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Professor Jason Kovacic to lead the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute

Professor Jason Kovacic has been named as the new Executive Director of the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute (VCCRI), commencing in March 2020. He will take over the leadership of the VCCRI from Professor Bob Graham, the Founding Executive Director of the Institute, who has decided to step down from his role after 26 years, to concentrate on his research. Most recently, Jason Kovacic was the Professor of Medicine and Acting Director of the Mount Sinai Cardiovascular Research Centre in New York. 

Announcing Professor Kovacic’s appointment, the Chairman of the VCCRI, Matthew Grounds, said ''We are extremely fortunate to have been able to lure Jason back from New York, where he is recognised as a leading cardiologist and researcher at Mount Sinai Hospital. I am confident that Jason will be able to build on Professor Bob Graham’s legacy to take the VCCRI, already a globally recognised heart research institute employing a team of 300 scientists and staff, to new heights''. 

Professor Jason Kovacic | Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute

Professor Kovacic trained as a cardiologist at St Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney and then completed a PhD working with Professor Bob Graham at the VCCRI, before moving to the US in 2007 to pursue his medical and research career.

In the US, he initially worked with Dr Elizabeth Nabel, then Director of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute in Bethesda and now President of the Harvard-affiliated Brigham Health. He then moved to the Mount Sinai Medical Centre in New York, where he rose to become a world leader in interventional cardiology, working in the Department of Cardiology at the Icahn School of Medicine, headed by Dr Valentin Fuster.  At Mount Sinai, he also established a leading research program in atherosclerotic coronary artery disease and vascular biology.

Professor Kovacic will be the inaugural Professor Robert Graham Professor of Cardiovascular Research at the University of NSW Sydney.  A Fund to launch this new Chair and provide critical on-going funding was announced at an event in honour of Professor Graham. The Douglass, Lowy, Oatley and Ritchie families and the Simon Lee Foundation have each committed $1 million to kick-start the Fund.

Biography

Dr. Jason Kovacic graduated from The University of Melbourne Medical School in 1994, and then undertook residency and cardiology specialty training in interventional cardiology at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney, becoming a Fellow of The Royal Australasian College of Physicians in 2003.  Jason then completed a PhD in cardiovascular medicine at the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute.  

In 2007, he was elected as a Fellow of The American College of Cardiology and relocated to the USA, to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland.  At the NIH, Jason discovered critical new pathways that lead to blockage of the body’s blood vessels.  Jason then moved to The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York.  In parallel with his vital ongoing research to define new ways to prevent and treat vascular disease, Jason is a practicing clinical cardiologist, specialising in vascular disease and blockages of the heart arteries.  

Jason Kovacic | Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute

He has authored numerous scientific and clinical papers on heart and vascular disease and serves on a number of NIH committees. He has a particular interest in unraveling the pathobiology of the vascular diseases, fibromuscular dysplasia and spontaneous coronary artery dissection.

In addition to his many achievements in medicine and in biomedical research, Professor Kovacic was an elite athlete, having been a world-class rower, plays classical guitar and speaks several languages.