Elizabeth Nabel

President, Brigham and Women's Hospital

Elizabeth G. Nabel, M.D. is President of the Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) and Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts. As President, Dr. Nabel is responsible for patient care, research, education, and community missions.

A native of St. Paul, Minnesota, Dr. Nabel attended Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City and conducted her internal medicine and cardiovascular training at BWH, followed by faculty positions at the University of Michigan Medical School, where she directed the Division of Cardiology and the Cardiovascular Research Center.

Before assuming her position at BWH in January 2010, Dr. Nabel was Director of the NIH’s National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), whose mission is to prevent, diagnose, and treat heart, lung, and blood diseases. In this capacity, Dr. Nabel oversaw an extensive national research portfolio with an annual budget of approximately $3.0 billion. Her signature efforts included raising awareness for heart disease in women; launching a global health program to combat non-communicable diseases; creating new scientific programs to pursue the promise of genomics and stem cells, stem and progenitor cell biology, and translational research; in addition to nurturing the careers of young investigators.

Dr. Nabel is a strong advocate for global health and research programs in the non-communicable diseases. She is a co-founder of the Global Alliance for the Chronic Diseases, an alliance of national health research institutions, the alliance coordinates and supports research activities that address, on a global scale, the prevention and treatment of chronic non-communicable diseases. She also established the NHLBI network of 11 Collaborating Centers of Excellence in low- and middle-income countries to build sustainable programs to combat chronic cardiovascular and lung diseases. Research and outreach activities are being conducted in 21 developing countries. 

As a physician scientist, Dr. Nabel has made substantial contributions to our understanding of the molecular genetics of cardiovascular diseases. She developed gene transfer approaches for CV diseases to delineate the pathophysiology of atherosclerosis. Her work has clarified fundamental processes of cell division and growth of smooth muscle cells in blood vessels. Her recent studies have focused on the rare premature aging disorder, Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome, where she has characterized the vascular smooth muscle cell defect that leads to premature heart attack and stroke in early adolescence.

Dr. Nabel’s honors include the Willem Einthoven Award; the Amgen-Scientific Achievement Award; the American Heart Association Distinguished Achievement Awards; the Eugene Braunwald Academic Mentorship Award; the Distinguished Alumni Award from Weill Cornell Medical College; the Lewis Katz Research Prize in Cardiovascular Research, and six honorary doctorates.

She is a member of the American Academy of the Arts and Sciences, the Institute of Medicine (Council), the Association of American Physicians (Council), and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Dr. Nabel has served on the Board of Reviewing Editors for Science and is currently on the Editorial Board of the New England Journal of Medicine and Science Translational Medicine.