At Medical Grand Rounds on April 26, 2012, Dr. Thierry Le Jemtel delivered the Dr. Edmund Sonnenblick Memorial Lecture, "Sonnenblick: The Einstein Years." The lecture honored the memory of Einstein’s first chief of cardiology — who died in 2007 — while enumerating his phenomenal accomplishments in the field, which included furthering our knowledge and understanding of preload, afterload, and contractility in the heart.
Dr. Sonnenblick’s findings about the structure and function of heart muscle cells, and about cardiac contraction and relaxation, contributed to the development ACE inhibitors. He and other researchers also adapted beta blockers for use in heart failure, which was considered heresy at the time. He also is credited as the first to use the electron microscope to image heart muscle under scientifically controlled conditions, accomplishing the feat in 1963 at Columbia, where he correlated measurements of heart muscle structure and the force of its contractions.
During his distinguished career, Dr. Sonnenblick trained more than 300 cardiologists and researchers. His contributions were recognized with numerous honors, including the Distinguished Scientist Award, from the American College of Cardiology, and the Research Achievement Award, which is among the highest honors given by the American Heart Association.
The keynote speaker, Dr. Le Jemtel, is a former cardiology Fellow at Einstein. He is now on the faculty at Tulane University and is internationally recognized for his expertise in the study and treatment of heart failure. He is the author of more than 300 research articles, the recipient of numerous NIH grants and awards, and the mentor of many current luminaries in academic cardiology and congestive heart failure. He attended medical school at the Faculte de Medecine, in Rouen, France, and completed his internal medicine residency at the Royal Victoria Hospital at McGill University in Montreal, Canada.
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