Cecilia Lo, PhD (pictured), a world-renowned expert in research focused on understanding the causes of congenital heart disease, has been appointed the founding chair of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine’s newly established Department of Developmental Biology. A developmental biology department is still uncommon, but very timely and appropriate, noted Arthur S. Levine, MD, dean of the School of Medicine and senior vice chancellor for the health sciences at the University of Pittsburgh.
“Dr. Lo is ideally suited to lead this promising new department,” Dr. Levine said. “Her work is taking significant steps toward discovering the genetic basis for congenital heart disease, and her approach and technologies easily lend themselves to similar analyses for birth defects in other organs.”
In preclinical studies, Dr. Lo has been able to identify novel mutations that cause congenital heart defects such as atrial and ventricular septal defects, transposition of the great arteries, and pulmonary stenosis.
“I am delighted to continue my work at the University of Pittsburgh and look forward to taking on exciting research challenges with my new colleagues in the Pittsburgh’s health sciences community,” Dr. Lo said.
Prior to joining the University’s faculty, Dr. Lo was director of the Genetics and Developmental Biology Center, since 2004, and chief of the Laboratory of Developmental Biology, since 2001, at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda. Dr. Lo received her doctorate in 1979 from Rockefeller University and her Bachelor of Science in 1974 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where her advisor was Nobel Laureate David Baltimore. Prior to working at NHLBI, she was a professor of biology in the School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania.
Dr. Lo has served on many professional committees and boards, published significant research papers in top-tier scientific journals, and delivered invited talks at highly regarded academic centers.
Illustration: McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine
University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences Media Relations News Release (04/21/09)