2011 Distinguished Achievement Award Winner

Gaetano Thiene M.D.

Gaetano Thiene

Gaetano Thiene M.D. is Professor of Pathology and Consultant of Cardiovascular Pathology, Department of Medical Diagnostic Sciences and Special Therapies at the University of Padua Medical School, Padua, Italy. He was Director of the Institute of Pathological Anatomy at the University of Padua from 1998-2006.

Following graduation from the Medical School at the University of Padua, Dr. Thiene trained as both a Cardiologist (University of Padua) and a Pathologist (University of Trieste). He is Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians in London, U.K., Foreign Member of the Serbian Academy of Science and Arts in Beograd, Serbia, Corresponding Member of the Galileian Academy in Padua and Vice-President of the Olympic Academy in Vicenza, Italy.

His research interests have been across the broad fields of Cardiovascular Medicine and Pathology, particularly directed to clinicopathologic studies and clinical translation of basic research. Dr Thiene first reported Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Cardiomyopathy (ARVC) as a major cause of sudden death in the young and in athletes (NEJM 1988) and has contributed to the elucidation of the genetic basis for ARVC. He is a principal architect of the Italian program in which all young individuals who participate in sports activities are screened for potential cardiovascular problems and in which all sudden unexpected deaths in the young are formally investigated by expert cardiovascular pathologists. This is the most successful such screening program in the world and it has led to major advances in understanding the causes of sudden death in the young. It resulted in a sharp decline (by 90%) of sudden death in the athletes of the Veneto Region, Italy, thanks to identification and disqualification of young people affected by cardiomyopathies. Dr. Thiene has been and continues to be a true visionary in this field.

Dr. Thiene has been the leader of the group in Padua which has worked at the interface between pathology and genetics in the cardiomyopathies and has identified several disease-causing mutations, correlating them with the clinical and pathological features of the disease. He has given important contributions to defining clinicopathologic correlations in heart valve disease and in the pathology of tissue valve substitutes, including the initial observation that calcification in human bioprostheses was initiated in cells. Dr. Thiene has made other contributions to congenital heart disease, molecular genetics and pathology of myocarditis, coronary artery disease, arrhythmias and conduction system disease, cardiac tumors, the use of the endomyocardial biopsy and cardiac transplantation.

Up to October 31st 2010, he has published nearly 700 reports of original investigations and reviews in Index leading journals of pathology and cardiovascular medicine, and additionally is co-author and/or co-editor of 15 monographs. His papers collected an overall Impact Factor of 2826 and 14083 quotations, with an Hirch index of 52 from 1996.

Dr. Thiene is Associate Editor of Cardiovascular Pathology and of the Journal of Heart Valve Disease, and serves on the Editorial Board and/or acts as reviewer of other prestigious journals in cardiology, medicine and pathology.

Moreover, Dr. Thiene has been a tireless champion of and participant in the Society for Cardiovascular Pathology (SCVP), of Cardiovascular Pathology as a subspecialty as well as of international cooperation. He has been a major driver of the Association for European CardioVascular Pathology (AECVP) and has motivated young people in Europe to enter the field of Cardiovascular Pathology, training several as a direct mentor.

More generally he has led the definition of educational and training requirements for Cardiovascular Pathology. He is Past-President of the SCVP (2003-05) and of the AECVP (2004-06). As immediate past SCVP Program Chair, he “revitalized” the Sunday Companion Society meetings in conjunction with the USCAP and he initiated a topical Saturday afternoon session of specific interest to Cardiovascular Pathologists.