Founding Distinguished Scientists

Updated:Aug 20,2012

Elected 2003 

Michael S. Brown, M.D., FAHA
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
Dallas, Texas
Council on Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology

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.

Joseph Goldstein, M.D., FAHA
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
Dallas, Texas
Council Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology

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.

Piero Anversa, M.D., FAHA
New York Medical College
Valhalla. N.Y.
Council on Basic Cardiovascular Sciences

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.

Robert Lefkowitz, M.D., FAHA
Duke University Medical Center
Durham, N.C.
Council on Basic Cardiovascular Sciences

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.

Eric Olson, Ph.D., FAHA
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
Dallas, Texas
Council on Basic Cardiovascular Sciences

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.

Christine E. Seidman, M.D., FAHA
Harvard Medical School
Boston, Mass.
Council on Basic Cardiovascular Sciences

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.

Abraham Rudolph, M.D.
Cardiovascular Research Institute
San Francisco, Calif.
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.

D. Craig Miller, M.D., FAHA
Stanford University
Stanford, Calif.
Council on Cardiovascular Surgery and Anesthesia

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.

Eugene Braunwald, M.D., FAHA
Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Boston, Mass.
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.

Valentin Fuster, M.D., Ph.D.
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 Gruntzig 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.

James Willerson, M.D., FAHA
Houston, Texas
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 Procardico 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.

Elizabeth Barrett-Connor, M.D., FAHA
Chair, Family/Preventive Medicine
University of California, San Diego
La Jolla, Calif.
Council on Epidemiology and Prevention

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.

Jaques Genest, M.D., MACP
University of Montreal and McGill University
Montreal, QC, Canada
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.

J.P. Mohr, M.S., M.D.
Neurology Institute
Columbia University-Presbyterian Medical Center
New York, N.Y.
Stroke Council

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.

Myron Ginsberg, M.D.
University of Miami School of Medicine
Miami, Fla.
Stroke Council

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 haired 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.