What do CV Disease and Estrogen Have in Common? | Cardiology Magazine
Profile | At the age of eight, Suzanne Oparil, MD, FACC, knew that she wanted to study science. Growing up on a dairy farm, she knew she did not want to become a farmer’s wife and decided to pursue a career in medicine.
After attending Cornell University for her undergraduate degree, Oparil was accepted to a variety of medical schools, eventually choosing Columbia University Medical Center. “I settled on Columbia because I thought that it was more clinically oriented toward patients,” she said.
Around the same time that Oparil needed to decide her specialty, her father passed away from heart failure, which led her to choose cardiology.
Between medical school and residency, she moved to Massachusetts and spent time researching in a lab. “I was drawn to the director of the Cardiac Unit at the Massachusetts General Hospital, Edgar Haber, MD, FACC, who was a brilliant scientist with fundamental interest in immunology. He inspired me to have the courage to attack very basic problems in a way that could be tied to specific pathophysiologic processes in cardiovascular disease that were also directly tied to experimental therapeutics,” Oparil said.
Following her fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital, Oparil developed a hypertension program while working as a faculty member at the University of Chicago before moving to University of Alabama at Birmingham. There, she was provided with the resources to expand her hypertension research.
Currently, Oparil’s research is focused on the elusive problem of how the cardiovascular disease benefits of estrogen are lost with age. She explains “if we can figure out those mechanisms, perhaps we can find a way to enhance the cardiovascular health and well-being of women through middle-age and into later life.”
Oparil was awarded the ACC’s Distinguished Scientist, Translational Domain Award at ACC.13 in San Francisco.
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