Dr. Arnold Schwartz elected AAAS fellow

College of Medicine researcher is known for developing heart failure and hypertension treatments

Arnold Schwartz, PhD, Edward Wendland Professor of Materia Medica and Therapeutics in the Department of Pharmacology and Systems Physiology at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, has been elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

Schwartz has been elected to the medical sciences section of AAAS and was selected for “distinguished contributions to the field of cardiovascular pharmacology, particularly for developing multiple successful drug therapies." He is one of more than 500 distinguished scientists honored as part of the 2022 AAAS fellows class.

Schwartz is an internationally recognized heart researcher and educator who is credited with developing multiple cardiac drug therapies, such as the calcium channel blockers (CCB) diltiazem, amlodipine and verapamil. These drugs have saved hundreds of thousands of lives and ameliorated the deleterious aspects of cardiovascular diseases, such as cardiac failure, hypertension and arrhythmias. He and colleagues were the first to identify and label (α1 and α2) the two major repeating chains of the L-type voltage-dependent calcium channels. Schwartz also was the first to clone and characterize the human heart calcium channel and identify the receptor sites for the CCBs. His work on the digitalis mechanism of action led to the cloning of the high affinity receptor for the digitalis drugs, the NaK-ATPase. The latter was accomplished with colleagues from the College of Medicine, Gary Shull, PhD, professor emeritus, and the late Jerry Lingrel, PhD, professor, both in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences. The digitalis drugs are the oldest pharmaceutical agents partially derived from plants.

“I am so pleased and happy to be in the same component of the AAAS as so many scientists who have gone on to win Nobels and other research awards. I cannot describe how happy I am,” Schwartz says of his election as a fellow. "Most of the work my team and I accomplished I attribute to the support and encouragement I always received from UC, as well as the support by the NIH in many grants. In the time I have left I would like to assist the goals of this society.”

Schwartz counts election by AAAS as a fellow as the highest honor he has ever received among the numerous awards bestowed upon him during his lengthy career. “This is the oldest science organization in the U.S. I am so deeply honored to be voted into the fellowship,” he says.

Among his other notable honors was being the first UC professor to be named a Distinguished University Research Professor in 1988 by university President Joseph Steger and the UC Board of Trustees. In 2016, he received the Daniel Drake Medal, the College of Medicine’s highest honor. Other awards include the Otto Krayer Award in Pharmacology, the Ariens Award in Receptor Science, the Research Merit Award of the American Heart Association, the Distinguished Investigator Award of the American Society of Clinical Pharmacology and the Merit Gold Award of the International Society of CV Science.

man and woman standing together

Arnold and Ina P. Schwartz.

Schwartz arrived at UC in 1977 from Baylor College of Medicine to build cardiovascular research at the College of Medicine. He served as chair of the Department of Pharmacology and Cell Biophysics from 1977 until 1994. Less than two years after arriving in Cincinnati, he was awarded a multi-department Program Project Grant and a T-32 Training Program, one of the longest running continuing training grants supported by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

Along with his research, Schwartz relishes interacting with students. He has nurtured hundreds of graduate and medical students and young faculty.

Last year Schwartz made a $2 million gift from the estate of him and his wife, Ina Schwartz, creating an endowed chair at the College of Medicine supporting the head of the Department of Pharmacology and Systems Physiology. The Arnold and Ina P. Schwartz Endowed Chair of Pharmacology and Systems Physiology dedicates funding for the research and education efforts of the department chair. This commitment complements a gift made by Schwartz in 2019 to establish the Dr. Arnold Schwartz Cardiovascular Clinical Pharmacology Visiting Lectureship Fund.

New AAAS fellows receive an official certificate and a gold and blue rosette pin to commemorate their election. They also will be celebrated during an in-person gathering in Washington, D.C., later this spring. The new class also will be featured in the February 2023 issue of Science magazine.

Schwartz joins other recent College of Medicine faculty elected AAAS fellows, including Fred Finkelman, MD, emeritus professor, Department of Internal Medicine (2003), Marepalli Rao, PhD, professor, Department of Environmental and Public Health Sciences, and Sandra Degen, PhD, professor emerita, Department of Pediatrics (2011); Alvaro Puga, PhD, professor emeritus, Department of Environmental and Public Health Sciences (2012); George Deepe, MD, professor, Department of Internal Medicine, and Marc Rothenberg, MD, PhD, professor, Department of Pediatrics (2013); Carolyn Price, PhD, professor, Department of Cancer Biology (2015); and Sudhansu Dey, PhD, professor, Department of Pediatrics (2017).

The AAAS is the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the journal Science, as well as Science Translational Medicine; Science Signaling; a digital, open-access journal, Science Advances; Science Immunology; and Science Robotics. AAAS was founded in 1848 and includes more than 250 affiliated societies and academies of science, serving 10 million individuals. The nonprofit AAAS is open to all and fulfills its mission to “advance science and serve society” through initiatives in science policy, international programs, science education and public engagement.


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