Director, Cardiovascular Pathobiology Program
Sanford Burnham Medical Research Institute at Lake Nona
Diabetes and Obesity Research Center
Biographical Sketch: Dwight A. Towler, M.D., Ph.D., is Professor and Director of the Cardiovascular Pathobiology Program at Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute at Lake Nona. Prior to joining the Institute, Dr. Towler was the Ira M. Lang Professor of Medicine in the Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism, and Lipid Research at Washington University in St. Louis, MO.
Dr. Towler’s research interests spring from his fascination with the biology and endocrine regulation of cells that direct the calcification and fibrosis of bone, vasculature, skin, or muscle. Aging, chronic kidney disease, and type 2 diabetes increase valve and vascular calcification, thereby stiffening vessels in the process called arteriosclerosis. Valve and vascular arteriosclerotic calcification are powerful contributors to the risk for stroke, heart attack, heart failure, and foot amputation. Dr. Towler's research focuses broadly on the metabolic aspects of heart failure and vascular aging, particularly in patients with type 2 diabetes.
Dr. Towler obtained both his medical degree and Ph.D. in biochemistry from Washington University. Dr. Towler completed his medical residency and metabolism fellowship at Barnes Hospital in St. Louis, and then joined the faculty of Washington University. In addition to his academic career, Dr. Towler spent four years in the pharmaceutical industry, most recently as senior director of Bone Biology and Osteoporosis Research at Merck & Co., where he led a research program that developed patented potential treatments (SARMs) for musculoskeletal frailty.
Dr. Towler has received numerous awards for his research; these include recognition as a Charles E. Culpeper Medical Science Scholar, receiving the Fuller Albright Award from the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research, and election to the American Society for Clinical Investigation. He is the recipient of three active Research Project Grants (R01) from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to study vascular calcification and its regulation by osteotropic hormones.
Calcium and Vascular Disease
Vascular Calcification: What Can We Learn From Diabetes & CKD