Jeffrey Towbin, MD, Earns American Heart Association Basic Research Prize for 2013

Monday, November 25, 2013

Jeffrey Towbin, MD, executive co-director of the Heart Institute at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, has won the 2013 American Heart Association Basic Research Prize. The award recognizes outstanding contributions to the advancement of cardiovascular science and is given annually to a scientist who heads an outstanding cardiovascular basic research laboratory. Dr. Towbin received the award at the annual meeting of the American Heart Association in Dallas.

Dr. Towbin was the first physician/scientist to develop a Pediatric Cardiomyopathy and Heart Failure Program and the first to develop a Cardiovascular Genetics Program. He developed and directed the Pediatric Heart Failure/Transplant Program and the Cardiovascular Genetics Clinic at Cincinnati Children’s in 2009, both of which are currently among the largest and most highly referred programs in the United States.

Dr. Towbin’s work in deciphering the genetic and acquired causes of sudden cardiac death and heart failure, either due to heart muscle disease or cardiac rhythm disorders, has been instrumental in advancing the understanding of these disorders. He has been responsible for the discovery of many of the disease-causing genes and viruses responsible for these disorders. In addition, his work on the treatment of these disorders is helping break new ground in the care of children and young adults, “changing the outcome” for the better for these children and families.

In awarding the prize, Mariell Jessup, MD, president of the American Heart Association, called Dr. Towbin “a highly accomplished pioneer in the fight at the molecular level to banish cardiovascular disease in children. In the late 1980s, Dr. Towbin was a pioneer is adapting molecular genetic methods to address the underlying causes and outlook for pediatric heart failure patients. He conducted some of the first genetic mapping and gene identification studies for dilated and hypertrophic cardiomyopathies and other arrhythmia disorders including sudden death syndrome.”

Dr. Towbin has published approximately 450 peer-reviewed publications and over 80 book chapters, and he has edited five books. He has been awarded many NIH grants with continuous funding over his career, and is the recipient of various other extramural grants, including several grants mentoring students and junior faculty.

Dr. Towbin has also received many honors nationally and internationally, including the 2003 Michael Debakey Excellence in Research Award, the 2007 American College of Cardiology Distinguished Scientist Award, the 2010 American Heart Association Meritorious Achievement Award, the 2011 American College of Cardiology and Journal of the American College of Cardiology Simon Dack Award for Outstanding Scholarship, and the 2008 17th Annual Texas Children’s International Recognition Award. He has given more than 50 named lectures and visiting professorships.

He has played leadership roles in the American College of Cardiology, including chair of the Awards Committee; the American Heart Association, including president of the Houston division; and the American Academy of Pediatrics, including chair of the Program Committee of the Section on Cardiology and Cardiovascular Surgery National Conference and Exhibition. He also is chief of Pediatric Cardiology and the Kindervelt-Samuel Kaplan Chair in Pediatric Cardiology at Cincinnati Children’s, and professor of pediatric cardiology at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine.

About Cincinnati Children’s

Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center ranks third in the nation among all Honor Roll hospitals in U.S.News and World Report’s 2013 Best Children’s Hospitals ranking. It is ranked #1 for cancer and in the top 10 for nine of 10 pediatric specialties. Cincinnati Children’s is one of the top three recipients of pediatric research grants from the National Institutes of Health, and a research and teaching affiliate of the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. The medical center is internationally recognized for improving child health and transforming delivery of care through fully integrated, globally recognized research, education and innovation. Additional information can be found at Connect on the Cincinnati Children’s blog, via Facebook and on Twitter.

Contact Information

Jim Feuer, 513-636-4656