National Expert on Molecular Biology of Cardiovascular Disease Returns to URMC as Chief of Cardiology

October 09, 1998

Bradford C. Berk, M.D., Ph.D., a nationally recognized expert on the molecular biology and genetics of cardiovascular disease, has been appointed chief of Cardiology at the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) and director of the Center for Cardiovascular Research, a component of the Aab Institute of Biomedical Sciences. He has also been named Paul Yu Professor of Cardiology, an endowed position named after a national figure in Cardiology who served URMC for many years. Previously, Berk was director of both Cardiovascular Research and the Cardiovascular Fellowship Training Program at the University of Washington in Seattle.

"As a respected expert on the molecular biology of vascular disease at a genetic level, Dr. Berk is one of the nation’s leaders in NIH-funded cardiovascular research," said Jay H. Stein, M.D., senior vice president and vice provost for Health Affairs at the University of Rochester Medical Center. "His appointment positions the University of Rochester as a national player in this discipline."

In his new role, Berk will expand and develop new clinical services for patients with cardiovascular disease while augmenting research programs to advance the understanding and therapy of the illness. He brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to his new role at URMC, including research focused on vascular smooth muscle and endothelium which has been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health since 1986.

Berk’s current NIH-funded research includes studies on: the role of sodium in high blood pressure; the mechanisms which make blood vessels sense changes in blood flow; how oxidative stress promotes inadequate circulation causing ischemic heart disease and, conversely, how antioxidants such as vitamins E and C protect the vessel. He is also studying hormones such as angiotensin II and nitric oxide that regulate both the structure and function of blood vessels. Additionally, he is studying genetic influences on the structure of blood vessels.

Berk earned his undergraduate degree from Amherst College, and both his medical and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. He completed his medical residency at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Berk has received many academic honors including election to Phi Beta Kappa, Alpha Omega Alpha, and the American Society for Clinic Investigation. He earned several prizes including the Robert Kates Memorial Prize in Research, the Doran Stephens Prize, the American Society for Hypertension Marion Young Scholar Award, the American College of Cardiology Young Investigator Award and he was a Katz Prize finalist of the American Heart Association. He is also involved in multiple professional committees and editorial boards.

Berk succeeds William Hood, M.D., who retired from the position in January. Richard Pomerantz, M.D., remains as chief of Clinical Cardiology.

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