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William Wikoff Smith Professor of Cardiovascular Research: Jonathan Epstein

J. Epstein

Dr. Jonathan A. Epstein, professor in the cardiovascular medicine division of the department of medicine at the School of Medicine and director of the Molecular Cardiology Research Center, has been named the inaugural recipient of the newly created, $2 million William Wikoff Smith Chair in Cardiovascular Research. Dr. Epstein will serve for a term of 10 years.

“To be recognized in this way is truly an honor, not only have I been named the inaugural recipient of this Chair, but also because this is a foundation that is so committed to the study of basic science and how it relates to cardiovascular disease,” said Dr. Epstein, referring to the W.W. Smith Charitable Trust.

“Dr. Epstein is considered one of the top 10 investigators in molecular cardiology research in the world. This honor befits his talents and drive to find the causes of common forms of congenital heart disease,” says Dr. Michael S. Parmacek, chief of the division of cardiovascular medicine in the department of medicine.  “His pioneering contributions are recognized globally and his many discoveries have led to increased understanding of the mechanisms of cardiovascular development and common forms of congenital heart disease.”

The W.W. Smith Chair in Cardiovascular Research will provide much-needed funding to battle cardiovascular disease, which takes 900,000 American lives each year. It remains the single greatest cause of death in the United States, not only for the nation as a whole, but also for every major population group, whether categorized by gender, race, or ethnicity. “The creation of this new chair will further enhance Penn’s reputation as a leader in the fight against heart disease. Dr. Epstein’s outstanding career and groundbreaking research will not only further Penn’s effort, but also the hopes of the Smith family to successfully find a cure for this deadly disease,” said Dr. Arthur H. Rubenstein, EVP of the University for the Health System and Dean, School of Medicine.

Dr. Epstein is recognized internationally as a leading authority in cardiovascular development and the molecular and genetic basis of congenital heart disease. He graduated magna cum laude in biochemistry from Harvard College in 1983 and earned his M.D. degree from Harvard Medical School in 1988. He completed his internship and residency in medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in 1991; he then remained at that institution to complete a research/clinical fellowship in cardiology in 1994 and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute postdoctoral fellowship for physicians in 1995.

Following an appointment as instructor in medicine at Harvard, he joined PennMedicine in 1996 as assistant professor of medicine. A year later, he was also appointed assistant professor of cell and developmental biology. Because of his outstanding work, Dr. Epstein received early promotion to associate professor of medicine and cell and developmental biology in 2001, and was appointed director of the Molecular Cardiology Research Center the same year. He is a practicing cardiologist at HUP and directs the Physician-Scientist training program in the department of medicine.

Penn and The W. W. Smith Charitable Trust have had a longstanding partnership in advancing our common missions of education and biomedical research. Over the past 25 years, the Trust’s extraordinary support has helped numerous Penn students pursue their undergraduate education and allowed many scientists and physicians to conduct important basic research projects in cancer, AIDS, heart disease, and diabetes-studies that may not have been funded through the standard governmental funding mechanisms.



  Almanac, Vol. 51, No. 24, March 15, 2005


March 15, 2005
Volume 51 Number 24


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