Roberto Bolli, M.D., has just been named the new editor-in-chief of Circulation Research: Journal of the American Heart Association. Bolli, Chief of the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine and Director of the Institute of Molecular Cardiology at the University of Louisville in Kentucky, assumed his role with the July 31 issue of the journal.
In the early 1980s, Bolli contacted the American Heart Association with an idea for a research project on a complex and little-studied process called myocardial "stunning." At the time, Dr. Bolli was an assistant professor at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. He believed that further studies in "stunning" could yield important findings and ultimately save lives. The American Heart Association's former Texas Affiliate offered him a Grant-In-Aid.
“That grant was very, very important. It gave me the funds to carry out the initial critical studies that enabled me to apply for, and receive, NIH grants and that laid the groundwork for my subsequent research on myocardial ‘stunning,’” said Bolli. “In addition, as my very first grant, that award was a tremendous morale boost for me; it reinforced my enthusiasm to pursue a career in biomedical research. In essence, that grant unleashed my career.”
Dr. Bolli's intuitions turned out to be well founded. The research led to groundbreaking discoveries with important therapeutic significance. And for Dr. Bolli, an already promising research career took off. In addition to becoming principal investigator in several NIH grants, he would garner a long list of national and international science awards and receive invitations to lecture at some of the world's most prestigious scientific meetings.
As his career progressed, Dr. Bolli never forgot the role the AHA played in his development, and credits the Texas Affiliate as the lead player in that role. As he works on various committees and task forces for the AHA including Circulation Research, he remains committed to promoting the work of early career investigators. Examples of projects he’s contributed to include the creation of the Distinguished Scientist Award, the implementation of travel awards for early career investigators to attend AHA meetings, and the development of advocacy efforts.
When asked why he supports the AHA, Dr. Bolli responded: “The AHA is the largest and most authoritative organization devoted to promoting cardiovascular research in the world. It holds the best meetings, it publishes the best journals, and it supports early career investigators and trainees more than any other organization I am aware of. In addition, it plays a crucial role in educating the public about risk factors and in promoting policy changes aimed at fighting cardiovascular disease (anti-smoking legislation is a great example). No other organization in America is so actively involved in fighting for policy changes that will reduce cardiovascular disease.”