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COX Enzymes and Their Inhibitors: Pitt School of Medicine Hosts Special Lecture to Focus on Key Issues


PITTSBURGH, June 2008 — A leading expert in translational medicine will be the next speaker in the University of Pittsburgh’s Senior Vice Chancellor’s Laureate Lecture Series, to be held at noon, Tuesday, June 24 in Scaife Hall, Auditorium 6, 3550 Terrace St., Oakland.

Garret A. FitzGerald, M.D., the Robert L. McNeil Jr. Professor in Translational Medicine and Therapeutics and professor and chair of pharmacology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine will be the featured speaker. He will discuss the effects of cyclooxygenase (COX) enzymes on cardiac physiology.

“Dr. FitzGerald’s research blends outstanding basic science with well-designed clinical translation. His work should appeal to a wide range of our own investigators, and I’m pleased to welcome him to campus for this special event,” said Arthur S. Levine, M.D., senior vice chancellor for the health sciences and dean of the School of Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh.

The common use of low-dose aspirin as a COX inhibitor for cardiovascular protection is one clinical practice to which Dr. FitzGerald’s research contributed significantly. He also was instrumental in elucidating the mechanisms and, consequently, the cardiovascular dangers of, the once-popular prescription drugs classified as COX-2 inhibitors; anti-inflammatory pain relievers that held great promise for symptom prevention but were found to increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.

Dr. FitzGerald received his medical degree from University College Dublin and his career has blended basic research, particularly pharmacology, with clinical research. Since 1994, he has served on the faculty at Penn, where he also is professor of medicine and director of the Institute for Translational Medicine and Therapeutics.

Later presentations in the 2008 Laureate Lecture Series will include:

“The Human Microbiome Project: Exploring the Microbial Side of Ourselves,” Tuesday, Oct. 28, by Jeffrey I. Gordon, M.D., Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.
“Frizzled Receptors in Development and Disease,” Wednesday, Nov. 19, by Jeremy Nathans, M.D., Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
The University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine is considered among the nation’s leading medical schools, renowned for its curriculum that emphasizes both the science and humanity of medicine and its remarkable growth in National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant support, which has more than doubled since 1998. For fiscal year 2005, the University ranked seventh, out of more than 3,000 entities receiving NIH support, with respect to the research grants awarded to its faculty. The majority of these grants were awarded to the faculty of the medical school. As one of the university’s six Schools of the Health Sciences, the School of Medicine is the academic partner to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Their combined mission is to train tomorrow’s health care specialists and biomedical scientists, engage in groundbreaking research that will advance understanding of the causes and treatments of disease and participate in the delivery of outstanding patient care.


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