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Meet the Chief: Dr. Dawood Darbar

Dawood Darbar, MD, PhD Chief, Division of Cardiology

Dr. Dawood Darbar has a distinguished record of accomplishment as a clinical cardiovascular investigator. This dates back to his time in Scotland, continuing during his clinical pharmacology fellowship at Vanderbilt University, and into his time at the Mayo Clinic. Early in his career Dr. Darbar established a theme to his research that has remained consistent – the development of a translational research program focused on the pathophysiology and treatment of arrhythmias.

While at Mayo, he worked with Timothy Olson in cardiovascular genetics and was instrumental in starting an AF genetics program. When he returned to Vanderbilt as faculty, Dr. Darbar developed a research program that addresses both clinical management as well as underlying genetic issues in AF. He has established multiple AF registries, key enabling resources for studying the genetic basis for AF and evaluating if variability to drug response is genetically modulated. These clinical-DNA registries have proven to be an important source for not only phenotyping large AF pedigrees but also analyzing genomic factors modulating drug response in patients with AF. The AF Registries have also been a critical component of national and international genome-wide association studies (GWAS) that have identified multiple new common, AF susceptibility variants. Dr. Darbar’s work has been published in high impact journals including NEJM, Nature Genetics, Circulation and JACC. He is a frequently invited speaker at national (AHA, ACC, Heart Rhythm Society) and international (ESC, Cardiostim, Europace) meetings and is a permanent member of the NIH CICS study section.

Dr. Darbar is the consummate clinician-scientist. He has succeeded not only in generating this impressive record of scientific discovery but has also been recognized as an excellent clinician and outstanding mentor. His research program has had long-term support from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and he served as the Chief of the Vanderbilt Arrhythmia Section from 2007 to 2015. This and his current position as Director of the Division of Cardiology at UIC has allowed him to seamlessly integrate medical students, residents and clinical fellows into his translational research program. Dr. Darbar’s mentees have successfully competed for a variety of funding opportunities, all centered in patient-oriented research including several trainees with AHA Clinical Research Program awards, as well as NIH K23 and K12 awards. His mentees have been very productive with over 45 first-authored original research publications as well as many other original articles, reviews, editorials and book chapters. Dr. Darbar teaches in the medical school and is a frequent faculty member in the Masters of Clinical Investigation (MSCI) mentoring studios for clinical fellows and junior faculty coordinated by the Center for Clinical and Translational Research (CCTR). Furthermore, he is a mentor on two current T32 training grants and is part of numerous Advisory Mentorship Committees for cardiology and postdoctoral fellows and junior faculty in the Department of Medicine.