Suzanne Oparil, MD is Professor of Medicine, and Physiology & Biophysics, and Director of the Vascular Biology and Hypertension Program of the Division of Cardiovascular Disease, Department of Medicine, University of Alabama at Birmingham. She is Past President of the American Heart Association, the American Society of Hypertension, the American Federation for Clinical Research and member of numerous editorial boards, societies, including the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, and holds important advisory positions with the NIH (Co-Chair, JNC 8). Dr. Oparil has published over 690 journal articles, books, and book chapters on topics in clinical cardiology, atherosclerosis, heart failure, vascular biology and hypertension. Dr. Oparil has received a number of honorary memberships, lectureships, and distinguished awards for her contributions to hypertension research, including the Irving Page-Alva Bradley Lifetime Achievement Award, given by the AHA Council for High Blood Pressure Research (2002), the 2008 Harriet Dustan Award, sponsored by the AHA Council for High Blood Pressure Research, the Virginia Frantz ’22 Award for Distinguished Women in Medicine (2010) presented by Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, and the Dr. John Foerster Distinguished Lecture Award for Lifetime Achievements in the Field of Cardiovascular Medicine, given by the Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences, Winnipeg Heart International Conference, (2011).
Dr. Oparil is a cardiologist with a special interest in the fundamental mechanisms of cardiovascular disease and in applying this information to the development of novel treatments. Her research ranges from molecular and cellular studies to whole animal studies to clinical trials. She has made a number of innovative discoveries with major clinical impact: 1) observing that angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) is involved in vascular disease, leading to the development of ACE inhibitors; 2) identifying endothelin as the major mediator of pulmonary hypertension and pulmonary vascular disease, leading to the development of a class of drugs that provides hope for patients with pulmonary hypertension; and 3) defining novel pathways by which blood vessels are protected from injury by estrogens, providing crucial information on potential targets for future gene therapy. She has made many significant contributions to vascular biology and hypertension research.