2015 Distinguished Scientist – Howard A. Rockman, MD, FAHA
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.