Elizabeth G. Nabel, director of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health, joined the NHLBI in September 1999 as the Institute's scientific director of clinical research. Previously she had been chief, Division of Cardiology, Director, Cardiovascular Research Center, and professor of internal medicine and physiology at the University of Michigan.
A native of Minneapolis, Minn., Dr. Nabel received her medical education at Cornell University Medical College before moving to Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard University, where she completed an internship and residency and a clinical and research fellowship in cardiovascular medicine.
She joined the faculty at the University of Michigan in 1987 and rose through the ranks, becoming director of the Cardiovascular Research Center in 1992, professor of internal medicine and physiology in 1994, and director of the Division of Cardiology in 1997. While at the University of Michigan, she became internationally recognized for her research in the field of vascular biology and molecular cardiology and for her gene transfer studies of the cardiovascular system.
Dr. Nabel has had a long-standing interest in genetic and cellular therapies for cardiovascular disease, developing techniques for the introduction and expression of recombinant genes into blood vessels in vivo. Her basic research studies led to several clinical gene therapy trials of cardiovascular diseases in the United States and Europe.
Dr. Nabel's career has intertwined basic research and translation to clinical medicine and practice. She has been a champion of the concept "from bench to bedside." Her recent research interests are focused on regulation of vascular growth and the molecular genetics of vascular diseases. Dr. Nabel has investigated the regulation of smooth muscle cell growth by cell cycle regulatory proteins, a process important for the development of atherosclerosis and restenosis.
Her vascular biology lab at NHLBI has characterized the role of the cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitors on vascular proliferation, inflammation and progenitor cells using a variety of genetic tools. These proteins are important negative regulators of vascular smooth muscle cell growth and vascular inflammation, and work from her lab has opened up new avenues for therapeutic targets in the vasculature. The lab has published more than 200 papers, and Dr. Nabel has mentored 42 students and fellows associated with her lab.
Dr. Nabel has received numerous awards, including the Distinguished Achievement Award from the Basic Cardiovascular Sciences Council and the Amgen-Scientific Achievement Award from the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. She is an elected member of the American Society of Clinical Investigation, the Association of American Physicians, and the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences. In 2001, Dr. Nabel received an honorary doctoral degree from the University of Leuven, Leuven, Belgium.
Dr. Nabel is an editorial board member of the New England Journal of Medicine. She has been a reviewing editor for Science and an editorial board member of the Journal of Clinical Investigation. She also served as a consulting editor for Circulation, Circulation Research, and Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology.
Dr. Nabel has served on many American Heart Association committees including: the Board of Directors, the Scientific Publishing Committee (chair); the Atherosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology Council (chair); executive committee of the Basic Cardiovascular Sciences Council, and the Science Advisory and Coordinating Committee. Other national and international leadership roles include president of the North American Vascular Biology Organization, Councilor of the American Society of Clinical Investigation, member of the Board of Directors for the Keystone Symposium, member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Stanley J. Sarnoff Endowment for Cardiovascular Science, and a member of the membership committee of the Institutes of Medicine.