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Release: Immediate

UI researcher receives prestigious hypertension award

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Dr. Donald Heistad, UI Foundation Professor of Internal Medicine and Pharmacology at the University of Iowa College of Medicine, has received a prestigious international hypertension award from the American Heart Association Council on High Blood Pressure Research. Heistad received the Novartis Award during ceremonies Sept. 18 in Washington, D.C.

The Novartis Award was initiated in 1966 and has been given annually at the Council's annual banquet. Previous recipients include Nobel laureates, Lasker awardees and members of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Known worldwide for his studies of stroke and effects of hypertension and atherosclerosis on blood vessels to the brain, Heistad's work has paved the way to a better clinical understanding of hypertension and stroke. He pioneered the use of modern gene transfer techniques to prevent the damage of brain blood vessels and the spasm of these vessels which deprives the brain of blood and causes stroke.

Heistad received his medical degree from the University of Chicago in 1963, where he also completed his internship and residency. From 1966-67 he took cardiology training at the UI. After a three-year period as a research internist with the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine in Natick, Mass., Heistad returned to the UI to join the faculty in 1970. He currently serves as director of the Cardiovascular Division in the department of internal medicine and as deputy director of the Cardiovascular Research Center. He has received major research awards from the Stroke Council and Council for High Blood Pressure Research. He is a member of the Association of American Physicians, the American Society of Clinical Investigation, and the Association of University Cardiologists. He has served on the editorial board of several major medical journals.

Dr. François M. Abboud, professor and head of the department of internal medicine and director of the UI Cardiovascular Research Center, says, "This is a great recognition of Don's dedication to science and his creativity in discovering the causes of damage to blood vessels in stroke. This is a great honor to the UI College of Medicine and the Cardiovascular Research Center where Dr. Heistad has done all of his work. It is unique that the same cardiovascular research center at the same university has received this prestigious award twice."

In 1990 Abboud and Dr. Michael J. Brody received the Novartis Award.