2018 Stories

A THI Education Collaboration Honors Our President Emeritus

Connecting Scientists Nationally & Internationally

THI remains dedicated to improving the standard of care through education and research, and the James T. Willerson, MD, Cardiovascular Sciences Seminar Series is a treasured tradition that upholds this commitment.

Led by Dr. A. J. Marian, this educational program is organized by the Texas Heart Institute and The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. The series is attended by investigators, colleagues, and trainees from clinical and teaching institutions across the Texas Medical Center, including Baylor College of Medicine, Rice University, Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center, Houston Methodist Hospital, Texas Children’s Hospital, and MD Anderson Cancer Center, as well as visitors and members of the Texas Medical Center.The seminar series is named after THI’s President Emeritus, Dr. James T. Willerson. Dr. Cooley invited Dr. Willerson to succeed him as President of the Texas Heart Institute in 2004, and today he serves as the President Emeritus of THI and editor of the Texas Heart Institute Journal.


With Dr. Emerson Perin, Dr. Willerson has been directly involved in seminal research in the use of stem cells to repair hearts and blood vessels injured by heart attacks. He also maintains a busy practice and cares for several thousand patients annually. Dr. Willerson has served as the Chairman of the National American Heart Association (AHA) Research Committee, as Chairman of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Research Study Section, as a mem- ber of the National AHA Board of Directors and of the AHA National Steering Committee, and as the President of the AHA’s Houston Chapter. Dr. Willerson is also a member of the University of Texas System Chancellor Executive Council. He served as the Chairman of Internal Medicine at the UT Houston Medical School and was later named President of the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston, which includes Schools of Medicine, Nursing, Dentistry, Public Health, and Graduate Medical Education. While at the UT Houston Medical School, he founded the Institute of Molecular Medicine for the Prevention of Human Disease.


In his career, Dr. Willerson has authored more than 1000 scientific articles in respected medical journals, assembled 28 textbooks of cardiovascular medicine, and served for 11 years as the editor of Circulation, the premier AHA journal of cardiovascular medicine. He also holds 15 patents. Dr. Willerson is a member of the National Academy of Medicine and is an honorary member of 10 foreign cardiovascular societies. He is a Distinguished Alumnus of Baylor College of Medicine, a Professor of Medicine at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, and an Adjunct Professor of Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine and the University of Texas Medical School.

Ali J. Marian, MD

Dr. Marian, Professor and Director of the IMM Center for Cardiovascular Genetic Research (CCGR) at the Texas Heart Institute, is recognized nationally and internationally for his research achievements and expertise in the genetics of cardiomyopathies. Dr. Marian has co-authored over 100 articles in peer-reviewed journals. His expertise is recognized and evidenced by lecture- ships at major national and international meetings, editorials in major journals, review articles, and book chapters. With his team, Dr. Marian is exploring the molecular genetics of cardiovascular diseases in humans and how this influences disease progression.