Dr. Iris Zamir Jaffe is Executive Director of the Molecular Cardiology Research Institute and Attending Cardiologist at Tufts Medical Center and Associate Professor of Medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine. She received a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology and an M.D., both from the University of Pennsylvania, followed by internal medicine training at Massachusetts General Hospital and cardiology training at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. The Jaffe laboratory studies vascular mechanisms contributing to high blood pressure and to the complications of atherosclerosis, including heart attacks and strokes. Specifically, she is interested in the blood pressure–regulating hormone aldosterone and its receptor, the mineralocorticoid receptor (MR), in vascular function and disease. For over 50 years, aldosterone has been known to regulate blood pressure by interacting with kidney MR to modulate sodium homeostasis. The Jaffe lab was the first to demonstrate the presence of functional MR in human vascular cells that can directly modulate vascular gene expression. This suggested a new paradigm in which vascular MR directly contributes to vascular disease. Dr. Jaffe identified novel mechanisms of gene regulation by MR in human vascular cells and vessels and using unique transgenic mouse models, explored the direct role of vascular MR in blood pressure regulation, pathological vascular remodeling, and atherosclerosis. These studies have yielded new insights explaining the rise in blood pressure with aging, sex differences in cardiovascular disease, and the cardiovascular protective effects of commonly used renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system–antagonizing drugs. She continues to explore these new mechanisms as potential novel drug targets and biomarkers to improve treatment, or even to prevent, common cardiovascular disorders.
Iris Zamir Jaffe, MD, PhD