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Montefiore in the News

April 11, 2018

Johns Hopkins Cardiology Physician-Scientist and Graduate of Einstein Will Take the Helm

April 11, 2018—(BRONX, NY)—Gordon Tomaselli, M.D., FAHA, FACC, FHRS, an internationally renowned physician-scientist in the field of cardiovascular disease, has been named the Marilyn and Stanley M. Katz Dean at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Dr. Tomaselli assumes his new role on July 1, 2018.

 A preeminent clinician, investigator, mentor and natural leader, Dr. Tomaselli will be coming to Einstein from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, where he serves as the Chief of the Division of Cardiology and Co-Director of the Heart and Vascular Institute. He is a cardiac electrophysiologist who specializes in sudden cardiac death and heart rhythm disturbances. His research on the regulation of the heart’s electrical activity has led to breakthrough therapies that prevent fatal heart disorders.

 Dr. Tomaselli has been lead investigator on groundbreaking National Institutes of Health-funded research and currently oversees a nearly $30 million research budget, one of the largest at Johns Hopkins. As Chief of Cardiology, he leads a group of more than 550 clinicians, scientists and other staff, including 101 faculty members and 87 fellows and maintains his own clinical practice. 

Dr. Tomaselli earned his medical degree from Einstein and will bring his accomplishments, skills and passion back to advance its educational and research mission. He will lead the scientists at Einstein in key areas of cutting-edge basic, clinical and translational research from brain science to immunotherapeutics to obesity and cancer. Dr. Tomaselli will work with students and faculty to build efforts now underway to transform medical and scientific education.

“We are so fortunate to have Gordon join the Montefiore Einstein community at this time of exciting growth and change,“ said Steven M. Safyer, M.D., President and CEO of Montefiore Medicine. As a prominent researcher, clinician and natural leader, Gordon is the perfect fit. He sees the big picture that unites research and education with great clinical care to advance the field of medicine. Our students, our patients and our communities will all benefit from his leadership.”

 Dr. Tomaselli succeeds Allen M. Spiegel, M.D., who has served as dean since 2006 and led a significant rise in NIH funding and the integration of Einstein and Montefiore, deepening the research, educational and clinical alignment.

 “Gordon is the ideal leader to succeed Dr. Spiegel and to further advance Einstein’s position as a first-class institution,” said Roger Einiger, chair of the Board of Trustees at Einstein. “The board is honored to have him join a long line of deans who have steered this historic institution to its current position as a premier center for biomedical research and medical and scientific education.”

 “This is a professional and personal highpoint for me, to return to Einstein and the Bronx after three decades at Hopkins,” said Dr. Tomaselli. “The medical milestones and scientific discoveries achieved during my career had their genesis at Einstein. This role presents me with a chance to give back to the remarkable institution that laid the foundation for a career that is exceeding my expectations.”

Albert Einstein College of Medicine joined with Montefiore from Yeshiva University in 2015. Dr. Ari Berman, President of Yeshiva University, which is an Einstein affiliate and its current academic overseer, expressed enthusiasm about Dr. Tomaselli’s appointment. 

“Gordon brings a wealth of experience to his role as dean. As an alumnus, an accomplished researcher and a caring doctor, he is uniquely suited to lead Einstein. I look forward to working closely with him,” said Dr. Berman.   

After receiving his undergraduate degree in biochemistry and chemistry from the State University of New York at Buffalo in 1977, Dr. Tomaselli earned his medical degree from Einstein in 1982. He completed his medical training and residency at the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF) in 1985. He began his career in the UCSF Cardiovascular Research Institute as a research fellow, then moved to the fellowship program at Hopkins in 1986. He joined the faculty there three years later.

Dr. Tomaselli has authored more than 250 peer-reviewed publications and has written numerous reviews and book chapters on aspects of cardiac arrhythmias.

Dr. Tomaselli has studied better ways to predict which heart disease patients will benefit from implanted cardiac defibrillators (ICDs), which shock the heart in order to correct life-threatening arrhythmias. He currently leads a study called PROSe-ICD (PRospective Observational Study of the Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator in the prevention of sudden death), which has enrolled nearly 1,200 patients with structural heart disease who are candidates for ICD placement. They have all undergone detailed examination—clinical, electrocardiographic, genetic, proteomic and MRI studies—to identify markers of sudden-death risk. The goal is to better understand the underlying mechanisms of sudden cardiac death and to develop ways to better predict which patients are at greatest risk for this devastating outcome.

Dr. Tomaselli’s arrhythmia research includes studies of ion channels, the fundamental elements of biological electricity, and the use of cellular electrophysiology, optical mapping and genetic screening as tools to enhance our understanding of arrhythmias.  His group also uses induced human pluripotent stem cells and 3D bioprinting (3D printing that combines cells, growth factors and biomaterials) to create cellular and tissue models of heart and muscle disease.

Dr. Tomaselli served as President of the American Heart Association from 2011 to 2012, was president of the Cardiac Electrophysiology Society from 2003 to 2005 and belonged to the board of directors of the Heart Rhythm Society. He was also a member of the American Board of Internal Medicine exam writing committee for Clinical Cardiac Electrophysiology and Pacing (1998-2004). Dr. Tomaselli was elected to the American Society for Clinical Investigation in 1996, the Association of American Physicians in 2010 and the Association of University Cardiologists in 2004. He is currently the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Clinical Investigation

Dr. Tomaselli was born in Portland, Maine and raised in Warwick, New York where some of his family still resides. He and his wife Charlene are delighted to be returning. The couple have three adult children, and one grandchild.