James T. Willerson, MD, FACC

President and Medical Director: Texas Heart Institute,
Edward Randall III Professor in Internal Medicine,
The University of Texas Health Science Center
(Houston, Texas)

James T. Willerson is the President and Medical Director, Director of Cardiology Research, and Co-Director of the Cullen Cardiovascular Research Laboratories at the Texas Heart Institute (THI) and is immediate past President of The University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston (UTHSCH). Dr. Willerson holds the Edward Randall III Professor of Internal Medicine at The UT Medical School at Houston, the Dunn Chair in Cardiology Research at THI, the Willerson/O’Quinn Chair at THI, the “James T. Willerson, MD Distinguished Chair in Cardiovascular Diseases” at The UT SW Medical School in Dallas, and has a swimming scholarship named for him at UT Austin.

Dr. Willerson is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of UT Austin, was a four-year swimming letterman, a member of the Texas Cowboys of UT Austin, an AOA graduate of the Baylor College of Medicine, and he received his post graduate training at Harvard Medical School (HMS) and the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) in Boston. Dr. Willerson is a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Science. As the longest-serving Editor-in-Chief of Circulation, journal of the AHA, his tenure lasted 11 years. In addition to having served on numerous editorial boards for professional publications, he has edited or co-edited twenty-four textbooks, including his signature textbook, the Third Edition of Cardiovascular Medicine, released in February of 2007, and he has published over 920 scientific articles.

Dr. Willerson’s research concentrates on the detection and treatment of unstable atherosclerotic plaques, and the discovery of the genes and abnormal proteins responsible for cardiovascular disease. In addition, Dr. Willerson and colleagues, Dr. Emerson Perin and Ed T.H. Yeh, have been directly involved in seminal research in the use of stem cells for the repair of hearts and cardiovascular vessels injured by heart attacks and heart failure, and they are responsible for major discoveries, landmark publications, and for Texas Heart Institute’s being awarded the first FDA-approved clinical trial in the use of stem cells. The

Texas Heart Institute (www.texasheart.org), founded by world-renowned cardiovascular surgeon Dr. Denton A. Cooley in 1962, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to reducing the devastating toll of cardiovascular disease through innovative and progressive programs in research, education and improved patient care. The Texas Heart Institute is also affiliated with the University of Texas (UT) System, which promotes collaboration in cardiovascular research and education among UT and THI faculty at the Texas Heart Institute and other UT components.

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