Robert D. Simari, MD
Photo: Robert D. Simari



Elected 2005
As a trained invasive cardiologist and vascular biologist, Dr Simari’s research is aimed to define inherent molecular and cellular mechanisms that modulate the response to vascular injury and to develop novel therapeutic approaches based on these mechanisms. His main area of focus has been on understanding the role of the tissue factor pathway in regulating local thrombosis and vascular remodeling. His work was the first to establish an association between TFPI expression in human plaque and its regulation of plaque tissue factor activity. He further established the interaction and regulation of TFPI by Lp(a) (the first study to link Lp(a) with thrombosis), plasmin and growth factors. He then established animal models to directly test the role of TFPI in thrombosis and vascular remodeling. These studies included development of the first transgenic mouse with targeted overexpression of TFPI. More recently, Dr. Simari has worked to define and distinguish circulating cells with the potential to develop an endothelial phenotype. These studies provided a framework for clarifying the international discussion regarding “endothelial progenitor cells” while providing a basis for applying these cells to attenuate the response to vascular injury. The studies of so-called “autologous vasculoprotection” demonstrated for the first time that autologous circulating cells could be cultured towards an endothelial phenotype and delivered directly to an injured artery. Dr. Simari has gone on to show that the effects of this cell delivery appear to be paracrine in nature thus setting the stage for further investigation and informed translation of this approach.