Embargoed until 7 a.m. CT / 8 a.m. ET Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2021
DALLAS, Nov. 3, 2021 – The American Heart Association is presenting its 2021 Distinguished Scientist in Hypertension to Vanderbilt University’s Italo Biaggioni, M.D., Ph.D., FAHA. The Association designates Distinguished Scientist awards in several categories to members who have significantly advanced the understanding of cardiovascular, stroke or brain health in relation to a specific specialty. The 2021 awardees will be honored Scientific Sessions 2021, which will be fully virtual Saturday, Nov. 13 through Monday, Nov. 15, 2021.
Dr. Biaggioni was selected for this honor because of his research in autonomic disorders. He leads the Vanderbilt Autonomic Dysfunction Center, and his team has discovered four congenital disorders of autonomic failure including dopamine ß-hydroxylase (DBH) deficiency, CYB561 deficiency, norepinephrine reuptake deficiency and familial autonomic ganglionopathy. He also showed that droxidopa could restore norepinephrine in DBH deficiency bypassing the enzymatic defect, and he defined the pathophysiological mechanisms of postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome. His research in obesity has shown that hypertension and endothelial dysfunction can be reversed, and insulin resistance can be improved, by sympathetic blockade.
“Dr. Italo Biaggioni is a respected world leader in autonomic pathophysiology and an exceptional clinical scientist,” said Association President Donald M. Lloyd-Jones, M.D., Sc.M., FAHA. “He has made seminal discoveries in the pathophysiology of autonomic disorders and their treatment – improving the lives of countless people worldwide.”
Dr. Biaggioni is professor of medicine and pharmacology, the David Robertson Professor in Autonomic Disorders (endowed chair) and director of the Vanderbilt Autonomic Dysfunction Center at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville. He leads a research team focused on neural (autonomic) and metabolic (adenosine, nitric oxide and angiotensin) interactions in cardiovascular regulation, autonomic disorders and autonomic mechanisms in obesity-related hypertension, which has received continuous funding from the National Institutes of Health for more than 30 years and resulted in more 325 peer-reviewed research publications.
Dr. Biaggioni earned his medical degree from Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia in Lima, Peru, where he also completed his internship and internal medicine residency. He joined Vanderbilt University in 1984 as a research fellow in the department of medicine and pharmacology.
His volunteer leadership roles with the Association include serving as member of the Council for High Blood Pressure Research and the Council on Hypertension, and he was the 2018 Paul Dudley White Awardee, recognizing his research as the highest-ranked abstract of Scientific Sessions, from the Council on Hypertension. His additional accolades include Vanderbilt’s William J. Darby Award for Translational Research and the Hammer Award for IRB Educational Activities from Vice President Albert Gore’s National Partnership for Reinventing Government.
He has also served with various professional organizations including serving as president of the American Autonomic Society, on the Advisory Board of the Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrome Foundation, and with the Association of American Physicians.
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The American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2021 is a premier global exchange of the latest scientific advancements, research and evidence-based clinical practice updates in cardiovascular science for health care professionals worldwide. The three-day meeting will feature more than 500 sessions focused on breakthrough cardiovascular basic, clinical and population science updates in a fully virtual experience Saturday, Nov. 13 through Monday, Nov. 15, 2021. Thousands of leading physicians, scientists, cardiologists, advanced practice nurses and allied health care professionals from around the world will convene virtually to participate in basic, clinical and population science presentations, discussions and curricula that can shape the future of cardiovascular science and medicine, including prevention and quality improvement. During the three-day meeting, attendees receive exclusive access to more than 4,000 original research presentations and can earn Continuing Medical Education (CME), Continuing Education (CE) or Maintenance of Certification (MOC) credits for educational sessions. Engage in Scientific Sessions 2021 on social media via #AHA21.
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