David G. Harrison, MD is the Betty and Jack Bailey Professor of Medicine and Pharmacology and the Director of Clinical Pharmacology at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. He received his MD degree from the University of Oklahoma in 1974 and obtained his house staff and clinical cardiology training at Duke University. From 1980 to 1982, he completed a cardiovascular research fellowship at the University of Iowa. In 1982, he joined the faculty at the University of Iowa, and was promoted to the rank of Associate Professor in 1987. In 1990, he moved to the Cardiology Division at Emory University, where he was appointed Professor of Medicine. In the 1980s and 1990s, Dr. Harrison has served as the Director of Cardiology at both the Iowa City and Atlanta VA hospitals and was the Director of Cardiology at Emory from 2000 to 2009. In 2011, he was named the Director of Clinical Pharmacology at Vanderbilt University.
Dr. Harrison has been an Established Investigator of the American Heart Association and has served on numerous committees for the AHA, including the AHA Scientific Sessions Planning Committee, the AHA Research Committee, the Novartis Award committee and the Credentialing committee for the Council on Circulation, which he chaired. He also served as the Chairman of the AHA Council on Circulation. In 1992, he was elected to the American Society of Clinical Investigation and in 2002 to the Association of American Physicians.
Dr. Harrison has served as the Chairman of the National Institutes of Health Experimental Cardiovascular Studies Study Section (ECS). Dr Harrison has served on the editorial boards of multiple journals, including Circulation, Circulation Research, Atherosclerosis Thrombosis and Vascular Biology, the Journal of Clinical Investigation and Hypertension.
In 2002, Dr. Harrison received the Robert M. Berne Award from the Cardiovascular Section of the American Physiological Society. In 2004, Dr. Harrison received the Novartis Award from the American Heart Association Council on High Blood Pressure, which is the highest award given for hypertension research. In 2010, he received the Carl Wiggers Award for Cardiovascular Physiology from the Amercian Physiological Society. In 2010, he was also named a Distinguished Scientist of the American Heart Association.
His career has been devoted to basic research related to vascular function and hypertension. He work has been seminal in understanding how vascular cells produce reactive oxygen species (ROS) and the consequences of these in diseases such as hypertension and atherosclerosis. He and his colleagues have defined roles of the NADPH oxidases in hypertension, and have shown that these enzymes produce radicals that promote inflammation, vasoconstriction and hypertension. His work has also shown that reactive oxygen species produced by the NADPH oxidases lead to activation of other sources of ROS, leading to a feed-forward amplification of oxidant injury. His recent research has focused on the role of inflammation and immunity in hypertension. His research team has shown that T cells derived cytokines affect renal sodium and volume handling and that this is crucial for development of hypertension. He and his colleagues have discovered a novel role of isoketal-adducted proteins acting as neoantigens in hypertension.
Dr. Harrison has also been actively involved in Medical and Scientific Education throughout his career. He has had over 50 post-doctoral fellows train in his laboratory, and many of these have developed their own successful research careers.