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Research focuses: Cardiovascular diseases, heart attack prevention, molecular clocks, pharmaceutical research, low-dose aspirin therapy, COX-2 inhibitors, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
Garret A. FitzGerald is a pharmacologist and physician. He analyses the effective mechanisms of medications and is an internationally recognized expert in the field of cardiovascular diseases. His discoveries contributed fundamentally to the development of low dose aspirin for cardioprotection and to recognition of the cardiovascular consequences of inhibiting the enzyme cyclooxygenase-2.
The development of low-dose aspirin therapy for the prevention of heart attacks led to his becoming internationally renowned. He developed and applied biochemical methods for assessing aspirin’s dose dependent inhibition of prostaglandins and discovered that low doses inhibited platelets in the presystemic circulation. Additionally, he made the unexpected observation that therapeutic thrombolysis activated platelets and that combination with a platelet inhibitor, like aspirin, as adjuvant therapy greatly enhanced efficacy, a prediction confirmed by clinical trials. FitzGerald and his colleagues discovered a mechanism that predicted that anti-inflammatory drugs - so-called COX- 2 inhibitors, a type of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) – would pose a cardiovascular threat to some patients. The link between these drugs and heart attacks and strokes was confirmed in ensuing studies and leading to withdrawl of two drugs (Vioxx and Bextra) from the market. Building on this research, he has sought to integrate studies in humans and model systems with the aim of predicting the effectiveness and cardiovascular safety at the individual patient level.
Photo: Sabina louise pierce
FitzGerald's lab was the first to discover the presence of a molecular clock in the cardiovascular system. It helps control circadian rhythms, which include sleep/wake cycles, metabolism, blood pressure and body temperature. FitzGerald has used model systems to analyse the role this "timer" plays in adiposity, cardiovascular functions, microbiome modelling and the uptake of drugs. Presently he is characterizing the human chronobiome with the objectives of studying its decay in aging and of elucidating mechanisms that underlie time dependent disease phenotypes.
American Heart Association’s Distinguished Scientist Award
Presidential Distinguished Service Award for the Irish Abroad
PhRMA Foundation Award
Member of the US-National Academy of Medicine
Fellow der American Academy of Arts and Sciences und der Accademia dei Lincei
Honorary Member of the Royal Irish Academy
Honorary doctorates of the National University of Ireland, the University of Edinburgh, the Johann Wolfgang Goethe-University Frankfurt King‘s College, London and the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
06108 Halle (Saale)
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