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University of Iowa News Release

March 10, 2004

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Abboud Receives Distinguished Scientist Award From American College of Cardiology

Francois Abboud, M.D., professor in the Department of Internal Medicine in the University of Iowa Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine, was named the recipient of the 2004 Distinguished Scientist Award by the American College of Cardiology. The award recognizes Abboud's major contributions to the advancement of scientific knowledge in cardiovascular disease.

A UI faculty member since 1960, Abboud served as head of the UI Department of Internal Medicine from 1976 to January 2002. He currently serves as associate vice president in the UI Office of Vice President for Research. He is the Edith King Pearson Professor of Cardiovascular Research, director of the UI Cardiovascular Research Center, and he also holds a faculty appointment in the UI Department of Physiology and Biophysics.

Among his many professional accomplishments, Abboud is recognized for his contributions to the understanding of the causes of, and treatments for, heart disease. His research team is internationally known for its work in understanding how the nervous system regulates blood pressure by sending signals from nerves in the heart and arteries to the brain. Abboud and his colleagues were the first to prove in the early 1960s that insulin activates the nervous system to cause high blood pressure in the absence of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). His team also discovered that salt intake constricts blood vessels in people who are susceptible to high blood pressure.

Since 1971, Abboud has been the principal investigator for a National Institutes of Health-funded Program Project Grant. The most recent five-year NIH renewal for the program, a $11.4 million grant awarded in January 2003, supports studies to understand how the nervous system affects the heart and circulation, especially in relation to heart attacks, high blood pressure, stroke, depression and obesity.

The research program is one of the longest-running program project grants by the same principal investigator in the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of the NIH, and it was the first major interdepartmental intercollegiate research program in the UI Carver College of Medicine.

Abboud's research has been recognized with numerous awards, including: the ASPET Award for Experimental Therapeutics from the American Society of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics; the Dickinson W. Richards Memorial Award from the Council on Pulmonary Diseases of the American Heart Association (AHA); the George E. Brown Memorial Award of the Council on Circulation of the AHA; and the Award of Merit of the AHA. He also has received the Wiggers Award and Medal of the American Physiological Society, Cardiovascular Section (1988); the CIBA Award and Medal for Hypertension Research of the Council of High Blood Pressure Research of the AHA (1990); the Merck Sharp and Dohme International Award for Research in Hypertension (1994); and the Gold Heart Award (1995) and Research Achievement Award (1999) of the AHA. Abboud was the Carl Ludwig Distinguished Lecturer of the American Physiological Society, and he was the recipient of the American College of Physicians/American Society of Internal Medicine Award for Outstanding Work in Science as Related to Medicine, in 2000.

Abboud is a member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation, and he has served as president of the Association of American Physicians, the American Heart Association, the Central Society for Clinical Research, and the American Federation for Clinical Research. He was editor-in-chief of the journal Circulation Research from 1981 to 1986 and co-editor of the Handbook of Physiology: Peripheral Circulation and Organ Blood Flow of the American Physiological Society in 1983. He was elected to the membership of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences in 1988, and he received a Doctor of Science (Honoris Causa) from the University of Lyon, France in 1991. In 1992, he became a master of the American College of Physicians. He received an honorary doctor of science degree from the Medical College of Wisconsin in 1994. He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1997 and to its regional council in 2003.

"Dr. Abboud has long been an outstanding leader in academic medicine and a world-class cardiovascular scientist. His contributions to medicine for more than 40 years have brought distinction to him, his colleagues and the University of Iowa," said Jean Robillard, M.D., dean of the UI Carver College of Medicine. "His dedication to building and maintaining one of the top cardiovascular research centers in the nation, along with his talent for training and mentoring other cardiovascular scientists, make him a deserving recipient of this award from the American College of Cardiology."

The American College of Cardiology was chartered in 1949. Its mission is to advocate for quality cardiovascular care -- through education, research promotion, development and application of standards and guidelines -- and to influence health care policy. Fellows of the ACC, the foremost professional society representing heart specialists in the United States and throughout the world, are adult cardiologists, pediatric cardiologists, cardiovascular surgeons, researchers and academicians, or specialists in a cardiovascular-related field. ACC members represent the majority of board-certified U.S. cardiovascular physicians.

Abboud received the award March 9 as part of the ACC Annual Scientific Session 2004 being held in New Orleans.

University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine and UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient care, medical education and research programs and services they provide. Visit UI Health Care online at

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Health Science Relations, 5139 Westlawn, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1178

CONTACT(S): David Pedersen, (319) 335-8032,