David Lefer, PhD, director of LSU Health New Orleans’ Cardiovascular Center of Excellence, was inaugurated as president-elect of the International Society of Heart Research – North American Section at its 37th Annual Conference in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He will serve a three-year term before assuming the presidency.
According to the Society, the mission of the International Society of Heart Research is to promote the discovery and dissemination of knowledge in the cardiovascular sciences on a worldwide basis through publications, congresses, and other media. Membership has grown to include more than 3,000 members. The Society has seven sections – North American, Australasian, Chinese, European, Indian, Japanese, and Latin American.
Lefer, who is also a professor of pharmacology, has been working in the fields of myocardial protection and coronary physiology for more than 20 years. He is an internationally recognized leader in understanding the role of nitric oxide and other nitrogen oxide-metabolites in ischemia-reperfusion injury to the heart. His laboratory was among the first to demonstrate the profound loss of endothelial cell-derived nitric oxide from the coronary circulation following coronary artery occlusion and reperfusion. Lefer’s laboratory was the first to report on the potent cardioprotective actions of nitric oxide in acute myocardial infarction and congestive heart failure. Several nitrite therapies are currently in clinical trials in the United States and Europe. In 2005, Lefer’s laboratory began studying the potential cytoprotective actions of a second gaseous signaling molecule – hydrogen sulfide (H2S). Lefer’s laboratory was also among the first to demonstrate that H2S helps prevent or limit damage in acute myocardial infarction and heart failure model systems.