Andrew R. Marks, MD, is the 2010 recipient of the American Society for Clinical Investigation’s Stanley J. Korsmeyer Award, in recognition of his discoveries that rapamycin inhibits coronary artery stent restenosis, and the role of leaky ryanodine receptor/calcium release channels in heart failure, cardiac arrhythmias and muscular dystrophy.
Dr. Marks’ research has contributed significantly to the development of the first drug-eluting coronary stent, currently used in most angioplasties to treat coronary artery disease.
Dr. Marks also defined the ryanodine receptor/calcium release channel macromolecular signaling complex and showed that post-translational modification of the ryanodine receptors results in defective channels that leak intracellular calcium, causing heart failure progression, fatal cardiac arrhythmias, and impaired exercise capacity, notably in muscular dystrophy. He further developed a novel class of small molecules (rycals) that specifically fix the leak in ryanodine receptor channels, prevent heart failure progression, and arrhythmias and improve exercise capacity in animal models. One of his drugs, a rycal, is now in clinical trials for heart failure and cardiac arrhythmias.
Dr. Marks grew up in Manhattan, the son of Dr. Paul Marks, longtime dean of Columbia University Medical Center and President of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Dr. Marks was the first student ever to graduate from Amherst College with honors in two subjects — English and Biology. He earned his medical degree from Harvard and went on to train in internal medicine and in cardiology at Massachusetts General Hospital. He was a postdoctoral fellow in molecular biology at Harvard Medical School, a faculty member in cardiology at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. In 1997, he joined the faculty of Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons as Director of the Center for Molecular Cardiology and the Clyde and Helen Wu Professor of Medicine and Pharmacology.
In 2001 he founded what is now SPURS, Columbia’s Summer Program for Underrepresented Students, to “play a pivotal role in advancing education for underrepresented and economically disadvantaged students” and “create diversity of representation among the future ranks of doctors and investigative scientists.” In 2002, in response to a proposed cultural and academic boycott of Israel by European and American professors, Dr. Marks founded the International Academic Friends of Israel to support that nation’s academic freedom and inclusion. “The open exchange of ideas is fundamental to biomedical research and the advancement of learning and fighting human diseases,” he has said.
Dr. Marks was named chair of Columbia’s Department of Physiology and Cellular Biophysics in 2003. Dr. Marks also served as editor-in-chief of The Journal of Clinical Investigation from 2002-2007, and was a member of the ASCI Council from 1997-2000. His honors include the Distinguished Clinical Scientist Award of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, membership in the Institute of Medicine and the National Academy of Sciences, fellowship in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Basic Research Prize from the American Heart Association, and in 2009 he received the Doctor of Science, Honoris causa, from Amherst College.
The 2010 ASCI/Stanley J. Korsmeyer Award A heart-to-heart with Andrew R. Marks in the Journal of Clinical Investigation