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University of Iowa News Release


April 24, 2009

Abboud selected for Kober Medal in recognition of achievements

Francois Abboud, M.D., University of Iowa faculty member, has been selected to receive the highest award in academic internal medicine -- the 2009 George M. Kober Medal from the Association of American Physicians.

The award is named after George Kober, M.D., a pioneer in public health reform in the late 1800s and early 1900s, and recognizes physicians who are leaders in internal medicine.

Abboud, UI professor of internal medicine and molecular physiology and biophysics, is a researcher, educator and clinician with a nearly 50-year career at the UI and a record of leadership in his profession. His work has contributed to the understanding and management of cardiovascular disease and stroke, and he pioneered the use of multidisciplinary research teams.

Abboud will receive the award April 26 at the joint meeting of the Association of American Physicians and the American Society for Clinical Investigation. The award will be presented to Abboud by UI colleague Michael Welsh, M.D., who also will deliver the annual Kober lecture, on "Pursuing Cystic Fibrosis," at the association's meeting. The honor of presenting the lecture is given to a distinguished member who, as in the case of the medal honoree, has significantly contributed to advancements in the medical sciences.

"Dr. Abboud's storied career has been marked by his unflagging commitment and leadership both to Iowa and his field," said Jean Robillard, M.D., UI vice president for medical affairs. "Frank has set high standards for patient care, education and research -- and brought excellence to all endeavors. Without his contributions, cardiovascular medicine at large and at the UI would not be where it is today. His great work will always be reflected in this institution and the field of cardiovascular research."

Abboud, who also holds the Edith King Pearson Chair of Cardiovascular Research at the UI, is founder and director of the UI Cardiovascular Research Center. He served as head of the UI Department of Internal Medicine for 26 years, from 1976 until 2002. The department, which is the largest department at the university, developed lasting national recognition during his tenure, especially for its intensive research focus. Abboud also is UI associate vice president for research and a past president of the Association of American Physicians.

"Dr. Abboud's foresight about the value of interdisciplinary work and his ability to foster collaborative partnerships has been of utmost importance to advancing cardiovascular research overall and certainly at the University of Iowa. Frank is receiving a truly well-deserved recognition," said Paul Rothman, M.D., dean of the UI Carver College of Medicine.

Among his many achievements, Abboud heads the "Integrative Neurobiology of Cardiovascular Regulation" program at the UI. The program recently received its eighth consecutive five-year grant renewal and is one of the longest continuously funded research programs under the direction of the same principal investigator supported by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

The research effort focuses on finding how and why errors in the brain and nervous system cause heart and circulatory problems, including heart attacks, high blood pressure, heart failure, stroke and obesity. Abboud earlier discovered that the heart plays a major role as a neurosensory organ.

His studies have 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, which is a condition that causes loss of consciousness due to a drop in blood pressure.

In addition to his past presidency with the Association of American Physicians, Abboud's leadership accomplishments include having served as president of the American Clinical and Climatological Association, the American Federation for Clinical Research, the Central Society for Clinical Research and the American Heart Association, which also named him a Distinguished Scientist for 2007.

To learn more about Abboud and his achievements visit

Welsh, a professor of internal medicine and molecular physiology and biophysics who holds the Roy J. Carver Chair in Internal Medicine and Physiology and Biophysics, is also director of the UI Cystic Fibrosis Research Center and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator. He recently was named director of the UI Institute for Biomedical Discovery.

The two most recent Kober medal recipients are kidney disease and national health policy expert Samuel Thier, M.D., professor emeritus of medicine and health care policy at Harvard Medical School, and immunologist and AIDS researcher Anthony Fauci, M.D., director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases of the National Institutes of Health.

The Kober medal's sponsor, the Association of American Physicians, was established in 1885 to advance medical knowledge through basic and clinical science and their application to clinical practice. Learn more at



STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Health Care Media Relations, 5137 Westlawn, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1178

MEDIA CONTACT: Becky Soglin, 319-335-6660,