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University of Iowa News Release


Oct. 24, 2006

NOTE TO EDITORS: This release includes text provided by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC).

Abboud Will Receive AAMC Distinguished Research Award

Francois Abboud, M.D., the Edith King Pearson Chair of Cardiovascular Research and University of Iowa associate vice president for research, is the 2006 recipient of the Award for Distinguished Research in the Biomedical Sciences from the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC).

The AAMC award, established in 1947, recognizes outstanding clinical or laboratory research conducted by a medical school faculty member. Abboud, who also is a professor in the UI Department of Internal Medicine and Department of Physiology and Biophysics, and director of the UI Cardiovascular Research Center, will be honored at the AAMC annual meeting Oct. 28 in Seattle.

Abboud is internationally recognized for his research focused on identifying the causes of, and treatments for, heart disease. In particular, his studies have explored the brain's effects on the cardiovascular system, especially in relation to heart attacks, high blood pressure, stroke, heart failure, sleep apnea and obesity.

"Dr. Abboud's impact on the college and the university has been truly remarkable and continues even today," said Jean Robillard, M.D., dean of the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine. "This distinguished honor from the AAMC is a testament to his dedication to scientific discovery and his commitment to his patients as well as his colleagues, students, residents and fellows. I am delighted and proud that he has been selected for this award."

Fifty years ago, when Abboud began studying neural control of the circulation, the subject was considered a physiological curiosity with no clinical significance. Abboud, however, established its significance and thus helped transform the field of cardiovascular research. His leadership of an internationally renowned research center and influence as a medical educator and mentor has made Abboud one of academic medicine's most prominent figures.

Abboud is recognized for his discovery that the heart plays a major role as a neurosensory organ, a finding that has advanced scientific understanding about autonomic control of circulation. As a result, biomedical researchers know more about the interplay between the nervous system and the heart, and doctors can better treat heart disease, obstructive sleep apnea and high blood pressure. Abboud "epitomized the best in translational research by physician scientists before it was even known as translational research," Robillard noted.

Abboud also is widely known for pioneering the use of multidisciplinary teams in cardiovascular research. His success in this area is reflected in the numerous research teams he has led, and by the long-running federal support he has received for his work. One example is the UI Cardiovascular Research Center's Interdisciplinary Cardiovascular Research Fellowship, established in 1975, which earlier this year received its sixth competitive renewal of $4.7 million. This NIH grant supports 15 postdoctoral research trainees each year. Over the past 30 years, more than 300 cardiovascular scientists and cardiologists have received research training through this program.

Abboud has been principal investigator of a major National Institutes of Health (NIH) program since 1971. The research program is one of the longest-running program project grants under the same principal investigator funded by 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.

His many significant contributions to cardiovascular science have earned Abboud numerous national and international honors, including the CIBA Award and Medal of the Council on High Blood Pressure Research of the American Heart Association and the Robert H. Williams Distinguished Chairman of Medicine Award by the Association of Professors of Medicine. He has served on the editorial boards of numerous academic publications and is former editor-in-chief of the journal Circulation Research. In addition to the recognition he has received for his accomplishments as a researcher and physician, Abboud also is highly regarded for his teaching and mentoring skills. During his career at the UI, Abboud has trained and mentored many physician-scientists who have gone on to become notable cardiovascular researchers and clinicians.

Born in Cairo, Egypt, Abboud earned a medical degree from Aims Chams University in Cairo and completed residency training in internal medicine at Marquette University in Milwaukee. A UI faculty member since 1960, Abboud served as head of the Department of Internal Medicine from 1976 to 2002. He has directed the UI Cardiovascular Research Center since 1975, during which time it has become one of the most prestigious centers for cardiovascular research and training.

Abboud has served as president of several major professional associations in his field, including the American Heart Association and the Association of American Physicians, and he is an elected member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies of Science and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

More information about Abboud and a list of past recipients of the Award for Distinguished Research in the Biomedical Sciences is available on the AAMC Web site at

The Association of American Medical Colleges is a nonprofit association representing all 125 accredited U.S. and 17 accredited Canadian medical schools; nearly 400 major teaching hospitals and health systems, including 68 Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers; and 96 academic and scientific societies. Through these institutions and organizations, the AAMC represents 109,000 faculty members, 67,000 medical students and 104,000 resident physicians. Additional information about the AAMC and U.S. medical schools and teaching hospitals is available at

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Health Science Relations, 5135 Westlawn, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1178

EDIA CONTACTS: David Pedersen, 319-335-8032,; Nicole Buckley, AAMC, 202-828-0041,