Memorial Wall


Pete Ahrens

E.H. “Pete” Ahrens (1915–2000)

Edward H. “Pete” Ahrens, Jr., proposed the founding of the Journal of Lipid Research, where he was the editor from 1963 to 1969. He showed that saturated and unsaturated fats in the diet had opposite effects on blood cholesterol levels. He conducted research at the center of the debate about how, and whether, dietary change could help people avoid atherosclerosis. He designed studies that are still considered models of clinical research. Dr. Ahrens is also credited with pioneering the use of gas-liquid chromatography in lipid research. He figured out a relatively civilized way to emulsify feces, by having them collected in paint cans and mixed by paint-mixing machines like those in hardware stores. During the 1960s, Dr. Ahrens used that method to conduct studies that measured the liver’s production of cholesterol by comparing the difference between dietary intake and daily excretion. He developed a technique called the sterol balance method that accurately measured that production.
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Petar Alaupovic

Petar Alaupovic, PhD (1923–2014)

Petar Alaupovic, PhD, was known around the world as the father of apolipoproteins. He recognized the functional importance of the protein portion of lipoproteins and, using protein chemistry and immunology, developed a revolutionary classification system based on apolipoproteins and families of apolipoproteins resident on the major density classes of lipoproteins. He recognized and demonstrated the roles of these heterogeneous particles in the metabolism of lipoproteins and in the development of atherosclerosis, thus moving the science beyond the older classifications, which were based on lipid components and size of particles. Over a career that continued past his retirement at age 88 as head of the Lipid and Lipoprotein Laboratory at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, he remained devoted to the importance of basic research as critical to the improvements in prevention and treatment of atherosclerotic disease and in medical care generally. He produced more than 330 scientific papers and supervised more than 20 PhD candidates and 72 postdoctoral fellows.
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Edwin L Bierman, MD

Edwin L. Bierman, MD (1930–1995)

Edwin L. Bierman, MD, contributed significantly to the field of lipidology, namely in physiologic and nutritional regulation of lipoprotein metabolism. He also focused on lipid and lipoprotein disorders in obesity and diabetes, particularly with respect to atherosclerosis. His innovative approach in using human cultured cells to study atherosclerosis made him a well-known expert in his field. As a leader in vascular biology, he founded the highly regarded journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology. He was the first director of the University of Washington’s Northwest Lipid Research Clinic, and the Edwin L. Bierman Professorship of Medicine was established in his honor. He was the chair of the Council on Arteriosclerosis of the American Heart Association for many years, co-discovered broad beta disease, and co-chaired the Committee on Design and Definition of the Lipid Research Clinics Coronary Primary Prevention Trials, where we had many discussions on whether to include the Fredrickson classification of lipid disorders.
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John D. Brunzell, MD

John D. Brunzell, MD (1937–2015)

John D. Brunzell, MD, was an internationally renowned lipidologist and endocrinologist who made significant contributions over four decades at the University of Washington. He studied genetic and acquired disorders of triglyceride and cholesterol metabolism; diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease; and rare genetic disorders of lipoprotein metabolism. His research resulted in more than 300 papers. In 2005 he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the UW General Clinical Research Center, which he directed for eight years. In 2008 he received the Mayo Soley Award from the Western Society for Clinical Investigation. He also helped co-found the North American Association for the Study of Obesity (NAASO), the forerunner of today’s Obesity Society. Dr. Brunzell took great pride in the training of academic physicians, having trained more than 25 metabolism fellows, many of whom now play leadership roles in academic medicine in the U.S. and throughout the world.
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William E. Connor, MD

William E. Connor, MD (1921–2009)

William E. Connor, MD, was a pioneer in diet, lipids, and heart disease. Dr. Connor’s 397 publications span a 53-year research career. They began with a paper on the “idiopathic hyperlipidemia” of patients with coronary artery disease (1956), and ended with his last (2012) on Smith-Lemli-Opitz syndrome (failure to synthesize cholesterol). There is almost no topic in the realm of cholesterol and dietary fat that Dr. Connor did not explore. He was one of the first to study the effects of trans fatty acids on serum lipoproteins in humans (1976), and in later years became fascinated with the role of leutin and xeazanthin in macular degeneration. Of course the arena in which he is perhaps most widely known was omega-3 fatty acids. He explored their effects on human lipid and lipoprotein metabolism, arrhythmias, and brain and eye development. From basic lipid metabolism to clinical medicine, Dr. Connor was the ultimate lipidologist.
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Howard A. Eder, MD

Howard A. Eder, MD (1917–2004)

Howard A. Eder, MD was an internationally renowned investigator of lipid metabolism and disorders and member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences. He was a 1942 graduate of Harvard Medical School who took Internal Medicine training at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital, and subsequently worked at Rockefeller University for several years. He was one of the early investigators to use modern biochemical analyses to study lipid metabolism and protein-lipid interactions in humans, and their relation to the development of atherosclerosis. In recognition of his seminal studies he received the Distinguished Achievement Award from the American Heart Association in 1985 and was a member of man major medical scientific societies, including the American Society for Clinical Investigation, the Royal Society of Medicine and the Association of American Physicians.

Donald S. Fredrickson, MD

Donald S. Fredrickson, MD (1924–2002)

Donald S. Fredrickson, MD, worked with Christian B. Anfinsen Jr. (later Nobel Laureate) and Daniel Steinberg, MD, PhD, on lipid metabolism before developing his own laboratory at the National Institutes of Health. This became known as the Molecular Disease Branch in the National Heart Institute where he demonstrated the existence of the high flow of fatty acids in human blood, and discovered Tangier disease and cholesteryl ester storage disease. In the 1960s as scientific director of the National Heart and Lung Institute, he described a new typing system that allowed clinicians to classify disorders of plasma lipoprotein disorders. As director of the NIH in 1975, he was faced with a tide of research proposals that involved changing the genome of bacteria and higher creatures including mice. The result has been a giant harvest of new information that explains genetic disorders and that provides for creation of very specific and effective new therapeutic agents.
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John W. Gofman, MD, PhD

John W. Gofman, MD, PhD (1918–2007)

John W. Gofman, MD, PhD, was a medical doctor, nuclear chemist, Manhattan Project scientist, co-discoverer of isotopes of uranium and protactinium, and the first to separate plutonium in usable quantities. He fought until the end for policies to disperse plutonium and other radioactivity from the nuclear power/weapons fuel chain into the environment and out of control. He repeatedly stood up to government pressure to suppress the truth about radiation health dangers and set an example for scientific integrity. Dr. Gofman did groundbreaking research in cardiac medicine, identifying and distinguishing what we now commonly refer to as “good” cholesterol and “bad” cholesterol. In May 2007, the Journal of Clinical Lipidology named him the Father of Clinical Lipidology, honoring him for discoveries he made decades ago, which are now mainstream knowledge in the field. With Frank T. Lindgren, PhD, and other research associates, Dr. Gofman helped discover and describe three major classes of plasma lipoproteins.
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Dewitt S. Goodman, MD

Dewitt S. Goodman, MD (1930–1991)

Dewitt S. Goodman, MD, was chairman of the first National Cholesterol Education Program, which was largely responsible for developing the first national guidelines for the treatment of high blood cholesterol levels to prevent coronary artery disease, published in 1988. These guidelines, which went far beyond the then clinical evidence, were the basis of the field now known as preventive cardiology and contributed to the decline in coronary artery disease and premature death during the past 20 years. He was a major figure in lipidology and atherosclerosis for most of the second half of the 20th century. During his more than 30 years on the faculty of Columbia University, he authored more than 300 publications primarily on metabolism of cholesterol and vitamin A. Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons continues to produce outstanding research in lipid and lipoprotein metabolism from the group of investigators that Dr. Goodman recruited and mentored during his tenure.
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Richard Havel, MD

Richard Havel, MD (1925–2016)

Richard Havel, MD, was a world-renowned researcher in the field of lipoproteins and a founding member and the former director of the UC San Francisco (UCSF) Cardiovascular Research Institute (CVRI). Dr. Havel worked at the National Heart Institute from 1953 to 1956, where he initiated his research on lipoproteins and lipid transport. While at the National Heart Institute, Havel developed a preparative ultracentrifugal technique for the isolation of plasma lipoprotein species that was the foundation for a generation of discovery of the biology of lipid transport and of its relationship to atherosclerotic vascular disease. The publication describing this technique is among the most often cited in all of medical bibliography. It led to the definition of many lipid phenotypes still identified today. Dr. Havel served as the CVRI’s director from 1973 until his retirement in 1992. He continued to make major contributions to understanding plasma lipoprotein metabolism and its regulation and importance in human disease throughout his long career.
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Jeffrey M. Hoeg, MD

Jeffrey M. Hoeg, MD (1952–1998)

Jeffrey M. Hoeg, MD, was an extraordinary research scientist and physician who, in the prime of his career, was working in the field of lipoprotein metabolism and atherosclerosis. Dr. Hoeg was described as having a charismatic personality, an infectious smile, and a wonderful sense of humor. He guided each young scientist with great care and insight as their careers blossomed under his tutelage. In addition to being an outstanding investigator, Dr. Hoeg was an excellent physician and was loved by his patients. He had a particular interest in children with familial hypercholesterolemia and played a central role in the development of new and innovative treatment programs for these patients with very high cholesterol levels. He was internationally known for the treatment of familial hypercholesterolemia and patients were referred to his care from around the world.
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Donald B. Hunninghake, MD

Donald B. Hunninghake, MD (1934–2012)

Donald B. Hunninghake, MD’s, life and intellect touched many in the lipidology and cardiology community throughout the world, but his lasting legacy is undoubtedly his advocacy for the wise use of drug therapies to manage dyslipidemias as a means of reducing the burden of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. Dr. Hunninghake helped found and direct the Lipid Research Clinic at the University of Minnesota. This clinic joined with similar clinics across the country to conduct the now world renowned Coronary Primary Prevention Trial published in 1984 — the first randomized controlled trial to demonstrate that lowering blood cholesterol levels in primary prevention adults significantly reduced coronary artery disease events. He also organized and oversaw the Heart Disease Prevention Clinic through which he expressed his interest in the prevention of coronary heart disease via lipid management. This clinic became one of the nation’s leading centers in conducting clinical trials of new drugs for the control of elevated cholesterol levels.
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Roger Illingworth, MD, PhD

Roger Illingworth, MD, PhD (1945–2013)

Roger Illingworth, MD, PhD, went to Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) in Portland, Ore. from Liverpool, England where he earned a PhD in biochemistry. His interests focused on the interaction between nutrition and the plasma lipid profile. Over the course of his career, he became one of a small elite group of thought leaders in this discipline worldwide. He was a member of the National Institutes of Health Nutrition Study section, a member of the Expert panel for the National Cholesterol Education program from its inception, a founding member of the American Board of Clinical Lipidology, and a long serving member of the Endocrine and Metabolic Disorders Advisory committee to the Food and Drug Administration. Dr. Illingworth played a leading role in developing the LDL apheresis treatment modality and created that treatment option at OHSU. He played a central role in the early development of statin therapy for the treatment of arteriosclerosis.
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William B. Kannel, MD, MHD

William B. Kannel, MD, MPH (1923–2011)

William B. Kannel, MD, MPH, and other Framingham Heart Study colleagues contributed in a major way to research knowledge concerning cholesterol levels and heart disease risk in populations using observational data across several decades of follow up. Some examples of topics that were investigated are the levels of cholesterol, triglycerides, and HDL cholesterol as biomarkers of cardiovascular disease risk in diabetic and obese participants, as well as cholesterol and HDL-C as key lipid determinants for the prediction of heart attack risk. Other research focused on the relation between diuretic use and lipid levels, effects of smoking on HDL-C levels, levels of cholesterol in participants who died of cancer, change in lipids, and other risk factors as potential underpinnings of the decline in cardiovascular disease mortality. A major theme throughout this research was the emphasis on blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels that were measured at almost every Framingham Heart Study visit from the late 1940s onward.
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Ancel Keys, PhD

Ancel Keys, PhD (1904–2004)

Ancel Keys, PhD, is an icon in cardiovascular nutrition. He was the first to create an awareness of the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet. He pioneered research that established the hypercholesterolemic effects of dietary saturated fat and is well known for his role in developing K-rations, a major stable of military nutrition in World War II. Dr. Keys’ most significant contribution to science, however, is the Seven Countries Study. A predominant focus of this study was to study how dietary fat influenced blood cholesterol. Dr. Keys conducted many controlled clinical studies designed to evaluate the effects of dietary fats on lipids and lipoproteins. A major contribution he made to the field is developing the “Keys equation” that accurately predicts the effect of different fatty acids on serum cholesterol levels. He showed that saturated fatty acids increased total and LDL-cholesterol twice as much as polyunsaturated fatty acids lowered them.
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Robert H. Knopp, MD

Robert H. Knopp, MD (1930–2010)

Robert H. Knopp, MD, was an accomplished physician, a dedicated teacher, and a prodigious scholar who made numerous and major meritorious contributions in the field of lipid metabolism and related disorders. He was a member of the Division of Metabolism, Endocrinology and Nutrition in the Department of Medicine for 36 years and headed its section at Harborview Medical Center for 17 years. He was an adjunct professor of obstetrics and gynecology and one of the early promoters of heart health for women. In 2008, he was named the first holder of the Robert B. McMillen Professorship in Lipid Research. In 1974 he was recruited to Seattle to be associate director of the Northwest Lipid Research Clinic to lead the UW contribution to the landmark national Coronary Primary Prevention Trial, which was the first multicenter U.S. trial to demonstrate that reduction of circulating levels of total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels could prevent coronary heart disease.
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Peter O. Kwiterovich, MD

Peter O. Kwiterovich, Jr., MD (1940–2014)

Peter O. Kwiterovich, Jr., MD, was a pioneer in preventive cardiology, lipidology, and cardiovascular medicine. He was an internationally known expert on atherosclerotic vascular disease, and the founder and director of the Johns Hopkins University Lipid Clinic. His investigative and clinical work spanned nearly 50 years and defined what normal cholesterol values were for children. He also helped demonstrate the safety of statin therapy in adolescents with familial hypercholesterolemia. His research helped to delay or avert premature disability and death for many thousands of young adults. During the 1980s, Dr. Kwiterovich and his colleague Allan Sniderman, MD, discovered that apolipoprotein B (apoB) was often a better predictor of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) risk than traditional lipid measurements. Dr. Kwiterovich was an outstanding lecturer, teacher, and writer who would emphasize that atherosclerotic lesions begin in childhood and are directly related to traditional CVD risk factors.
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Robert I. Levy, MD

Robert I. Levy, MD (1937–2000)

Robert I. Levy, MD, helped develop a nationwide program designed with 12 universities to obtain more specific data on the distribution of the various lipoprotein disorders in large community studies. This multicenter system organized a trial of cholesterol reduction with a bile acid sequestrant (The Lipid Research Clinics Primary Prevention Trial) that demonstrated that coronary artery disease could be prevented in middle-aged persons with high cholesterol but with no previous evidence of vascular disease. In 1975, he became director of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and guided it through six years of highly productive scientific investigation in lipoprotein metabolism and new means of heart disease prevention. He became president of the Sandoz Research Institute in 1988 and helped develop a new drug for cholesterol reduction, fluvastatin. He was author or co-author of more than 300 scientific articles and helped scores of young scientists develop careers in lipoprotein metabolism, clinical research, and preventive cardiology.
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Frank T. Lindgren, PhD

Frank T. Lindgren, PhD (1924–2007)

Frank Lindgren, PhD, was a scientist and professor whose pioneering work identified cholesterol-transporting lipoproteins and their role in atherosclerosis. After completing his studies at the University of California at Berkeley, he worked alongside Dr. John Gofman at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s Donner Laboratory. It was there that they identified blood lipoproteins as a cause of coronary heart disease and high density lipoproteins as the carrier of “good” cholesterol. Among his other accomplishments, Dr. Lindgren served as a scientific advisor to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health. Later, he helped establish a lipoprotein laboratory in Porto, Portugal and was invited by scientists with the Chinese government to set up a lipoprotein laboratory at the University of Beijing. During his career, Dr. Lindgren authored or coauthored 154 original scientific publications. He is considered by some to be the "Father of Clinical Lipidology".

Gerald M. Reaven, MD

Gerald M. Reaven, MD (1928–2018)

Gerald M. Reaven, MD, could easily be epitomized as the “Father of Insulin Resistance.” He is credited with developing the insulin suppression test, the first quantitative method to measure insulin-mediated glucose uptake in humans. Using this technique, he established the importance of insulin resistance in human disease, and importantly, in type 2 diabetes. Dr. Reaven propounded the theory that central obesity (male-type or apple-shaped obesity), diabetes and hypertension (high blood pressure) have a common cause in insulin resistance and impaired glucose tolerance. Initially titled "syndrome X", the constellation of symptoms is now known as the metabolic syndrome and an object of extensive scientific inquiry, especially given that the combination strongly predisposes for cardiovascular disease.

Gustav Schonfeld, MD

Gustav Schonfeld, MD (1934–2011)

Gustav Schonfeld, MD, made major contributions to the field of lipid research. During his long career, he worked in both laboratory and clinical research; took care of patients; taught, mentored, and collaborated with numerous colleagues; and contributed time and effort to multiple organizations. He is known for his work on apolipoprotein B (apo B) and for extensive work on the structure and function of lipoproteins as well as studies on the effects of hormones on lipoprotein structure and metabolism. He also investigated the effects of lipid-lowering medications on lipoprotein structure and metabolism and was involved in many clinical trials of lipid lowering medications including the landmark Coronary Primary Prevention Trial. Dr. Schonfeld became interested in hypobetalipoproteinemia in the early 1990s and continued work in this area for more than 20 years. He identified various mutations of apo B, which lead to different lengths of this apolipoprotein and the mechanisms involved in hypobetalipoproteinemia.
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Daniel Steinberg, MD, PhD

Daniel Steinberg, MD, PhD (1923–2015)

Daniel Steinberg, MD, PhD, was one of a few founders of the modern fields of cholesterol and atherosclerosis. After completion of his doctoral work, he joined the National Institutes of Health in 1951. Over the next 17 years, Dr. Steinberg headed a creative laboratory that performed fundamental research on lipid and cholesterol metabolism. In 1968, he moved to the University of California, San Diego where he headed the Division of Metabolic Diseases in the School of Medicine. Dr. Steinberg was always a strong proponent of the “cholesterol hypothesis” of atherosclerosis. His influence contributed to the initiation of the Lipid Research Clinics Coronary Primary Prevention Trial. Dr. Steinberg was one of the fathers of the National Cholesterol Education Program, and played an influential role in launching the commercial development of statins to treat hypercholesterolemia. A major part of his legacy, however, is a host of atherosclerosis researchers around the world who trained under his mentorship.
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Roger R. Williams, MD

Roger R. Williams, MD (1944–1998)

Roger R. Williams, MD, founded the Cardiovascular Genetics research clinic at the University of Utah with the goal of “finding, evaluating, and helping persons in coronary-prone pedigrees.” Dr. Williams and his group pioneered methods for family history data collection and analysis that helped define the coronary risk associated with a positive family history and identified key familial traits that often led to early-onset coronary artery disease. The Cardiovascular Genetics group also focused on hypertension and Dr. Williams coined the term “familial dyslipidemic hypertension.” However, Dr. Williams will be most remembered for his later focus on families with familial hypercholesterolemia (FH). Starting with CDC support, he began to explore the most cost-effective methods to identify previously undiagnosed FH patients in Utah. These efforts gave rise to MEDPED: Make Early Diagnoses to Prevent Early Deaths (by tracking MEDical PEDigrees), with the goal to find and help as many people with FH as possible.
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Donald B. Zilversmit, PhD

Donald B. Zilversmit, PhD (1919–2010)

Donald B. Zilversmit, PhD, was recognized as a world leader in lipid research, and was a Dutchborn U.S. nutritional biochemist, researcher, and educator. He spent much of his career at Cornell University as Professor in the Division of Nutritional Sciences. He was the first to explore the turnover rates of phospholipids, using 32P, and among the first to use 14C in the study of glucose and glycogen metabolism. His interest in kinetics continued throughout his career. In the 1960s, he published classic papers showing that most of the cholesterol in atherosclerotic plaques originated in plasma lipoproteins. Later, he carefully quantified the rates of entry of lipoproteins and their component lipids into the normal artery wall. Dr. Zilversmit authored or co-authored more than 300 publications and made major contributions to the understanding of the relationship between diet and cardiovascular disease. He also cofounded the Journal of Lipid Research.
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Publish Date: 
Friday, January 1, 2016 - 01:45

This page was last updated: Nov 07, 2018