Dr. Francois M. Abboud has a number of titles. He is Professor of Internal Medicine and of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics, Edith King Pearson Chair in Cardiovascular Research, Chair Emeritus, Department of Internal Medicine, Founder and Director of the Abboud Cardiovascular Research Centre at the University of Iowa, Carver University of Medicine, and Associate Vice President for Research at the University of Iowa.
Dr. Abboud’s professional career began in the 1950s at a medical school in Cairo, Egypt. In 1955, he moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and became an internal medicine resident at Milwaukee County Hospital. Francois M. Abboud, M.D., joined the faculty of the College of Iowa in 1960 and was appointed director of the Division of Cardiovascular Diseases in 1970. Beginning in 1974, he was the founder and, until 2012, the sole director of the College of Iowa Cardiovascular Research Center. Under his leadership, the center gained international prominence through the sponsorship of several major interdisciplinary research programs and a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Institutional Research Training Grant, and trained hundreds of cardiovascular physicians and basic scientists since 1974.
He served as chief of the Department of Internal Medicine from 1976 to January 2002 and was awarded the Robert H. Williams Distinguished Chairman of Medicine Award by the Association of Professors of Medicine.
Since 1971, Abboud has been the principal investigator on an NIH-funded Program Project Grant (PPG) entitled “Integrative Neurobiology of Cardiovascular Regulation.” His studies focus on neural control of the heart and circulation in aging, hypertension, heart failure, and sleep apnea. He elucidated the role of endothelial factors and ion channels in baroreceptor neuron activation. He discovered evolutionarily conserved mechanosensitive molecules that contribute to mechanoelectrical transduction of these neurons and acid-sensitive channels that contribute to chemoreceptor sensitivity. His recent discovery of proinflammatory modulation of the innate immune system by autonomic neurotransmitters in genetic hypertension holds enormous potential for further advances in the fight against cardiovascular disease.
His work has been recognized with numerous awards, including the ASPET Award for Experimental Therapeutics from the American Society of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics and the Dickinson W. Richards Memorial Award (Pulmonary Diseases), the George E. Brown Memorial Award (Circulation), and the Award of Merit, all from the American Heart Association. He received the Wiggers Award and Medal from the American Physiological Society, Cardiovascular Section in 1988, the CIBA Award and Medal for Hypertension Research from the Council of High Blood Pressure Research of the American Heart Association in 1990, the Merck Sharp and Dohme International Award for Research in Hypertension in 1994, and the Gold Heart Award (1995) and Research Achievement Award (1999) from the American Heart Association. He was the Carl Ludwig Distinguished Lecturer of the American Physiological Society and received the American College of Physicians/ American Society of Internal Medicine Award for Outstanding Work in Science as Related to Medicine in 2000. In 2004, he received the Distinguished Scientist Award from the American College of Cardiology, in 2006, the Distinguished Research Award from the Association of American Medical Colleges, and in 2007, the Distinguished Scientist Award from the American Heart Association. He was selected for the prestigious Cannon Lecture and Award of the American Physiologic Society, received the Kober Medal of the Association of American Physicians in 2009, and the Ben Qurrah Award of the Arab American Medical Association, Houston Chapter in 2010.