Lederman Lecture: Dr. Victor J. Dzau

Dr. Victor J. Dzau

President of the National Academy of Medicine (NAM)

Victor J. Dzau, M.D.,  is the President of the National Academy of Medicine (NAM), formerly the Institute of Medicine (IOM). In addition, he serves as Vice Chair of the National Research Council. Dr. Dzau is Chancellor Emeritus and James B. Duke Professor of Medicine at Duke University and the past President and CEO of the Duke University Health System. Previously, Dr. Dzau was the Hershey Professor of Theory and Practice of Medicine and Chairman of Medicine at Harvard Medical School’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital, as well as Chairman of the Department of Medicine at Stanford University.

He is an internationally acclaimed leader and scientist whose work has improved health care in the United States and globally. His seminal work in cardiovascular medicine and genetics laid the foundation for the development of the class of lifesaving drugs known as ACE inhibitors, used globally to treat hypertension and heart failure. Dr. Dzau pioneered gene therapy for vascular disease and was the first to introduce DNA decoy molecules to block transcriptions in humans in vivo. His pioneering research in cardiac regeneration led to the Paracrine Hypothesis of stem cell action and his recent strategy of direct cardiac reprogramming using microRNA. He maintains an active NIH-funded research laboratory.

In his role as a leader in health care, Dr. Dzau has led efforts in innovation to improve health, including the development of the Duke Translational Medicine Institute, the Duke Global Health Institute, the Duke-National University of Singapore Graduate Medical School, and the Duke Institute for Health Innovation. He has served as a member of the Advisory Committee to the Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), chaired the NIH Cardiovascular Disease Advisory Committee and currently chairs the NIH Cardiovascular Stem Cell Biology and Translational Consortia. Currently, he is a member of the Board of the Singapore Health System, member of the Health Biomedical Sciences International Advisory Council of Singapore and Advisory Council of the Imperial College Health Partners, UK. He chairs the International Scientific Advisory Committee of the Qatar Genome Project, chairs the Scientific Boards of the Peter Munk Cardiac Center, University of Toronto and Institute of Cardiovascular and Medical Sciences, University of Glasgow. He was on the Canada Gairdner Award Medical Advisory Board and is now on the Board of Directors of the Gairdner Foundation. He served on the Board of Health Governors of the World Economic Forum and chaired its Global Agenda Council on Precision Medicine.

Since arriving at the National Academies, Dr. Dzau has designed and led important initiatives such as the Commission on a Global Health Risk Framework for the Future; the Human Genome Editing Initiative; and Vital Directions for Health and Health Care. The launch of the NAM Grand Challenge for Healthy Longevity represents his vision to inspire across disciplines and sectors to coalesce around a shared priority and audacious goal to advance health.

Among his many honors and recognitions are the Max Delbreck Medal from Charite, Humboldt and Max Planck, Germany, the Distinguished Scientist Award from the American Heart Association, Ellis Island Medal of Honor, and the Henry Freisen International Prize. In 2014, he received the Public Service Medal from the President of Singapore. He has been elected to the National Academy of Medicine, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the European Academy of Sciences and Arts, and Academia Sinica. He has received 15 honorary doctorates.

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