The medical school has appointed Michael Simons, M.D., as chief of the Department of Internal Medicine’s Section of Cardiovascular Medicine. Simons is a leader in research on the role of angiogenesis, the growth of new blood vessels, in cardiovascular diseases.
He will come to Yale this fall from Dartmouth Medical School in Lebanon, N.H., where he was A.G. Huber Professor of Medicine, professor of pharmacology and toxicology and director of the Cardiovascular Center and the Angiogenesis Research Center at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center.
“Michael Simons is an outstanding cardiologist, scientist and educator who will lead our program to new heights,” says Jack A. Elias, M.D., chair and Waldemar Von Zedtwitz Professor of Medicine. “His passion for the combination of state of the art clinical medicine and cutting edge molecular medicine will ensure that cardiovascular medicine at Yale and Yale-New Haven Hospital will provide the latest in outstanding personalized care. We are thrilled we were able to recruit him to Yale.”
Angiogenesis is often associated with cancer, and with efforts to develop drugs that block the process to deprive tumors of their blood supply. Simons has been an advocate of therapeutic angiogenesis—using growth factors to stimulate new vessel growth to improve circulation in damaged regions of the heart or in blood-deprived limbs. At Dartmouth, Simons played a key role in FIRST (FGF Initiating RevaScularization Trial), a multicenter Phase II clinical trial of fibroblast growth factor for the treatment of patients with advanced coronary artery disease, as well as a number of other protein and gene-therapy trials.
Recently, Simons’ research group has been especially interested in synectin, a scaffold protein that regulates multiple signaling cascades in the endothelial cells that line blood vessels. Synectin appears to be a key regulator of arterial fate determination and branching.
“Dr. Simons is a wonderful recruit with an exceptionally distinguished background in the laboratory investigation of angiogenesis and in the translation of that research into clinical applications,” says John A. Elefteriades, M.D., the William W.L. Glenn Professor of Surgery and chief of the Section of Cardiac Surgery. According to Elefteriades, in addition to boosting the section’s translational research capabilities, Simons plans to introduce new technologies to the cardiac catheterization laboratory operated by the Yale Heart Center at Yale-New Haven Hospital.
Simons received his medical degree from Yale School of Medicine in 1984. After an internship and residency at New England Medical Center in Boston, Mass., he completed postdoctoral fellowships at the Laboratory of Molecular Cardiology of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and in the laboratory of Robert D. Rosenberg, M.D., Ph.D., Whitehead Professor of Biology Emeritus at MIT.
Simons is principal investigator on research grants from the NIH totaling more than $4.5 million in direct costs, and he is board-certified in internal medicine, cardiovascular disease and nuclear cardiology. He is author or co-author of more than 200 peer-reviewed research articles, review articles and book chapters.
Simons succeeds Barry L. Zaret, M.D., the Robert Berliner Professor of Medicine and professor of cardiology. Robert Soufer, M.D., professor of medicine, and Forrester A. Lee, M.D., associate dean for multicultural affairs and professor of medicine, have served as interim chiefs of the section since Zaret stepped down in 2004.