Vasan S. Ramachandran, MD
Adjunct Professor
Boston University Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine
Preventive Medicine & Epidemiology

MD, All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS)
MBBS, All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS)
DM, All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS)

Vasan S. Ramachandran, M.D., Principal Investigator and Director of the Framingham Heart Study (FHS), and Principal Investigator of the Risk Underlying Rural Areas Longitudinal Study (RURAL).

Dr. Ramachandran is an Adjunct Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology at BUSM/BUSPH, and Dean of the University of Texas School of Public Health San Antonio. He is a trained cardiologist with subspecialty training in echocardiography. He is a fellow of the AHA Councils on Epidemiology and Prevention and Functional Genomics and Translational Biology, and a fellow of the American College of Cardiology (ACC). Dr. Ramachandran has extensive experience in supervising trainees at many levels and has taught the foundational core course on Cardiovascular Epidemiology at BUSPH (EP751). He has several active R01 grants from the NHLBI/NIDDK/NIA, received two K24 Mid-Career Investigator mentoring grants from the NHLBI, and has mentored several K23 awardees. Overall, he has supervised over 75 trainees during the past 20 years (~40% women, 25% non-White); most are in key positions in academia. He received the Outstanding Mentor awards from the Department of Medicine, BUSM, and the AHA Council on Epidemiology and Prevention, the prestigious AHA Population Science Award in 2014 and the AHA Distinguished Scientist Award in 2021.

Importantly, Dr. Ramachandran’s own peer-reviewed funding spans thematic areas of genetics and genomics, cardiac and vascular remodeling, novel biomarkers, systems biology including proteomics and metabolomics, microbiome, and stem cell biology. He has a 25-year history in research in cardiovascular epidemiology, including the two years he trained as a FHS fellow (1993-1995). He established the first School of Public Health in Kerala, India, between 1996-1998, serving as its inaugural director and the coordinator of its MPH program. He is the founding member and leader of the international EchoGen consortium, and chairs the Steering Committee of the Chronic Kidney Disease Biomarker Consortium funded by the NIDDK (U01DK085689). He is recognized internationally for translational research in cardiovascular epidemiology and lectures regularly at the AHA early career session on “how to develop a career in translational research and epidemiology/genetics.” He is a Trained Mentor and has been been a past member of the NIH Cardiovascular and Sleep (CASE) SRG, and an active reviewer of grants for national and international funding agencies. He served for many years on the NHLBI panel for reviewing K23-K24-K25 career development grants. He served as an Associate Editor for Circulation, and the founding Editor-in-Chief of Circulation: Cardiovascular Genetics. He directs the Center for Integrative Transdisciplinary Epidemiology within BUSM, that hosts multiple epidemiological datasets, including from multiple cohort studies, national surveys (NHANES), administrative databases and electronic health records; this center will be a valuable data source for trainees.

For the last 25 years, Dr. Ramachandran has focused his research on A) the genetic and non-genetic epidemiology of congestive heart failure, including identifying risk factors for the disease, characterizing the subgroups with diastolic heart failure, asymptomatic LV systolic and diastolic dysfunction, and evaluating the role of LV remodeling; B) population-based vascular testing and echocardiography, including identifying biological, environmental, and genetic determinants (correlates) of cardiac structure and function; normative standards; detailed assessment of biomarkers of the process of LV remodeling, including but not limited to role of natriuretic peptides, insulin resistance, cardiac extracellular matrix markers, oxidative stress, inflammation, growth factors; genetics of LV remodeling, LA and aortic structure and gene-environment interactions; brachial artery endothelial function, its correlates and tonometric assessment of large artery function; C) genetic and non-genetic epidemiology of high blood pressure, including characterizing the lifetime risk, rates of progression and risks associated with various degrees of elevation; large artery stiffness and function and role in systolic hypertension in the elderly; genetics of high blood pressure and large artery function; D) CVD risk estimation in the short, medium- and long-term, with novel biomarkers including genomic biomarkers; and E) rural health disparities via the RURAL cohort study.

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility

Statement on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Access

Context and understanding. As an immigrant and a foreign-medical graduate from a developing country, I have navigated my professional advancement in the US with a heightened awareness of the challenges encountered by individuals who might be perceived as belonging to a non-majority group. My experiences have sensitized me to the necessity of active, intentional, and ongoing engagement with the diversity of fellow humans and developing a deeper understanding of their lived experiences within institutions, systems, and society. I strive to understand, respect, and celebrate all cultural values and experiences, be authentic about sharing my vulnerabilities, and offer others a ‘safe and brave space’ to voice theirs. I believe that our overall human experiences are richer when we share, assimilate and integrate while maintaining our roots.

My initial medical training in India sensitized me to the critical role of social determinants of health in influencing health care access and disease risk. Working at a tertiary referral care hospital in New Delhi, I daily encountered impoverished patients presenting with very advanced stages of diseases because they could not afford medical care and they delayed seeking care until it was unavoidable. My subsequent work directing the first School of Public Health in Kerala re-emphasized the importance of social determinants of health and structural determinants of equity. Kerala is a beacon for ‘good health at low cost.’ The factors responsible for Kerala’s excellent public health metrics (such as very low infant and maternal mortality rates) include the high level of literacy, the empowerment of women, low levels of child poverty, and a robust network of community health centers that ensure easy access to preventive health care. Working in a developing country has strengthened my belief that diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice are foundational requirements for public health.

Service-related Contributions. As a mentor and a Section Chief, I have embraced mentoring of women, those with a different gender or sexual orientation, and those from a structurally disadvantaged and minoritized background. These experiences have enriched my growth as a mentor. As the Director and PI of two training programs (T32 and R38), I have built mentoring support groups for minoritized scholars within the Department of Medicine at BUSM. I have broadened my search and recruitment strategies of faculty, post-doctoral trainees, and resident scholars using a framework of an inclusive and diverse selection committee and a thoughtful process that prioritizes representation and weights life experiences in parallel with academic credentials. I am actively building relational connections with HBCUs and HSIs for this purpose. As part of an inclusive retention strategy, I advocate for the support, development, and advancement of staff, faculty, and trainees during their employment/training using a framework customized to their individual needs and expectations and informed by their background.

As the Principal Investigator of the Framingham Heart Study (FHS), I have ensured that participants from our modest-sized non-White cohorts are approached with respect, understanding, and recruitment staff who communicate with non-English speakers in their native language. Spanish versions of our consent forms and website facilitate this strategy. I have led efforts to ensure that all FHS data and biosamples requests include our non-White (Omni) cohorts. Researchers have to clarify explicitly if they deviate from our overarching policy of inclusivity. As a study-wide policy, we have assured the representation of biosamples from our non-White cohorts in TOPMed whole genome sequencing and omics-assays. The FHS team (staff and investigators) belong to a diverse group, and we have actively supported funding of diversity supplements.

Research-related Contributions. I have been working with NHLBI non-White cohorts for over two decades. I have co-authored twenty Publications using Jackson Heart Study data, which highlight the burden of cardiovascular disease in Black people. Seminal publications include the development of a cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk prediction score (PMC5115626) and an investigation of the natural history of preclinical heart failure in the cohort (PMC8200743); the latter underscored the substantial burden of preclinical cardiac remodeling in middle-aged Black adults. I am a multi-PI on an NIH grant (R01HL136266), collaborating with the Hispanic Community Health Study and mentoring junior investigators from this study. I am also a multi-PI on another NIH grant (R01HL143295) that returns genetic results (pathogenic variants) to participants in FHS and the Jackson Heart Study. I have advocated for building equitable approaches to returning genetic results to non-White people.

As a scientist, I have directly drawn attention to the importance of addressing health disparities and working towards health equity in my publications and national presentations. In a recent review in the journal Circulation on the future of cardiovascular epidemiology (PMID 34952676), I emphasized the critical need to evaluate and address social determinants of health as upstream mediators of race-related disparities in CVD. Earlier this year, I published a detailed in silico cohort study in a major medical journal (PMC4974092) that drew attention to substantial differences in predicted CVD risk for Black versus White adults with identical risk factor profiles using the AHA pooled cohort equations. I emphasized that these race-related differences in predicted risk were biologically implausible and raised the possibility that using these risk equations can result in racialized approaches to medical decision-making. I questioned the continued use of race as a term in the risk prediction algorithms because it can perpetuate race as a valid medical construct. I suggested (as a possible solution) that causal social determinants of health might be a reasonable substitute for the race term in these risk prediction equations. At a major BUSM CTSI symposium, I explicitly addressed the complex history of recruitment of non-White participants in FHS.

Recently, I designed and funded as the Principal Investigator a new cohort study called the Risk Underling Rural Areas Longitudinal Study (RURAL) to investigate cardiovascular health disparities in the rural Southeastern US. RURAL collaborates with sixteen institutions across the US led by a diverse team of investigators and funded by the NHLBI. RURAL has selected the most economically challenged rural counties in the Southern Appalachia, Mississippi delta, and the ‘Black belt’ to focus its research. One of the main research domains of RURAL is to evaluate structural urbanism in the rural South and investigate rural residence as a ‘meta’ social determinant of health. In its initial 3-year period, RURAL has obtained a diversity supplement and funding for two major ancillary studies led by non-White PIs.

In summary, I stand firmly committed to diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice as a core value of my professional and personal life.

University of Texas School of Public Health San Antonio

Multidisciplinary Training Program in Cardiovascular Epidemiology
04/01/2021 - 03/31/2026 (PI of Sub-Project / SP)
PI: Vanessa Xanthakis, PhD
NIH/National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

Myocardial Radiomics and Mechanics in the Pathology and Prognosis of Cardiovascular Disease
03/15/2021 - 02/28/2026 (Co-Investigator of Sub-Project / SP)
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Inc NIH NHLBI

Framingham Heart Study
04/01/2019 - 06/30/2025 (PI of Sub-Project / SP)
PI: Joanne M. Murabito, MD
NIH/National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

Multidimensional Assessment of Brain Health as A Marker of Dementia Risk and Resilience in the Framingham Study
09/15/2020 - 05/31/2025 (Co-Investigator of Sub-Project / SP)
University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio NIH NIA

Return of Genomic Results and Estimating Penetrance in Population-Based Cohorts
08/01/2019 - 06/30/2024 (Co-Investigator of Sub-Project / SP)
Broad Institute, Inc., The NIH NHLBI

Cardio-metabolic risk in Multi-ethnic Physical Activity and Sedentary Behavior Study
12/15/2016 - 11/30/2023 (Co-Investigator of Sub-Project / SP)
Albert Einstein College of Medicine NIH NHLBI

Mediators of Systemic Inflammation and Heart Failure Risk in the Community
04/01/2019 - 03/31/2023 (Co-Investigator of Sub-Project / SP)
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center NIH NHLBI

Neighborhoods and Cardiovascular Risk and Resilience in Rural Communities
04/01/2022 - 10/31/2022 (Subcontract PI)
University of California, Berkeley NIH NHLBI

Epidemiologic Determinants of Cardiac Structure and Function in Rural Residents: RURAL ECHO
02/21/2022 - 10/31/2022 (Subcontract PI)
Duke University NIH NHLBI

RURAL: Risk Underlying Rural Areas Longitudinal Cohort Study
04/01/2019 - 10/31/2022 (PI)
NIH/National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

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Population-Based Reference Ranges for Estradiol and Estrone in Men
04/07/2012 - 07/31/2012 (Activity-level PI)
PI: Shalender Bhasin, MBBS
1R01 DK092938-01A1


Yr Title Project-Sub Proj Pubs
2023 Aortic stiffness, wave reflection, and cerebrovascular flow pulsatility: relations with brain small vessel disease and cognitive function in a middle-aged cohort 1RF1AG079390-01A1
2023 Development of a cloud-based analytical tool for polygenic risk score and its implication in heart failure research. 3R01HL160793-02S1
2023 Genetic Architecture of Cardiac Structure and Function and Its Impact on Heart Failure 5R01HL160793-02
2023 Epidemiology of blood pressure responses to perturbations: Correlates and prognosis for vascular risk, end-organ damage, cognitive aging and preclinical Alzheimer's disease 7R01AG075703-02
2023 Multidimensional Assessment of Brain Health as A Marker of Dementia Risk and Resilience 5R01AG066524-04
2023 ASSIST - Address Self-Management Strategies to Improve and Sustain T2D outcomes for adults with comorbid chronic pain and type 2 diabetes in the South 3U01HL146382-06S1
2023 RURAL: Risk Underlying Rural Areas Longitudinal Cohort Study 7U01HL146382-05
2023 RURAL: Risk Underlying Rural Areas Longitudinal Cohort Study 5U01HL146382-06
2022 Genetic Architecture of Cardiac Structure and Function and Its Impact on Heart Failure 1R01HL160793-01A1
2022 Epidemiology of blood pressure responses to perturbations: Correlates and prognosis for vascular risk, end-organ damage, cognitive aging and preclinical Alzheimer's disease 1R01AG075703-01
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Publications listed below are automatically derived from MEDLINE/PubMed and other sources, which might result in incorrect or missing publications. Faculty can login to make corrections and additions.

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  1. Westerman KE, Walker ME, Gaynor SM, Wessel J, DiCorpo D, Ma J, Alonso A, Aslibekyan S, Baldridge AS, Bertoni AG, Biggs ML, Brody JA, Chen YI, Dupuis J, Goodarzi MO, Guo X, Hasbani NR, Heath A, Hidalgo B, Irvin MR, Johnson WC, Kalyani RR, Lange L, Lemaitre RN, Liu CT, Liu S, Moon JY, Nassir R, Pankow JS, Pettinger M, Raffield LM, Rasmussen-Torvik LJ, Selvin E, Senn MK, Shadyab AH, Smith AV, Smith NL, Steffen L, Talegakwar S, Taylor KD, de Vries PS, Wilson JG, Wood AC, Yanek LR, Yao J, Zheng Y, Boerwinkle E, Morrison AC, Fornage M, Russell TP, Psaty BM, Levy D, Heard-Costa NL, Ramachandran VS, Mathias RA, Arnett DK, Kaplan R, North KE, Correa A, Carson A, Rotter JI, Rich SS, Manson JE, Reiner AP, Kooperberg C, Florez JC, Meigs JB, Merino J, Tobias DK, Chen H, Manning AK. Investigating Gene-Diet Interactions Impacting the Association Between Macronutrient Intake and Glycemic Traits. Diabetes. 2023 May 01; 72(5):653-665.View Related Profiles. PMID: 36791419; PMCID: PMC10130485; DOI: 10.2337/db22-0851;
  2. Pirruccello JP, Lin H, Khurshid S, Nekoui M, Weng LC, Ramachandran VS, Isselbacher EM, Benjamin EJ, Lubitz SA, Lindsay ME, Ellinor PT. Development of a Prediction Model for Ascending Aortic Diameter Among Asymptomatic Individuals. JAMA. 2022 11 15; 328(19):1935-1944.View Related Profiles. PMID: 36378208; PMCID: PMC9667326; DOI: 10.1001/jama.2022.19701;
  3. Cohen JB, Mitchell GF, Gill D, Burgess S, Rahman M, Hanff TC, Ramachandran VS, Mutalik KM, Townsend RR, Chirinos JA. Arterial Stiffness and Diabetes Risk in Framingham Heart Study and UK Biobank. Circ Res. 2022 Sep 02; 131(6):545-554. PMID: 35946401; PMCID: PMC7613487; DOI: 10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.122.320796;
  4. Schwartz B, Schou M, Barrillas Lara IM, Monahan K, Helm R, Køber L, Gislason GH, Ramachandran VS, Torp-Pedersen C, Andersson C. Prognostic importance of atrial fibrillation in heart failure according to time elapsed since diagnosis. Heart Rhythm O2. 2022 Aug; 3(4):430-432.View Related Profiles. PMID: 36097453; PMCID: PMC9463685; DOI: 10.1016/j.hroo.2022.04.008;
  5. Vasan RS, Enserro DM, Beiser AS, Xanthakis V. Lifetime Risk of Heart Failure Among Participants in the Framingham Study. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2022 01 25; 79(3):250-263.View Related Profiles. PMID: 35057911; PMCID: PMC8820638; DOI: 10.1016/j.jacc.2021.10.043;
  6. Lee AM, Hu J, Xu Y, Abraham AG, Xiao R, Coresh J, Rebholz C, Chen J, Rhee EP, Feldman HI, Ramachandran VS, Kimmel PL, Warady BA, Furth SL, Denburg MR. Using Machine Learning to Identify Metabolomic Signatures of Pediatric Chronic Kidney Disease Etiology. J Am Soc Nephrol. 2022 02; 33(2):375-386. PMID: 35017168; PMCID: PMC8819986; DOI: 10.1681/ASN.2021040538;
  7. Vasan RS, van den Heuvel E. Differences in estimates for 10-year risk of cardiovascular disease in Black versus White individuals with identical risk factor profiles using pooled cohort equations: an in silico cohort study. Lancet Digit Health. 2022 01; 4(1):e55-e63.View Related Profiles. PMID: 34952676; PMCID: PMC8715354; DOI: 10.1016/S2589-7500(21)00236-3;
  8. Schmidt IM, Srivastava A, Sabbisetti V, McMahon GM, He J, Chen J, Kusek JW, Taliercio J, Ricardo AC, Hsu CY, Kimmel PL, Liu KD, Mifflin TE, Nelson RG, Vasan RS, Xie D, Zhang X, Palsson R, Stillman IE, Rennke HG, Feldman HI, Bonventre JV, Waikar SS. Plasma Kidney Injury Molecule 1 in CKD: Findings From the Boston Kidney Biopsy Cohort and CRIC Studies. Am J Kidney Dis. 2022 02; 79(2):231-243.e1.View Related Profiles. PMID: 34175376; PMCID: PMC8709877; DOI: 10.1053/j.ajkd.2021.05.013;
  9. Vasan RS, Urbina EM, Jin L, Xanthakis V. Prognostic Significance of Echocardiographic Measures of Cardiac Remodeling in the Community. Curr Cardiol Rep. 2021 06 03; 23(7):86.View Related Profiles. PMID: 34081212
  10. Sanders JL, Putman RK, Dupuis J, Xu H, Murabito JM, Araki T, Nishino M, Benjamin EJ, Levy DL, Ramachandran VS, Washko GR, Curtis JL, Freeman CM, Bowler RP, Hatabu H, O'Connor GT, Hunninghake GM. The Association of Aging Biomarkers, Interstitial Lung Abnormalities, and Mortality. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2021 05 01; 203(9):1149-1157.View Related Profiles. PMID: 33080140; PMCID: PMC8314902; DOI: 10.1164/rccm.202007-2993OC;
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