2013 Distinguished Achievement Award Winner

Michael Gimbrone, M.D.

Michael Gimbrone

Introductory remarks of Dr. Fredrick J. Schoen

I am so pleased that Michael A. Gimbrone, Jr. is receiving the 2013 Society for Cardiovascular Pathology Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award. As a long-term colleague and collaborator, I am delighted to introduce him for this lecture. Dr. Gimbrone is a pioneer and leading investigator in vascular biology, who is widely recognized for his immense contributions to the initiation and scientific and conceptual development of the discipline. Moreover, and importantly, he has shown immense leadership throughout his career in fostering a broad multidisciplinary academic environment in our department locally and far beyond, in which the highest academic standards converge with highly talented young people and key opportunities to promote career and personal success.

Dr. Gimbrone received his A.B. degree from Cornell University and his M.D. degree from Harvard Medical School in 1970. During his medical studies he pursued research in the Department of Anatomy at Harvard Medical School, learning ultrastructural anatomy and cell biology with Donald Fawcett. After completing an Internship at the Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, and a Research Fellowship at the Children's Hospital Medical Center, Boston, with Dr. Judah Folkman, he served as a Staff Associate at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland. He then returned to the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston for residency training in Pathology and subsequently rose through the academic ranks from Instructor to Professor of Pathology at Harvard Medical School in 1985. In 1976, he established the Vascular Pathophysiology Research Laboratory. In 1998, he was named the first Director of the Center for Excellence in Vascular Biology at the Brigham and Women's Hospital/Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Gimbrone's research has focused on the cellular and molecular mechanisms of vascular disease, in particular the role of the endothelial cell in complex disease processes such as angiogenesis, atherosclerosis, thrombosis and inflammation. Indeed, Michael's lecture today in honor of his Award is most appropriate to the focus of this session on Angiogenesis. In 1967 he sought out one of his first mentors, the young surgeon, Judah Folkman, and with whom he ultimately developed a rabbit cornea model and confirmed the capacity of tumors to secrete diffusible angiogenic factors that they needed to recruit new blood vessels in order for them to grow wild. With Dr. Folkman and another key mentor, Ramzi Cotran, Dr. Gimbrone was among the first to establish reproducible methods for the in vitro culture of endothelium and smooth muscle from human blood vessels. This platform permitted him to begin his lifelong scientific quest (and the development of an active and worldwhile line of research): to utilize the tools of modern cell biology and molecular biology to dissect the functions of vascular cells, especially endothelium, in health and disease. His laboratory subsequently discovered inducible endothelial-leukocyte adhesion molecules important in inflammation and atherogenesis. Most recently his group has focused on the molecular mechanisms linking biomechanical stimulation and endothelial genetic regulation in atherogenesis. This has led to the discovery of "athero-protective genes" that provide potential therapeutic targets for the prevention of heart attacks and strokes, and dissection of the mechanisms of athero-protective functions is a current major effort in the Gimbrone laboratory.

Dr. Gimbrone has published more than 250 research articles, book chapters and reviews in vascular biology. He was founding President of the North American Vascular Biology Organization (NAVBO). Among many honors and achievements, he has received the Basic Research Prize from the American Heart Association, a MERIT Award from the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, the Cardiovascular Research Lifetime Achievement Award from the Bristol-Myers Squibb Institute, the Earl Benditt Lifetime Achievement Award in Vascular Biology from NAVBO, the Warner-Lambert Parke Davis Award in Experimental Pathology (FASEB), and the King Faisal International Prize in Medicine. He has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences (USA), the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences.

Michael stepped down one year ago from approximately a decade as Chairman of the Department of Pathology at the Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts (USA) and Ramzi S. Cotran Professor of Pathology at Harvard Medical School. For much of that decade he served as the HMS Academic Dean for Partners Healthcare Systems and a member of the Council of Academic Deans at HMS. He continues to serves as the BWH Director of the Center for Excellence in Vascular Biology.

It is highly appropriate that Michael follows other pioneering Vascular Biologists who previously received the Distinguished Achievement Award of the Society for Cardiovascular Pathology, including Earl Benditt (1989), Guido Majno (1990), Ramzi Cotran (1997) and Russell Ross (1998).