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Dr. Francois M. Abboud: University of Iowa’s Longest-Serving Faculty Member

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Dr. Francois M. Abboud holds several titles. He is the Edith King Pearson Chair in Cardiovascular Research, Chair Emeritus of the Department of Internal Medicine, Founder and Director of the Abboud Cardiovascular Research Centre at the University of Iowa, Carver University of Medicine, and Associate Vice President for Research at the University of Iowa.

Dr. Abboud’s professional career began in the 1950s at an Egyptian medical school. In 1955, he relocated to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to work as an internist at Milwaukee County Hospital. Francois M. Abboud, M.D., joined the University of Iowa faculty in 1960 and was named director of the Division of Cardiovascular Diseases in 1970.

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He founded and was the sole director of the College of Iowa Cardiovascular Research Center from 1974 to 2012. Since 1974, he has led the center to international prominence through the sponsorship of several major interdisciplinary research programs and a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Institutional Research Training Grant, and he has trained hundreds of cardiovascular physicians and basic scientists.

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From 1976 to January 2002, he was the chief of the Department of Internal Medicine, and the Association of Professors of Medicine honored him with the Robert H. Williams Distinguished Chairman of Medicine Award.

Abboud has served as the principal investigator on an NIH-funded Program Project Grant (PPG) titled “Integrative Neurobiology of Cardiovascular Regulation” since 1971. His research focuses on neural heart and circulation control in aging, hypertension, heart failure, and sleep apnea. He discovered the role of endothelial factors and ion channels in the activation of baroreceptor neurons.

He discovered evolutionarily conserved mechanosensitive molecules that help these neurons with mechanoelectrical transduction, as well as acid-sensitive channels that help with chemoreceptor sensitivity. His recent discovery of autonomic neurotransmitter-mediated proinflammatory modulation of the innate immune system in genetic hypertension holds enormous promise for future advances in the fight against cardiovascular disease.

His work has received numerous awards, including the American Society of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics’ ASPET Award for Experimental Therapeutics and the American Heart Association’s Dickinson W. Richards Memorial Award (Pulmonary Diseases), George E. Brown Memorial Award (Circulation), and Award of Merit.

He received the Wiggers Award and Medal from the American Physiological Society’s Cardiovascular Section in 1988, the CIBA Award and Medal for Hypertension Research from the American Heart Association’s Council of High Blood Pressure Research in 1990, the Merck Sharp and Dohme International Award for Research in Hypertension in 1994, and the American Heart Association’s Gold Heart Award (1995) and Research Achievement Award (1999).

He was the American Physiological Society’s Carl Ludwig Distinguished Lecturer and received the American College of Physicians/American Society of Internal Medicine Award for Outstanding Work in Science as Related to Medicine in 2000.

He received the American College of Cardiology’s Distinguished Scientist Award in 2004, the Association of American Medical Colleges’ Distinguished Research Award in 2006, and the American Heart Association’s Distinguished Scientist Award in 2007. He was chosen for the American Physiologic Society’s prestigious Cannon Lecture and Award, the Kober Medal of the Association of American Physicians in 2009, and the Ben Qurrah Award of the Arab American Medical Association, Houston Chapter in 2010.

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