2012 Distinguished Scientists

The American Heart Association is pleased to announce the selection of the 2012 Distinguished Scientists.  Each year this distinction is proudly bestowed upon prominent AHA members whose work has advanced the understanding and management of cardiovascular disease and stroke.

2012 Distinguished Scientists

Distinguished Professor and Chair
Department of Pharmacology
University of California, Davis
Davis, Calif.

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.


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