Themistocles L Assimes
Photo: Themistocles Assimes
Elected 2020

I am a board-certified clinical cardiologist with a doctorate degree in Epidemiology & Biostatistics. I have been practicing medicine for >25 years and I have >20 years of experience conducting research. I was born and raised in Montreal, Canada, where I received my medical degree from McGill University in 1994. I then pursued training in surgery for nearly two years before switching into internal medicine. I completed my residency in internal medicine as well as a masters degree in Epidemiology and Biostatistics at McGill under the supervision of Dr. Samy Suissa before moving to Stanford University in 2001 to pursue fellowship training in adult cardiology. During my fellowship and Instructorship years at Stanford University, I completed a PhD in Epidemiology and Biostatistics in pharmacoepidemiology once again under Dr. Suissa's supervision.

My principal research focus since moving to Stanford has been the identification of the genomic determinants of coronary heart disease (CHD) and risk factors of CHD. Towards this end, I devote a majority of my time performing advanced population based studies on the genomic causes of heart attacks and the common conditions that predispose people to heart attacks including high cholesterol, smoking, diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, and insulin resistance. These research efforts go beyond the standard genetic variant association analyses and include analyses, interpretation, and integration of multi-omic data, construction and validation of polygenic scores, as well as Mendelian randomization, epigenetic association, and gene set enrichment analyses to help identify novel pathways of CHD in diverse populations.

In this context, I have heavily contributed and/or led several translational team science endeavors at both the national and international level by representing Stanford in large consortia meta analyzing genomic data including CARDIoGRAMplusC4D, GIANT, GLGC, GENESIS, and PAGE. I have also been an active Women's Health Initiative (WHI) investigator since 2010 serving as co-chair of the WHI Genetics, Proteomics, and Biomarkers Scientific Interest Group and a member of the WHI Ancillary Studies Committee while launching several genomic studies that generated blood methylation, circulating miRNA, telomere lengths, and bulk RNA-seq resources within WHI. Through WHI, I have also served as a senior/key co-Investigator in NHLBI’s Trans-Omics for Precision Medicine (TOPMED) program where I have led whole genome sequencing projects related to CHD.

Since 2017, I have become intricately involved in the Million Veteran Program (MVP) serving as a senior/key co-Investigator and/or a PI in multiple funded projects focused on the genetics of cardiometabolic traits. I also serve as a co-chair of the MVP P&P Committee,  the CVD/Lipids Working Group, and the MVP COVID-19 Science Program Genomics and PRS Working Group. In partnership with Dr. Phil Tsao, overall co-PI of the MVP, I also hold key administrative positions at the Palo Alto VA relevant to the local and national genomics program. Concurrently, I teach general cardiology as well as echocardiography to medical students, residents, and cardiology fellows-in-training at the Stanford affiliated Palo Alto VA Hospital.