Clinical cardiologist and human geneticist Sekar Kathiresan is the director of preventive cardiology at Massachusetts General Hospital and a genetics researcher in the Broad Institute’s Program in Medical and Population Genetics. Kathiresan has studied the inherited basis of complex cardiovascular traits, including blood lipids and myocardial infarction. By leading large-scale human genetics projects, he has defined 30 loci related to blood low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and triglycerides. In addition, he has defined nine loci associated with myocardial infarction, with three of these being newly defined.
Kathiresan seeks to apply these discoveries to improve preventive cardiac care. Toward this goal, he has identified a panel of lipid-related polymorphisms that can be used to predict future risk for cardiovascular disease. He plans to test whether a set of genotypes could prove useful in identifying at-risk individuals and in targeting preventive interventions.
Kathiresan is the current Director of Preventive Cardiology at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Heart Center and an Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. He received his B.A. in history summa cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania in 1992 and received his M.D. from Harvard Medical School in 1997. Kathiresan completed his clinical training in internal medicine and cardiology at MGH. He served as Chief Resident in Internal Medicine at MGH in 2002-2003.
Kathiresan pursued research training in cardiovascular genetics through a combined experience at the Framingham Heart Study and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. In 2008, he joined the research faculties of the MGH Cardiovascular Research Center and the MGH Center for Human Genetic Research. His research laboratory focuses on understanding the inherited basis for blood lipids and myocardial infarction and using these insights to improve preventive cardiac care. In the past three years, Kathiresan has discovered many new genes related to heart attack risk and blood lipid levels and published these findings in leading biomedical research journals including Nature, Science, Nature Genetics, and the New England Journal of Medicine. In tandem with his research, Kathiresan’s clinical focus is the primary prevention of myocardial infarction in individuals with a family history of heart attack.