertise. Dr. Ginsberg’s interests in stroke became apparent with his first faculty appointment in the Stroke Research Center at the University of Pennsylvania. In 1979, he moved to the University of Miami where he served first as co-director and then as director of the Cerebral Vascular Research Center, a position he still holds.
As evidence of his research excellence, Dr. Ginsberg was an American Heart Association Established Investigator and a Jacob Javits Neuroscience Investigator. He served on the organizing committees of numbers international scientific meetings and in 1998 chaired the prestigious sixteenth Princeton Conference on Cerebrovascular Diseases. Dr. Ginsberg has chaired or been a member of several federal and AHA scientific review committees. These have included the NIH Neurosciences-A Study Section and the AHA’s Cardiovascular-D and Brain Committees. He has also been a member of the editorial boards of several major stroke-related journals, including Stroke, and served as editor-in-chief of the journal of Cerebral Blood Flow Metabolism from 1991-1997. In 2002, Dr. Ginsberg was the American Stroke Association’s Thomas Willis Lecturer.
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
Council on Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology (ATVB)
Joseph L. Goldstein attended Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Va., and received the B.S. degree in chemistry, summa cum laude, in 1962. He then attended the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas. After receiving an M.D. degree in 1966, Goldstein moved to Boston where he was an intern and resident in medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital (1966-68), where he met and developed a friendship with Michael Brown, his long-term scientific collaborator.
Goldstein spent two years (1968-70) at the National Institutes of Health. The opportunity to work in a first-rate basic science laboratory while carrying a limited clinical responsibility proved highly influential in shaping Goldstein's career. Here, he acquired scientific skills and taste, experienced the thrill of discovery and the excitement of science, and appreciated the power of a molecular biology approach to human disease.
In 1972, Goldstein returned to the University of Texas Health Science Center at Dallas, where he was appointed head of the medical school's first Division of Medical Genetics. In 1977, he became chairman of the Department of Molecular Genetics at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Dallas and Paul J. Thomas Professor of Medicine and Genetics, a position that he currently holds.
Goldstein was elected to membership in the National Academy of Sciences in 1980. In 1982 he received honorary Doctor of Science degrees from the University of Chicago and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. In 1985, he and Brown received the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine and other numerous honors for their research.
Duke University Medical Center
Council on Basic Cardiovascular Sciences (BCVS)
Dr. Lefkowitz is the James B. Duke Professor of Medicine of Biochemistry at Duke University Medical Center. He received his B.A. and M.D. degrees from Columbia University and clinical and research training at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center in New York, the National Institutes of Health and Massachusetts General Hospital. As a molecular pharmacologist he has focused on the molecular structure and regulatory mechanisms controlling the function of the adrenergic receptors that mediate the actions of catecholamines. Dr. Lefkowitz has received numerous awards and is a member of the National Academy of Sciences.
Council on Cardiovascular Surgery and Anesthesia (CVSA)
In 1964, Dr. Miller attended Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H., with a dual major in mathematics and chemistry. He returned to California to matriculate at Stanford University Medical School. After being awarded his M.D. degree in 1972, he received his general, peripheral vascular, thoracic and cardiac surgical residency training at Stanford University Medical Center under the aegis of Dr. Norman Shumway. He was appointed assistant professor of cardiovascular surgery in 1978, promoted to associate professor in 1983, and became a full professor of cardiovascular surgery in 1989 at Stanford. In 1998, he was honored to hold the Thelma and Henry Doelger Professor of Cardiovascular Surgery endowed chair at Stanford University. He has directed the Cardiovascular Surgical Physiology Research Laboratories at Stanford since 1982 where the work has predominantly focused on left ventricular mechanics and physiology.
His clinical surgical activities are predominately centered on valvular heart disease and thoracic aortic problems, including, mitral valve repair, thoracic aortic aneurysms, aortic dissections, and thoracic aortic stent-grafting. He founded the Stanford Marfan's and Associated Connective Tissue Disorders Clinic in 1988 and has been a key element of its subsequent success. These efforts have been responsible in part for the growth of Stanford's thoracic aortic surgery and mitral repair programs.
Dr. Miller is a member of many prominent surgical societies certified by the American Board of Surgery and the American Board of Thoracic Surgery. Dr. Miller gave the invited honorary keynote lecture at the European Association for Cardio-Thoracic Surgery meeting in Lisbon. Miller serves as associate editor for Acquired Heart Disease of The Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, and is (or has been) a member of the numerous editorial boards. In 1993, he was vice chairman of the AHA Committee on Scientific Sessions Program (CSSP). He was chairman of the American Heart Association Cardio-Thoracic and Vascular Surgery Council in 1995 and 1997. In 1994-95, he was elected president of The Western Thoracic Surgical Association.
Dr. Miller is actively engaged in basic laboratory research and has also been a energetic clinical investigator. He has contributed over 404 papers and 208 abstracts to the cardiovascular medical and surgical literature. His laboratory work is currently dedicated to the investigation of left ventricular and cardiac mechanics, bioenergetics, and LV physiology, with special focus on the mitral valve and the mitral subvalvular apparatus.
Columbia University-Presbyterian Medical Center
New York, N.Y.
Dr. Mohr is from Lynchburg, Virginia, graduated from, Virginia Episcopal School, Haverford College, and the University of Virginia where he was a USPHS 5-Year Plan Fellow and received an M.S. (pharmacology) and M.D. He trained in medicine at the Mary Imogene Bassett Hospital, in Neurology at the New York Neurological Institute, and in Neuropathology and Stroke at the Massachusetts General Hospital (C.M. Fisher).
After three years Army service at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research during the Vietnam War, he returned in 1971 to the Massachusetts General Hospital to found and direct the Stroke Service and the Neuro Intensive Care Unit, and the Neurology Unit at the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Hospital. He became founding chairman of the Department of Neurology at the University of South Alabama, and returned in 1983 to the New York Neurological Institute as the first Daniel Sciarra Professor of Clinical Neurology. He is now the director of the newly-formed Doris and Stanley Tananbaum Stroke Center.
Prof. J. P. Mohr is a world renowned neurologist. He has specialized in all aspects of stroke and runs and manages a state of the art stroke unit. It is in the therapeutic, clinical trial and research aspects of stroke that he excels. He is author or co-author of over 234 publications, among them a variety of peer-reviewed and invited publications and several books, one of which is very popular and a must for neurology residents and called. A Guide to Clinical Neurology. by J.P. Mohr and J.C Gautier.
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
Council on Basic Cardiovascular Sciences (BCVS)
Dr. Olson completed his doctorate in biochemistry at Bowman Gray School of Medicine of Wake Forest University in 1981. After a post-doctoral fellowship at Washing University School of Medicine, where he was supported by American Heart Association and National Institutes of Health postdoctoral fellowships, he joined the faculty of the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in 1984 as an assistant professor. In 1991, he became chairman of that department.
He moved in 1995 to the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, where he is professor and chairman of the Department of Molecular Biology, associate director and principal investigator of the Donald W. Reynolds Center for Basic Research in Cancer. He holds the Nancy B. and Jake L. Hamon Distinguished Chair in Basic Cancer Research at UT Southwestern.
Doctor Olson has served on numerous national committees and has been a member of the AHA Council on Basic CV Sciences, Katz Young Investigator Award Selection Committee, and AHA Research Committee. He serves on the editorial boards of Circulation and Circulation Research; he also served as editor in chief of Developmental Biology.
Dr. Olson has been an established investigator of the AHA, and his previous honors include the Edgar Haber Cardiovascular Research Award and Gill Heart Institute Award for Outstanding Contributions to Cardiovascular Medicine, and the AHA Thomas W. Smith Memorial Lecture. He was elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences. He has documented his research in more than 250 scientific publications.
Cardiovascular Research Institute
San Francisco, Calif.
Council on Lifelong Congenital Heart Disease and Heart Health in the Young (formerly Council on Cardiovascular Disease in the Young)
Abraham Rudolph has been one of the most significant investigators in pediatric cardiology, taking the knowledge gained from his experimental work in fetal physiology and applying it to cardiology. Educated at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa, Dr. Rudolph emigrated to the United States and trained in pediatric cardiology and physiology at Children's Hospital in Boston and Harvard Medical School. He developed techniques for cardiac catheterization of infants and children and was a pioneer in neonatal heart catheterization.
In 1966, Dr. Rudolph joined the faculty of the University of California in San Francisco as director of Pediatric Cardiology and senior staff member of the Cardiovascular Research Institute, where he developed a major research program in fetal and neonatal physiology. He pioneered techniques for chronic instrumentation of fetal Iambs in utero, and developed the radionuclide microsphere method to study the course and distribution of the fetal circulation.
The microsphere technique has been a major advance in cardiovascular physiology and continues, with variations, be one of the methods most frequently used for determining total and regional blood flow. His studies have helped to define the influence of congenital heart lesions prenatally and the effects of birth on the normal and abnormal circulation.
Dr. Rudolph is widely recognized as a distinguished investigator and educator and has received many honors, including the E. Mead Johnson and Borden Awards for Research in Pediatrics, the Research Achievement Award of the American Heart Association, the Lifetime Achievement Award of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Harvard Medical School
Council on Basic Cardiovascular Sciences (BCVS)
Dr. Seidman is professor of genetics and medicine at Harvard Medical School and director of the Cardiovascular Genetics Service at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. After undergraduate studies at Harvard College, she earned her medical degree at George Washington University School of Medicine and was an intern and resident in internal medicine at the Johns Hopkins Hospital. She received subspecialty training in cardiology at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Dr. Seidman is a recipient of the 2002 Bristol-Myers Squibb Award, which she shared with Jonathan Seidman. Christine Seidman’s lab recently discovered a novel molecular mechanism for cardiac hypertrophy — mutations in genes that regulate myocardial glycogen metabolism. This class of human gene mutation accounts for unexplained cardiac hypertrophy that is sometimes massive and is associated with life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias.
Council on Clinical Cardiology
James T. Willerson, M.D., is the president of the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. Upon graduating as a member of Alpha Omega Alpha from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, he completed his medical and cardiology training as an intern, resident, and research and clinical fellow at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and as a clinical associate at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md.
Dr. Willerson is a former chairman of the National American Heart Association Research Committee and of the NIH Cardiovascular and Renal Study Section. He has received the Award of Merit from the American Heart Association and has served as a member of the Board of Directors and Science Steering Committee.
Dr. Willerson has served as visiting professor and invited lecturer at more than 170 institutions. He has received numerous national and international awards, including the AHA’s James B. Herrick Award in 1993 and the ACC's Distinguished Scientist Award for 2000. He is a member and past president of the Paul Dudley White Cardiology Society at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital.
He has served on numerous editorial boards for professional publications, including the American Journal of Cardiology, American Journal of Medicine, Circulation Research, Journal of the American College of Cardiology, Journal of Clinical Investigation, and The New England Journal of Medicine. Since 1993, he has been the editor-in-chief of Circulation, the major publication of the American Heart Association. He has edited or co-edited 20 textbooks and published more than 770 scientific articles.
His recent research work has concentrated on elucidating mechanisms responsible for the conversion from stable to unstable coronary heart disease syndromes, the prevention of unstable angina and acute myocardial infarction, and the detection and treatment of unstable atherosclerotic plaques. Very recently, he and his colleagues at the Texas Heart Institute and in Houston, Texas, and at Hospital Pró-Cardíaco in Rio de Janeiro have begun bone marrow derived stem cell transplantation directly into the hearts of patients with severe heart failure and have demonstrated objective and subjective evidence of clinical improvement. The work will be expanded to centers in the United States.