New Director for UC Division of Cardiovascular Diseases Arrives
Published July 2006
Neal Weintraub, MD, UC’s new Mable S. Stonehill Chair of Cardiology and director of the newly named division of cardiovascular diseases, got an early start in his medical career.
As a child in the small town of Albany, in southwest Georgia, he says, “I was inspired to love medical science by several people, including a neuropathologist uncle, who sent me boxes of slides of human tissues to look at under a microscope when I was just 7.”
He became fascinated by the molecular processes when a high school biology teacher, who was also the head football coach, cared enough to find ways to offer courses in molecular biology and genetics. Thanks to that teacher, says Dr. Weintraub, he decided to pursue a career in medicine.
“He taught me to question how nature works and to keep searching until I find the answers,” Dr. Weintraub says. “He opened my eyes and completely turned me on to science, and for this I will always be grateful.”
Working as an emergency medical technician/paramedic while in college, he originally considered becoming an emergency medicine physician. But when his father developed coronary artery disease, while Dr. Weintraub was a second-year medical student, that became a driving force in his commitment to cardiovascular medicine.
“I’m convinced that dad is still alive today because of the many advances in the treatment and management of heart disease that have evolved during the course of my career,” he says. “Given how closely this disease has personally touched me over the past 25 years, I feel very well prepared to interact with my patients and their families and to provide them the best of care.”
Dr. Weintraub, 46, joins UC from the University of the Iowa Carver College of Medicine, where he was a professor of medicine and the medical director of the Heart Center at the University Hospital.
He received his MD from Tulane University, completed internal medicine training at Emory University and the University of Illinois, and received his fellowship training at St Louis University. His clinical interests include general and noninvasive cardiology and his research focuses on vascular biology, with an emphasis on vascular lipid metabolism, oxidative stress and inflammation.
Principal investigator on two RO1 grants and project leader on a National Institutes of Health program project grant, he is currently studying the link between inflammation, atherosclerosis and heart disease and the role of inflammation and oxidative stress in the development of aortic abdominal aneurysms.
“Helping my patients, mentoring physicians in training and the thrill of discovering the causes of heart disease make me excited about going to work each day,” he says.
He advises today’s medical students to study hard and learn the basic biomedical principles, “but keep alert to how today’s newest discoveries may change the way we practice medicine tomorrow.”
“Strap yourself in for a fast ride,” he says. “The human genome project has identified many new potential targets for treating cardiovascular disease.
“Basic science and clinical research trials are working more closely together to evaluate the effectiveness of new treatments in three to five years, instead of 20,” he adds. “And the speed at which research results are reported and shared allows the scientific knowledge of medicine to increase exponentially.”
In summary, Dr. Weintraub says, “I count myself the luckiest guy in the world to be able to do what I enjoy, discovering things about science, helping heart patients and mentoring the future doctors of America.”
Dr. Weintraub and his wife, who will teach biology at UC’s Raymond Walters campus, have two teenage children.