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Helping the fight against heart disease

Donald Small named a Distinguished Scientist of the American Heart Association.

The American Heart Association (AHA) recently selected Donald Small, a School of Medicine professor of physiology, biophysics, biochemistry, and medicine, as a Distinguished Scientist. 

The Distinguished Scientist status, AHA’s most honorable membership category, recognizes members of the AHA and the American Stroke Association who have made “extraordinary contributions to cardiovascular and stroke research.” Small’s honor came in recognition of his studies on the structure of lipoproteins and the way cholesterol builds up in arteries. He and colleagues tracked how lipid deposits change as atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, develops and regresses.

“I think the AHA recognized this work as laying the fundamental basis for understanding lipid deposition and removal from atherosclerotic plaques,” says Small. “I appreciate their recognizing our work because biophysics is not a field that the American Heart Association has been directly associated with.” 

The AHA says that Small’s “seminal research work … has importantly advanced our understanding and management of cardiovascular disease or stroke.” Small, who founded the MED biophysics department in 1988, was chairman of the physiology and biophysics department until this past July. He is the author over 300 scientific articles and a major book, The Physical Chemistry of Lipids.