Top research scientist E. Douglas Lewandowski joining Sanford Burnham

Nov 5

Leading cardiometabolic research expert to join Sanford Burnham Prebys in Orlando

Doug Lewandowski will deepen the Institute’s cardiovascular disease expertise and direct Cardiovascular Translational Research.

Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute at Lake Nona (SBP) today announced it has recruited E. Douglas Lewandowski, Ph.D., as professor in the Cardiovascular Metabolism Program and director of Cardiovascular Translational Research. Lewandowski will join the faculty in the Medical City at Lake Nona, Fla., in December 2015. He is among the most preeminent investigators in the world who specialize in the metabolic basis of heart failure, including ischemic heart disease and diabetic cardiomyopathy. He will hold a joint appointment at Florida Hospital as senior principal investigator at the Translational Research Institute for Metabolism and Diabetes (TRI-MD).

“Doug Lewandowski’s pioneering work has unveiled new concepts and therapeutic strategies aimed at the development of heart failure, a worldwide health problem. He will continue this work in Orlando, leading an innovative bench-to-clinic research program at SBP and TRI-MD. His recruitment is transformational for our translational research efforts in the cardiovascular arena,” said Daniel P. Kelly, M.D., Tavistock Distinguished Professor and scientific director, Center for Metabolic Origins of Disease at SBP Lake Nona.

Lewandowski’s contributions to understanding metabolic pathways and fuels that may protect against the high-morbidity, -mortality, and economic health burden of heart failure are recognized as among the most rigorous and field-advancing. He is renowned in the use of nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy to visualize and measure metabolic activity in the intact beating heart in health and disease. His expertise in medical imaging techniques involves manipulation of metabolic activity in the ailing heart with pharmacological agents and targeted gene manipulation.

“Florida Hospital is pleased to have Dr. Lewandowski join our translational research efforts at the TRI-MD. Doug’s recruitment provides another example of how we seek to leverage patient-oriented research to improve the health of our community,” said Steven R. Smith, M.D., Chief Scientific Officer of Florida Hospital.

Lewandowski’s laboratory has successfully identified potential therapeutic targets that result from changes in metabolism as a consequence of pathological stress on the heart, such as chronic hypertension and diabetes. He views the partnership between SBP’s basic research and the TRI’s clinical investigations as an attractive and effective research model that will accelerate the translation of the fundamental mechanisms of heart disease and therapeutic targets toward patient-based studies to identify new treatments, therapeutics, and cures.

“With SBP Lake Nona’s emphasis and existing expertise in cardiometabolic disease, I feel that I can immediately contribute to team science approaches to elucidate fundamental mechanisms of heart and metabolic disease. My focus will be to translate findings in SBP’s laboratories to human studies of the metabolic basis of heart disease at the TRI,” said Lewandowski. “It is this partnership that I anticipate will be a game changer in the way I will be able to implement the translation of my laboratory investigations, and I find this very, very exciting.”

Analyzing the metabolic underpinnings of heart disease is increasingly recognized as one of the most active and prioritized areas of cardiovascular research. Following advances in the early identification of disease risk through genomics, proteomics, metabolomics, and lipodomics, Lewandowski looks forward to advancing preventative approaches and contributing to new treatment protocols that mitigate the progression of heart disease, particularly in the development of heart failure, for which only support and no cure currently exists.

Since 2000, Lewandowski held the position of professor in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics, the Department of Medicine (cardiology), and director of the Program in Integrative Cardiac Metabolism at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). Since 2010, he has been director of the Center for Cardiovascular Research at UIC. He has published over 60 research papers. Lewandowski’s research contributions have been recognized with numerous awards and he has been continually funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) since 1993 and has received an NIH MERIT award. He is a Fellow of the American Heart Association, Fellow of the American Physiological Society, and Fellow of the International Society for Heart Research.

Previously, Dr. Lewandowski spent a decade on the faculty at Harvard Medical School with hospital appointments at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, Mass., and earlier at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. Lewandowski received his Ph.D. at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas, an M.S. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a B.A. from the University of Chicago in 1979 as an Argonne National Laboratory Scholar.