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Section of Atherosclerosis

Houston, Texas

BCM faculty, staff and trainees are the heart of the organization.
Section of Atherosclerosis and Vascular Medicine
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Atherosclerosis and Vascular Biology Research Training Program

Atherosclerosis and Vascular Biology Training Program

Program Director

The Research Training Program in Atherosclerosis and Vascular Biology is administered by Joel D. Morrisett, Ph.D., program director, and Henry J. Pownall, Ph.D., co-director.


Specific Training Areas

The AVB Program consists of four broad areas:

Click on each training area to read its description.

Projects in which trainees participate are directed at fundamental questions in atherosclerosis and vascular biology. Predoctoral training focuses almost exclusively in one of the four areas. Postdoctoral fellows have more flexibility in moving among areas, as appropriate. One of the strengths of this training program is its clinical translation component which takes advantage of the accessibility to clinical projects and availability of clinical samples. The clinical programs and collaborations are described in detail below, and the program faculty who are primarily clinical liaisons (Drs. Peter Jones and Ryan Neal) play a valuable role as consultants and collaborators.


Program Faculty

The program faculty listed below have been carefully selected from different departments within Baylor College of Medicine and from neighboring institutions. They have been chosen because of their interest in applying a multidisciplinary approach to important problems in atherosclerosis and vascular cell biology. Of the AVB Program preceptors, 15 are senior investigators (associate professor or professor) while the remaining four are more junior investigators (assistant professors).

The inclusion of junior faculty, most of whom have already been engaged in successful training activities, is important for the Program. Each has a unique contribution to make in terms of area of expertise and technical training which supplement and complement those offered by the more senior investigators. Their "hands-on" knowledge of the most recent technologies will aid significantly in the success of the training program. The junior faculty chosen have independent research programs and external funding to support their research or clinical activities. Most have current or past collaborative interactions with one or more of the senior investigators. Drs. Peter H. Jones and Ryan C. Neal serve as clinical liaisons, and do not have primary responsibility for mentoring a trainee; instead they provide important access to clinical samples and study subjects that may be required by some trainees.

Selection of Preceptors for Postdoctoral Trainees:
The AVB Program has developed a brochure which provides a brief summary of the research interests of each of the participating faculty. This brochure is provided to all applicants upon initial contact. After thorough evaluation, applicants selected for the AVB Program will be given more detailed summaries of research interests, updated resumes, and representative publications of the program faculty. The trainee will then meet individually with the program faculty preceptors conducting research in the trainee's area of interest and select a laboratory in which to begin research. If an applicant selects one of the more junior program faculty, a more senior preceptor will also be assigned to assist the selected preceptor in providing an appropriate training experience. In the event that the trainee or preceptor should become extremely dissatisfied with the selection of the primary preceptor, the program director and co-director will assist the trainee in selecting an alternate faculty member.


  • Christie M. Ballantyne, M.D.
  • Philip Barger, Ph.D.
  • Robert Bryan, Ph.D.
  • Lawrence C.B. Chan, M.D.
  • Chu-Huang (Mendel) Chen, M.D., Ph.D.
  • Wah Chiu, Ph.D.
  • Ken Fujise, M.D.
  • Xiaolian Gao, Ph.D.
  • Karen K. Hirschi, Ph.D.
  • Ron C. Hoogeveen, Ph.D.
  • Christof Karmonik, Ph.D.
  • Sean Marrelli, Ph.D.
  • Douglas L. Mann, M.D.
  • Rahul Mitra, Ph.D.
  • Joel D. Morrisett, Ph.D.
  • Vijay Nambi, M.D.
  • Leif Peterson, Ph.D.
  • Henry J. Pownall, Ph.D.
  • Addison Taylor, M.D., Ph.D.
  • Pernilla Wittung-Stafshede, Ph.D.

Clinical Liaisons

  • Peter H. Jones, M.D.
  • Ryan C. Neal, M.D.


Program Details

The Atherosclerosis and Vascular Biology Training Program has 2 distinct components, a predoctoral and postdoctoral training component.

Predoctoral Program

The program faculty participate in 4 different degree granting programs at Baylor College of Medicine. Each of these programs admits a reasonable numbers of applicants who meet the requirements for citizenship for potential participation in the Atherosclerosis and Vascular Biology Research Training Program. Each of the three more established programs in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Cell and Molecular Biology, and Molecular and Cellular Biology make 16 or more offers of admission per year. Each degree-granting program has detailed requirements for admission and graduation of predoctoral trainees. Click on the links below for more information.

Postdoctoral Program

Several representative programs for the training of postdoctoral fellows are available as links below and illustrate both the diversity of training opportunities available and the multidisciplinary approach involved. This approach is encouraged for each trainee in order to provide a broad base of training and to make appropriate use of the extensive physical and intellectual resources available in the preceptors' laboratories.

Click on the links below for detailed operating procedures for each of these two components:

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