Paul M. Ridker, MD

Paul M. Ridker, MD

Formally trained in cardiovascular medicine and epidemiology, Dr. Paul M Ridker is the Eugene Braunwald Professor of Medicine at the Harvard Medical School and directs the Center for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention, a translational research unit at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. Dr. Ridker’s research focuses on the design and conduct of multi-national randomized trials, the development of inflammatory biomarkers for clinical and research use, the molecular and genetic epidemiology of cardiovascular diseases, and on novel strategies for cardiovascular disease detection and prevention. As a preventive cardiologist, Dr. Ridker is best known for his work developing the inflammatory hypothesis of heart disease, the clinical application of high sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP) testing as a method to better evaluate cardiovascular risk, and the demonstration in 2008 in the large-scale JUPITER trial that statin therapy is highly effective at reducing heart attack and stroke when given to men and women with elevated hsCRP levels. Currently, Dr. Ridker serves as Trial Chairman and Principal Investigator of two multi-national, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trials designed to address whether reducing inflammation can reduce cardiovascular event rates. These trials are the Canakinumab Anti-Inflammatory Thrombosis Outcomes Study (CANTOS) and the NHLBI funded Cardiovascular Inflammation Reduction Trial (CIRT).

Dr. Ridker is a graduate of Brown University (1981), the Harvard Medical School (1986), the Harvard School of Public Health (1992), and has received honorary medical degrees from several international institutions. Dr. Ridker’s primary research brings together classical tools of large-scale, population based epidemiology with emerging genetic and molecular techniques designed to improve our ability to predict and prevent vascular disease. Particular areas of interest involve inflammatory mechanisms of heart disease and molecular and genetic determinants of hemostasis, thrombosis, and inflammation with a focus on “predictive medicine”, early disease diagnosis, and the underlying causes and prevention of acute coronary syndromes. Dr. Ridker’s research efforts have been supported by multiple RO1 research grants from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), a Distinguished Clinical Scientist Award from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (New York), and through philanthropic research grants from the Leducq Foundation (Paris FR), and the Donald W Reynolds Foundation (Las Vegas, NV).

Dr. Ridker directs an NHLBI-funded institutional National Research Service Award (training grant) in cardiovascular epidemiology at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School. Dr. Ridker has been the recipient of both a Clinician Scientist Award (1992-1997) and an Established Investigator Award (1997-2002) from the American Heart Association, and is an elected member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI), the American Epidemiological Society (AES), and the American Association of Physicians (AAP). Dr. Ridker currently serves on the Board of External Experts for the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute. In addition to his work in cardiovascular epidemiology, Dr. Ridker has been the Principal Investigator or Study Chairman of several multinational clinical trials including PREVENT, PRINCE, Val-MARC, LANCET, and the landmark JUPITER trial demonstrating the benefits of statin therapy among those with low cholesterol but elevated CRP levels, a prevention strategy that will result in 250,000 fewer heart attacks, strokes, and cardiovascular deaths in the United States annually. Dr. Ridker is also the Principal Investigator of the Women’s Genome Health Study (WGHS) and the JUPITER-GWAS, two comprehensive prospective genome wide association studies being conducted among more than 40,000 initially healthy men and women.

Citing his pioneering work on inflammation, CRP, and atherothrombosis, Time Magazine honored Dr. Ridker as one of America’s Ten Best Researchers in Science and Medicine in 2001 and as one of the “Time 100” in 2004. Dr. Ridker is the author of over 450 original reports, 170 reviews and book chapters, and 5 textbooks related to cardiovascular medicine; between 2000 and 2010, Dr. Ridker was among the 10 most often cited researchers in cardiovascular medicine worldwide (citation h-index > 100). Dr. Ridker is a co-inventor on a series of patents filed by the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School that relate to the use of inflammatory biomarkers in cardiovascular disease.

With regard to clinical care, Dr. Ridker is a staff cardiologist at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and an echocardiographer by sub-specialty training. Dr. Ridker sees outpatients at the Southern Jamaica Plain Health Center, a public-health clinic affiliated with the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Harvard Medical School.