Samia Mora. MD

I am a cardiologist and molecular epidemiologist conducting translational research examining modifiable biomarkers for preventing cardiometabolic diseases. I have appointments in the Divisions of Preventive Medicine, Cardiovascular Medicine, and Women’s Health at BWH, with most of my effort dedicated to research and mentoring, and the remainder of my time I spend in clinical work. Leveraging my expertise in epidemiologic population studies, clinical trials, and novel platforms for molecular biomarker profiling, my research focuses on 1) biomarkers of lipids and lipoproteins; 2) biomarkers of exercise and exercise testing; and 3) the clinical utility of these biomarkers and related therapies for preventing cardiometabolic disease.

My independent contributions to the field of lipoproteins resulted from a succession of in-depth studies examining interactions between size and number of lipoprotein particles. Using the MESA study, my work showed for the first time that LDL particle number was more important than LDL size, and that both small and large LDL particles were similarly atherogenic (Atherosclerosis 2007). While this concept has gained acceptance recently, the prevailing view then was that smaller LDL particles were more atherogenic. I subsequently obtained a career development award from the AHA and measured lipoprotein profiles in 28,000 participants from the Women’s Health Study, replicating the MESA results (Circulation 2009).

My research has also demonstrated an important role for lipoprotein particle size and number as biomarkers of future development of diabetes and hypertension, and the usefulness of nonfasting lipids and lipoproteins for routine cardiovascular assessment. Another unique contribution has resulted from  several studies that I have led examining HDL particles in the pathophysiology and clinical manifestation of atherosclerosis (JACC 2012, Circulation 2013). Building on this work, I am the PI of an R01 investigator-initiated grant to study HDL particle heterogeneity and function, as well as two R01 supplements from the NIH on lipidomics.

A second theme of my research has been examining the role of exercise and exercise testing in cardiovascular prevention. My innovative contributions have resulted in several widely-cited publications examining: 1) the clinical utility of exercise-related metrics obtained from treadmill testing (JAMA 2003); and 2) mechanisms underlying the protective effect of exercise on CVD (Circulation 2007) and biomarkers (JAMA 2006). A subsequent study on the exaggerated rise in blood pressure during early exercise (Circulation 2010) was selected by the Circulation editorial board as Groundbreaking in the Practice of Cardiovascular Medicine (AHA 2011).

At the local level, I have been involved in teaching second-year HMS students in the Cardiovascular Pathophysiology Block as well as mentoring and teaching students, residents, and fellows. This has been highlighted in recent years by the achievements of my mentees in presenting my group’s work nationally with Dr. Amit Khera winning a prestigious 2013 AHA Young Investigator Award and Dr. Akintunde Akinkuolie being selected for the AHA Best of Basic Science abstract session. At the national level, I have also been involved in promoting cardiovascular careers for women as Chair of the AHA Women in Cardiology Committee.