The American Heart Association will present the 2021 Distinguished Scientist in Hypertension and Kidney and Cardiovascular Disease to Ernesto L. Schiffrin, M.D., Ph.D., FAHA. The Association designates Distinguished Scientist awards in several categories to members who have significantly advanced the understanding of cardiovascular, stroke or brain health in relation to that specialty. The 2021 awardees will be honored Scientific Sessions 2021, which will be fully virtual, Saturday, Nov. 13 through Monday, Nov. 15, 2021.

Dr. Schiffrin was selected for the Distinguished Science award to recognize his nearly 40 years of research that has contributed to our understanding of the pathophysiology of hypertension, cardiovascular disease and vascular biology. His early work identified smooth muscle cell angiotensin receptors and their intracellular signaling and molecular pathways that lead to oxidative stress in hypertension. He also discovered the role of atrial natriuretic peptide in regulating aldosterone secretion, which led to the first report on the role of natriuretic peptides as a biomarker of heart failure in humans. This approach is now widely used to evaluate severity of heart failure in patients. He was among the first to implicate the immune system in the pathophysiology of hypertension. Dr. Schiffrin also demonstrated the protective role of some antihypertensive medications on blood vessels of hypertensive patients, which led in part to his discovery of the benefits of the association of an angiotensin receptor blocker and a neprilysin inhibitor on the blood vessels and the heart in experimental hypertension. This finding eventually resulted in the development of a highly effective medication for heart failure.

“Throughout his dedicated career, Dr. Schiffrin’s pioneering research has been the foundation for numerous advances in clinical care for cardiovascular disease, particularly hypertension and heart failure,” said Association President Donald M. Lloyd-Jones, M.D., Sc.M., FAHA. “We are grateful for his past 45+ years as a clinician scientist who has made a lasting impact on hypertension and cardiovascular disease care for millions of people around the world.”

Dr. Schiffrin currently serves in numerous roles, including physician-in-chief at the Jewish General Hospital, director of the Hypertension and Vascular Research Unit at the Lady Davis Institute, and Distinguished James McGill Professor and associate chair in the department of medicine at McGill University. Previously, he was professor of medicine at the University of Montreal, director of the Medical Research Council of Canada (now the Canadian Institutes of Health Research) Multidisciplinary Hypertension Group at the Institut de Recherches Cliniques de Montréal and a physician at Hôtel-Dieu Hospital.

Dr. Schiffrin was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and earned his doctor of medicine at Buenos Aires Medical School and a Ph.D. in experimental medicine at McGill University.

His many years of volunteer leadership with the American Heart Association includes serving as chair of the Council on Hypertension, and he was previously recognized with the Association’s 2007 Irvine Page-Alva Bradley Lifetime Achievement Award and the 2011 Excellence Award in Hypertension Research, both from the Association’s Council on Hypertension.

Dr. Schiffrin has held numerous professional leadership roles including serving as the president of the Canadian Hypertension Society; president of the InterAmerican Society of Hypertension; president of the International Society of Hypertension; and president of Hypertension Canada. Recognition of his work includes being named a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada; Member of the Order of Canada; the Björn Folkow Award from the European Society of Hypertension; the Robert Tigerstedt Award from the American Society of Hypertension; the Distinguished Scientist Award from the  Canadian Cardiovascular Society; the Margolese National Prize on Heart Disorders; the Prix Galien Recherche Award; and a Distinguished Fellow and the Franz Volhard Award and Lectureship from the International Society of Hypertension. Dr. Schiffrin is also a fellow of the American College of Physicians and the Royal College of Physicians of Canada.

Dr. Schiffrin is the author of 615 peer-reviewed publications and many book chapters, and he is the editor of 4 books on molecular and clinical aspects of vascular disease and hypertension. He is currently the editor-in-chief of the American Journal of Hypertension, was previously associate editor of Hypertension and has served on the editorial board for Circulation Research. (Note: Hypertension and Circulation Research are published by the American Heart Association.)

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The American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2021 is a premier global exchange of the latest scientific advancements, research and evidence-based clinical practice updates in cardiovascular science for health care professionals worldwide. The three-day meeting will feature more than 500 sessions focused on breakthrough cardiovascular basic, clinical and population science updates in a fully virtual experience Saturday, Nov. 13 through Monday, Nov. 15, 2021. Thousands of leading physicians, scientists, cardiologists, advanced practice nurses and allied health care professionals from around the world will convene virtually to participate in basic, clinical and population science presentations, discussions and curricula that can shape the future of cardiovascular science and medicine, including prevention and quality improvement. During the three-day meeting, attendees receive exclusive access to more than 4,000 original research presentations and can earn Continuing Medical Education (CME), Continuing Education (CE) or Maintenance of Certification (MOC) credits for educational sessions. Engage in Scientific Sessions 2021 on social media via #AHA21.

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