External Advisory Committee

The External Advisory Committee (EAC) is comprised of distinguished scientists who are recognized leaders in the field of focus of the COCVD and have a strong record of scientific accomplishments, experience in administration, mentoring and training, and a history of NIH funding. Each member of the EAC has been assigned as mentor for junior investigators to provide input from a distinguished scientist from a national, broader perspective. Members of the EAC are: Evan Dale Abel, MD, Ph.D.; Robert Eckel, MD; Robert Hegele, M.D.; Mariusz Z. Ratajczak, MD, Ph.D.; and Patrick Tso, Ph.D.


Evan Dale Able, MD

E. Dale Abel, M.D., Ph.D. is director of the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism at the University of Iowa (UI), Iowa City, where he is also professor of Internal Medicine - Endocrinology and Metabolism, and professor of Biochemistry. Before moving to UI, Dr. Abel was chief of the Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism & Diabetes at the University of Utah School of Medicine, as well as Medical Director of the Utah Diabetes & Endocrinology Center. Dr. Abel was recruited to the University of Utah in 2000 from the faculty of Harvard Medical School. While at Harvard, he served as co-director of the Endocrinology Fellowship Program at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. Dr. Abel received his Medical Degree with Distinction from the University of the West Indies. He then attended Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar, where he obtained his D. Phil in the Nuffield Department of Medicine. He is board certified in Internal Medicine and Endocrinology. Dr. Abel’s current research interests focus on elucidating the molecular mechanisms leading to cardiac dysfunction in diabetes and the regulation of myocardial growth and metabolism by insulin signaling.

Photo of Robert Eckel, M.D., professor of Physiology and Biophysics at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center.


Robert Eckel, M.D. is a professor of Medicine, Physiology and Biophysics at the University of Colorado Denver. He is also the Charles A. Boettcher II Endowed Chair in Atherosclerosis. Dr. Eckel received an M.D. from the University of Cincinnati, followed by residency and intern training in Endocrinology at the University of Wisconsin. He was a fellow at the University of Washington in Endocrinology and Metabolism. Dr. Eckel serves on the Editorial Board of the International Journal of Obesity, Obesity Research, American Journal of Medicine, Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology, and the Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism. His research is focused on obesity, insulin resistance, and cardiovascular disease, with a focus on lipoprotein lipase in vascular endothelial cells and its role in triglyceride synthesis in obesity. His research program spans from studies in animals to clinical trials in humans, and is directly related to obesity and associated diseases. Dr. Eckel was the 2005/2006 president of the American Heart Association, and as such will provide invaluable input to the COCVD in obesity and cardiovascular disease.


Photo of Dr. Robert Hegele, professor of Medicine and Biochemistry at the University of Western Ontario in Canada.Robert Hegele, M.D. is a professor of Medicine and Biochemistry at the University of Western Ontario in Canada. Dr. Hegele is also a scientist at Robarts Research Institute in the Blackburn Laboratory of Cardiovascular Genetics in Canada, and is the Canada Research Chair in Human Genetics, Tier 1, Canada. Dr. Hegele was the 2004 recipient of the Jeffrey Hoeg Award for Basic Science and Clinical Research, Council on Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology, American Heart Association. He holds a long list of other honors and awards, highlighting his contributions to human genetics in the areas of atherosclerosis, diabetes, dyslipidemia and lipodystrophy. Dr. Hegele has spanned the entire breadth of research encompassing studies in genetics, to basic science, to a broad array of clinical studies in unique patient populations such as the Oji-Cre community in Canada, focusing on genetics that mediate the high prevalence of diabetes in this population. Dr. Hegele’s research expertise in all aspects of the metabolic syndrome, ranging from studies directed at the cell to humans, are a great asset to the investigators of the COCVD.

Mariusz Z. Ratajczak, M.D., Ph.D., D.Sci. is a professor in the Department of Medicine and the director of the Developmental Biology Research Program and of the Research Flow and Sorting Core Facility at the University of Louisville's James Graham Brown Cancer Center. An internationally known specialist in the field of adult stem cell biology, his 2005 discovery of embryonic-like stem cells in adult bone marrow has potential to revolutionize the field of regenerative medicine. The discovery may lead to new treatments for heart disease, eye disease, diabetes and neurodegenerative disorders, as well as provide insight into the development of many forms of leukemia. Ratajczak earned his M.D. at the Pomeranian Medical University and his Ph.D. and D.Sci at the Center for Clinical and Experimental Medicine in Warsaw, Poland. He completed fellowships at the Polish Academy of Sciences and the University of Pennsylvania. Ratajczak is editor-in-chief of the Central European Journal of Biology and section editor for the journal Leukemia. He is a member of the editorial boards of the Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine and the journals Stem Cells and Experimental Hematology. He is a member of the International Society of Experimental Hematology, the American Society for Cancer Research, the Polish Academy of Sciences, the American Society of Hematology and the Polish Medical Society. His research is funded by the National Institutes of Health.

Photo of Dr. Patrick Tso, professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, director of the Cincinnati Mouse Metabolic Phenotype Center,Dr. Patrick Tso, Ph.D. is a professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, director of the Cincinnati Mouse Metabolic Phenotype Center, leader of the Lipid Group, and associate director of the Obesity Research Center at the University of Cincinnati. Dr. Tso serves as associate director of the Clinical Nutrition Unit at the University of Cincinnati, and was recently appointed as the associate editor for the American Journal of Physiology. Dr. Tso was the recipient of the Distinguished Research Award from the American Physiological Society in 2002. Dr. Tso’s research program studies mechanisms of fat and cholesterol absorption, food intake regulation by apolipoprotein A-IV, and the role of hypothalamic dysfunction in the development of obesity. He has served on the General Medicine Study Section, Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease Special Grants Review Committee, and the Nutrition Study Section at the NIH. Dr. Tso’s basic science research program is well suited to interface and assist the junior investigators of the COCVD. Dr. Tso’s experience as director of the Mouse Metabolic Phenotype Center is a tremendous benefit to the establishment of a Research Support Core to assess lean and fat mass in mice as a critical measure of obesity for members of the COCVD.  Dr. Tso expertise in lipid metabolism facilitates studies focused on interactions between SAA and lipoproteins and antigens in adipose tissue.