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University of Iowa News Release


Nov. 13, 2007

Abboud, Heistad honored by American Heart Association

Francois Abboud, M.D., and Donald Heistad, M.D., cardiovascular medicine specialists and faculty members in the Iowa Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine, received major awards from the American Heart Association (AHA) at its 2007 Scientific Sessions Nov. 4-7 in Orlando, Fla.

Abboud, the Edith King Pearson Chair in Cardiovascular Research and professor in the UI Departments of Internal Medicine and Molecular Physiology and Biophysics, was named an AHA Distinguished Scientist for 2007. The award is presented to prominent AHA members whose work has advanced the understanding and management of cardiovascular disease and stroke.

Abboud, director of the Cardiovascular Research Center in the UI Carver College of Medicine, is recognized for his discovery that the heart plays a major role as a neurosensory organ, a finding that has advanced scientific understanding of autonomic control of circulation. Abboud's studies have given researchers advanced knowledge about the interplay between the nervous system and the heart, enabling doctors to better treat heart disease, obstructive sleep apnea, high blood pressure and neurocardiogenic syncope (loss of consciousness due to a drop in blood pressure). Abboud is also widely known for pioneering the use of multidisciplinary teams in cardiovascular research.

Heistad, the Zahn Professor of Cardiology in the UI Department of Internal Medicine, received the 2007 Distinguished Achievement Award from the AHA's Council on Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology (ATVB). The award is given to an ATVB council member who has made substantial contributions to the organization and to the field.

Heistad, who also holds an academic appointment in the UI Department of Pharmacology and is a researcher and staff physician at the Veterans Affairs Iowa City Health Care System, is highly regarded for his research in cerebral circulation, gene therapy to prevent blood vessel damage, and the effects of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), hypertension and diabetes on blood vessels.

Abboud and Heistad are both longtime UI faculty members -- since 1960 and 1970, respectively -- and both have fostered careers that are characterized by their commitments to research, patient care, medical education and residency training, and professional service.

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

MEDIA CONTACT: David Pedersen, Health Science Relations, 319-335-8032,