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Elizabeth G. Nabel, M.D., Named New Director of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

For Immediate Release:
January 26, 2005

Bethesda, Maryland -- Elias Zerhouni, M.D., director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), today announced the appointment of Elizabeth G. Nabel, M.D., as director of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). Dr. Nabel, who is currently the Scientific Director of Clinical Research in the NHLBI intramural program, will begin her appointment on February 1, 2005.

"Dr. Nabel is a leading scientist and recognized expert in the development of novel genetic and cellular therapies for cardiovascular disease. Her research on vascular biology and the regulation of smooth muscle cell growth has provided important insights into the development of heart disease," said Dr. Zerhouni in announcing the appointment. "As both a researcher and a clinician, Dr. Nabel brings a well-rounded scientific background and strong management skills to this position. She has championed the concept 'from bench to bedside.' This effort to bring research advances into clinical practice continues to be a focus of the NHLBI and of NIH."

Dr. Nabel will oversee an annual budget of almost $3 billion and a staff of approximately 850 Federal employees. The Institute provides leadership for a national research program on heart, lung, blood, and sleep diseases and disorders. Since 1993, the Institute has been the home of the National Center on Sleep Disorders Research and, since 1998, it has had responsibility for the NIH Women's Health Initiative. Institute-funded research is conducted in Bethesda, Maryland in the NHLBI's intramural laboratories and throughout the country by institutions and individuals supported by research grants and contracts. In addition, the NHLBI conducts educational activities, including the development and dissemination of materials for health professionals, patients, and the general public, with a strong emphasis on prevention.

"I am honored to lead the NHLBI," said Dr. Nabel. "The Institute has a long and distinguished record in support of research on heart, lung, blood, and sleep diseases. As we look to the future, there are unprecedented opportunities to advance our understanding of these diseases and to improve upon the care and treatment of the millions of people affected by them. The NHLBI will strive to address these challenges through a research agenda that builds upon innovation, creativity, and the most advanced biomedical technologies," she added.

Dr. Nabel is a board certified cardiologist who has taken care of many patients with cardiovascular disease, including women with heart disease. She joined the NHLBI in 1999 as the Institute's Scientific Director of Clinical Research. Among her many accomplishments as Scientific Director, she initiated a cardiothoracic surgery branch, a state of the art training and research program in cardiovascular surgery. She also began a program to investigate genetic variation among patients with vascular diseases. During her time at the NHLBI, Dr. Nabel has also served as the chief of the Institute's Vascular Biology Section, directing research on the molecular, cellular, and genetic mechanisms that cause vascular disorders. Her lab, which has published more than 200 papers, has studied factors involved in the regulation of vascular smooth muscle cell growth and vascular inflammation. This research has opened up new avenues for therapeutic targets for vascular diseases.

A native of Minneapolis, Minnesota, Dr. Nabel received her medical education at Cornell University Medical College before moving to Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard University where she completed an internship and residency in internal medicine and a clinical and research fellowship in cardiovascular medicine. She joined the faculty at the University of Michigan in 1987 as an Assistant Professor of Medicine, and rose through the ranks becoming Director of the Cardiovascular Research Center in 1992, Professor of Internal Medicine and Physiology in 1994, and Director of the Division of Cardiology in 1997. While at the University of Michigan, she became known for her research in the field of vascular biology and molecular cardiology and for her gene transfer studies of the cardiovascular system.

Dr. Nabel has received numerous awards, including the Distinguished Achievement Award from the Basic Cardiovascular Sciences Council of the American Heart Association and the Amgen-Scientific Achievement Award from the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. She is an elected member of the American Society of Clinical Investigation, the Association of American Physicians, and the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences. In 2001, Dr. Nabel received an honorary doctoral degree from the University of Leuven in Belgium.

Dr. Nabel is an editorial board member of The New England Journal of Medicine. She has been a reviewing editor for Science and an editorial board member of the Journal of Clinical Investigation. She also served as a consulting editor for Circulation, Circulation Research, and Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology.

Dr. Nabel has served on American Heart Association committees including: the Board of Directors; the Scientific Publishing Committee (Chair); the Atherosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology Council (Chair); the executive committee of the Basic Cardiovascular Sciences Council, and the Science Advisory and Coordinating Committee. Other national and international leadership roles include President of the North American Vascular Biology Organization, Councilor of the American Society of Clinical Investigation, member of the Board of Directors for the Keystone Symposium, member of the Scientific Advisory Board of The Stanley J. Sarnoff Endowment for Cardiovascular Science, and as a member of the membership committee of the Institutes of Medicine. She has also served on international advisory committees including the Center for Transgene Technology and Gene Therapy and the Center for Molecular and Vascular Biology at the University of Leuven, and the International Vascular Biology Organization.

To interview Dr. Nabel or to obtain her biosketch or a photo, please contact the NHLBI Communications Office at (301) 496-4236.