Cardiovascular Epidemiology and Genomics
The main areas of research interest in the Laboratory for Cardiovascular Epidemiology and Genomics, led by Dr. Daniel Levy, include the epidemiology and genetics of cardiovascular disease, with a focus on coronary disease, hypertension, and heart failure.
Dr. Levy’s main areas of research interest include the epidemiology and genetics of cardiovascular disease, with a focus on coronary disease, hypertension, and heart failure. He aims to merge the robust clinical and longitudinal data available from the Framingham Heart Study with the latest advances in genomic sciences to gain insight into the complex relations between complex cardiovascular traits and the onset of heart disease.
Dr. Levy was recently part of an international consortium that identified 29 genetic variants that influence blood pressure and heart disease risk, included 16 previously unrecognized variants found in both expected and unexpected locations. Another smaller scale study identified the genetic variants in the mitochondrial genome potentially associated with blood pressure and fasting glucose levels. These and other efforts have provided new clues into how blood pressure is regulated.
Dr. Levy has also had a long-standing interest in the causes and manifestations of heart failure. Using the Framingham cohort and others, he has conducted extensive studies into the development of heart failure, as well as studies examining the clinical differences in risk factors and prognosis of people with heart failure in the setting of preserved versus reduced ejection fractions. One of his most recent discoveries was identifying galectin-3, a protein associated with cardiac fibrosis, as a predictor of heart failure.
Most recently, Dr. Levy has begun spearheading a new research program known as the SABRe CVD (Systems Approach to Biomarker Research in Cardiovascular Disease) Initiative, which seeks to identify new biomarkers and pathways involved in cardiovascular disease through the introduction of discovery proteomics and metabolomics, and gene expression and microRNA profiling. These resources will be united with the Framingham Study’s unparalleled genetic and phenotypic databases and will be made freely accessible to the scientific community at large. With these new resources available, Dr. Levy and his colleagues hope to contribute research discoveries to improve the options for primary and secondary prevention of coronary heart disease.
Daniel Levy received a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1976 and an M.D. from Boston University School of Medicine in 1980. He then completed his residency in internal medicine at University Hospital, Boston and a research fellowship in cardiology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard School of Public Health. He joined the NHLBI’s Framingham Heart Study in 1984 and became the Study’s fourth director in 1994. Dr. Levy is also jointly a professor of medicine at Boston University School of Medicine and holds an adjunct faculty appointment at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Levy has been the recipient of many awards for his research accomplishments including two NIH Director’s Awards and the American Heart Association’s Population Research Prize in 2009, the AHA’s highest recognition for research achievements in epidemiology. Dr. Levy is a fellow of the American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association, and he is also a member of the American Society of Hypertension and Heart Failure Society of America. Dr. Levy is currently Editor-in-Chief of the journal Current Cardiovascular Risk Reports. He has published over 400 articles in leading medical journals, as well as two books and several book chapters.