2014 Distinguished Scientist - Gerald W. Dorn, II, MD, FAHA
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.