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Weintraub recruited to MCG to spur translational science in cardiovascular disease

By   /   March 1, 2013  /   Comments

Special to the Journal

AUGUSTA, Ga. – Dr. Neal L. Weintraub, Director of the Division of Cardiovascular Diseases at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, has been recruited to hold the Herbert S. Kupperman Endowed Chair in Cardiovascular Science in the Department of Medicine at the Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Regents University.

Dr. Neal L. Weintraub

Weintraub, a cardiologist, physician-scientist and biotech entrepreneur, also has been named Associate Director of the MCG Vascular Biology Center.

He joins the faculty in May to help enhance the translation of basic science discoveries to better care for patients with cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death in the United States and Georgia.

“Neal’s recruitment signifies the desire of the Department of Medicine, MCG and GRU to be more translational in applying our outstanding basic science findings to our exceptional clinical care to find still better ways to prevent and treat cardiovascular disease,” said Dr. Michael Madaio, Chair of the MCG Department of Medicine. “He comes to us with great experience and great success in translational cardiovascular science at the University of Cincinnati and the opportunity to replicate that success on a larger scale at our university.”

MCG’s cardiovascular research programs are ranked 11th nationally in American Heart Association funding and have significant support from the National Institutes of Health. Weintraub will help partner basic scientists with the college’s cardiologists and cardiovascular surgeons to generate clinical trials that advance patient care in Georgia and beyond, Madaio said.

“Neal will work like a thread to pull together an already terrific lineup of scientists and clinicians at MCG and Georgia Regents University,” said Dr. Peter F. Buckley, MCG Dean. “The strengthened bond  will strengthen our fight against the number-one killer in our state and nation.”

“Disease of the heart and blood vessels are a primary focus of our university and Health System,” said David S. Hefner,  GRU Executive Vice President for Clinical Affairs  and Chief Executive Officer for  Georgia Regents Medical Center and Medical Associates.  “Neal’s recruitment helps ensure that we remain innovative and inspired in our care.”

”Neal brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in the field of atherosclerosis and aneurysm diseases,” said Dr. M. Vinayak Kamath,  Robert G. Ellison Distinguished Chair of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Director of Heart and Cardiovascular Health Services and Chief of the MCG Section of Cardiothoracic Surgery. “He also has special interest in genes related to obesity that will complement work in progress at GRU.”

“Neal is an ideal candidate to bring together the strengths of the clinical program and the laboratory scientists at our institution,” said Dr. Sheldon Litwin, Chief of the MCG Section of Cardiology. “We believe that through his leadership, we will be positioned to bring the most promising basic science findings into the clinical arena in a meaningful time frame.”

Weintraub’s research and clinical interests includes vascular biology and physiology, inflammation, ischemia/reperfusion injury, aortic disease and heart failure.  He also works to increase public awareness of heart conditions such as aortic dissection, a potentially lethal tear in the largest blood vessel in the body, which drew attention when it killed actor John Ritter a decade ago.

He is Co-Founder and Chief Medical Officer of Cardioception, LLC., a biotech company established in Cincinnati in 2010 that is utilizing the skin’s natural protective functions to develop innovative therapies for limiting heart damage in the setting of a heart attack.  The therapy is directed against reperfusion injury, which occurs at the time a blocked artery is opened and oxygenated blood flows to vulnerable heart tissue.  Cardioception is exploring the use of chemicals and electricity to prevent  this type of injury.

Weintraub chairs the National Institutes of Health Atherosclerosis and Inflammation of the Cardiovascular Study Section and has been a member of that group since 2008.  He chaired an American Heart Association Writing Committee that developed a scientific statement on acute treatment of heart failure.  Also, he is President of the Central Society for Clinical Research, an academic medical society in the Midwest. Weintraub is on the editorial board of the journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology.

He is Co-Director of the Cardiovascular Center of Excellence at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and has been ranked among the Best Doctors in America and Cincinnati’s Best Doctors for five consecutive years.

Weintraub , whose family helped found the city of Albany, Ga., has always dreamed of returning to his home state and working  at the alma mater of many fine Albany physicians he has known since childhood.

He is a graduate of Tulane University School of Medicine. He completed a residency at Emory University and the University of Illinois and a clinical cardiovascular fellowship and research postdoctoral fellowship at Saint Louis University.

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