American Heart Association Awardees
Four distinguished scientists and clinicians were honored at the American Heart Association’s (AHA) Scientific Sessions, which were held in New Orleans from November 12 through 15, 2000.
The first Chairman’s Award honors Michael R. Rosen, MD, for volunteer services significantly advancing the AHA’s progress toward achieving its strategic goals. Dr Rosen, the Gustavus A. Pfeiffer Professor of Pharmacology and a Professor of Pediatrics at the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University, New York, received his award at the Scientific Sessions 2000.
Dr Rosen led efforts to rally support in the US Congress and government in general to increase finding for the National Institutes of Health. He rallied volunteer colleagues from around the nation to go to Washington DC at their own expense to lobby for increased appropriations in the field of medical research. As the cadre grew, they took on the title of “Friends of Mike Rosen.”
The AHA said that Dr Rosen’s activities and the support of his “Friends” resulted in bipartisan support for research and historic increases in funding for the National Institutes of Health amounting to 15% annually for the past 3 years. In part because of Dr Rosen’s enthusiasm, the AHA’s annual Research Lobby Day drew 270 volunteers on May 9, 2000. These heart attack and stroke survivors, researchers, physicians, caregivers, and advocates visited the offices of 87 Senators and 179 US Representatives.
Dr Rosen has served on the Board of Directors for the national AHA and for the New York City Affiliate. He chaired the Committee on Scientific Sessions Program from 1988 to 1991 after serving as a committee member for 6 years. Dr Rosen also chaired the Task Force on Strategies to Increase Federal Funding for Research in 1990 and the Council on Basic Science from 1994 to 1996. He has been an Associate Editor and is currently a Consulting Editor of the AHA journal Circulation Research, and he is also Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology. In 1992, he received the AHA’s Award of Merit.
He has served on the editorial boards of a half-dozen other scientific journals, including the AHA’s Circulation. He has conducted numerous lectureships worldwide, and he is the author of >300 research papers, books, and chapters. He has served as President and member of the Board of Regents of the American College of Clinical Pharmacology and has been President of the Cardiac Electrophysiologic Society.
Eduardo Marbán, MD, PhD, Professor of Medicine, Physiology, and Biomedical Engineering, the Michel Mirowski Professor of Cardiology, and the Director of the Institute of Molecular Cardiobiology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore received the AHA’s basic science award for contributions advancing the basic understanding of the function of the heart in normal and diseased states and for discoveries of enormous therapeutic potential for the improved diagnosis and treatment of cardiac arrhythmias, heart failure, and ischemic injuries. His work centers on the electrophysiology of the heart, how its electrical system functions when the organ is normal, and what causes it to misfire. Translating the findings in his laboratory to the bedside has resulted in improved diagnosis and treatment for a variety of devastating disorders.
Dr Marbán and his coworkers have investigated the secrets of ion channels and how they open and close. In 1994, he discovered that heart muscle cells exhibit profound oscillations in excitability in response to energy stress, an observation that seems to be a novel mechanism for the fatal ventricular arrhythmias that can arise in ischemic heart tissue. He is also a leader in investigations of myocardial stunning.
Dr Marbán’s research has been published in Science, Nature, Neuron, The Journal of Clinical Investigation, The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and the AHA journals Circulation and Circulation Research. He was recently named the Editor-in-Chief of Circulation Research and is the chairman-elect of the AHA’s newly created Council on Basic Cardiovascular Sciences. The professional honors he has received include the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute’s MERIT Award and the Louis and Artur Lucian Award for Research in Cardiovascular Disease.
Dr Marbán immigrated to the United States from his native Cuba at the age of 6 as a political refugee along with his parents. He received his medical degree from Yale University in 1980 and his PhD in physiology in 1981 from the same school. After a cardiology fellowship at Johns Hopkins Hospital, he joined the Hopkins School of Medicine faculty in 1985. He rose through the ranks to become a professor in 1991, and he served as the Robert L. Levy Professor of Cardiology from 1992 until 1998. He founded and became director of Johns Hopkins’ Section of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology in 1992 and was appointed a professor of physiology in 1994. He was named Director of the Institute of Molecular Cardiobiology and the Michel Mirowski Professor of Cardiology in 1998.
Research Achievement Award
Stephen F. Vatner, MD, University Professor at the University of Medicine and Dentistry in New Jersey and Director of the Cardiovascular Center at the New Jersey Medical School and Hackensack University Medical Center in Newark, NJ, received the AHA’s Research Achievement Award at the Scientific Sessions 2000. Dr Vatner’s work has focused on the area of functional genomics.
In his laboratory, Dr Vatner and his coworkers have concentrated on the molecular actions that regulate adrenergic neural control, exercise, and the inotropic state. He has elucidated how normal physiological controls that go astray can contribute to diseases such as myocardial ischemia, heart failure, and reperfusion injury. He published seminal work describing the phenomenon of myocardial stunning, opening the door to new work in that area. In recent years, he has used transgenic animals to identify altered cardiovascular control mechanisms and receptor coupling in heart failure. Dr Vatner has published >350 peer-reviewed scientific publications. He was Editor-in-Chief of the AHA journal Circulation Research from 1991 until 1999, and he chaired the AHA Council on Circulation from 1990 to 1992. He was instrumental in developing the Melvin L. Marcus Young Investigator Award in Cardiovascular Science and later acquired funding for an intermediate-level scientist award, the Council on Circulation Cardiovascular Research Prize.
Dr Vatner received his medical degree from New York University in 1965. He did his clinical training at the University of Virginia and his research training in physiology and biophysics at the University of Washington in Seattle and the University of California at San Diego. He joined the faculty of Harvard Medical School in Boston in 1972 and remained there for 25 years, becoming Professor of Medicine in 1990. He was also an associate in cardiology at Boston’s Children’s Hospital Medical Center and a senior physiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
James B. Herrick Award
George A. Beller, MD, is the recipient of the 2000 James B. Herrick Award from the AHA’s Council on Clinical Cardiology. The award was presented at the Scientific Sessions in New Orleans.
Dr Beller, director of the cardiology division at the University of Virginia Health System in Charlottesville, was recognized for 2 decades of innovation in the area of cardiac imaging techniques that broke new ground in the noninvasive diagnosis of patients with known or suspected coronary artery disease. His studies proved the diagnostic and prognostic value of myocardial perfusion imaging, beginning with thallium-201 and proceeding more recently to new perfusion markers, notably, technetium-99–based tracers. He is the author of >300 scientific articles and 3 books, one of which (Clinical Nuclear Cardiology) has become the major reference in the field. He is on the editorial boards of 20 cardiology journals and has had grant support for 21 consecutive years.
A native of New York, Dr Beller received his medical degree from the University of Virginia School of Medicine in 1966. He did his internship and residencies at the University of Wisconsin Hospitals in Madison and Boston City Hospital. His cardiology training was done at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. In 1974, he joined the faculty of Harvard and Massachusetts General. Dr Beller left Harvard in 1977 to return to the University of Virginia as chief of the Cardiovascular Division. He is also the Ruth C. Heede Professor of Cardiology and a professor of internal medicine.
Winners of the King Faisal International Prize for Medicine 2001
Three prominent surgeons who pioneered the science of organ transplantation were named winners of the King Faisal International Price for Medicine for 2001 at an official dinner in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on December 12, 2000. The 3 surgeons included Sir Roy Yorke Calne, FRCS, FRS, emeritus Professor of Surgery at the University of Cambridge; Norman Edward Shumway, MD, PhD; and Thomas Earl Starzl, MD, PhD.
Professor Calne, a native of the United Kingdom, received his medical training at Guy’s Hospital in London. He later spent 2 years as a Research Fellow in surgery at Harvard Medical School. His early research on immunosuppressive drugs such as 6-mercaptopurine, azathioprine, and cyclosporin opened the door to the use of organ transplantation as a standard therapy. He also pioneered the use of monoclonal antibodies to prevent graft rejection. His finding that liver transplantation itself can be immunosuppressive led to the notion that the use of immunosuppressive drugs in transplantation can be reduced.
Dr Shumway, a native of the United States, received his medical degree at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee and his PhD from the University of Minnesota. He did his postdoctoral work at the National Institutes of Health. He is currently the Frances and Charles D. Field Professor and the chairman of the department of cardiothoracic surgery at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California. He is the author of >500 professional publications.
A pioneer in the field of heart transplantation, Dr Shumway continued to perfect the procedure during the 1970s, when many surgeons discontinued performing the operation because of problems with organ rejection. He introduced the use of endomyocardial biopsy as a technique to diagnose rejection. When the use of cyclosporin was introduced in 1981, Dr Shumway was able to expand his program at Stanford. He pioneered the transplantation of the heart and both lungs.
Dr Starzl is also a US native. He received his MD and PhD from Northwestern University in Chicago. His surgical training took place at Johns Hopkins Hospital, the University of Miami, and the Chicago Veterans Administration Research Hospital. He began his work in organ transplantation at Northwestern and later moved to the University of Colorado, where he became a professor and the Chairman of the Department of Surgery. In 1981, he moved to the University of Pittsburgh, where he became the Director of the Thomas E. Starzl Transplant Institute. He has published >3000 research papers.
Dr Starzl was the first to develop the surgical techniques that made liver transplantation possible and the first to use corticosteroids as immunosuppressive drugs after transplantation. He pioneered the use of FK506 (also known as tacrolimus) to prevent the rejection of the transplanted liver, small bowel, and multiple visceral organs.
- Copyright © 2001 by American Heart Association