Eric Topol

Genomics & Cardiology Research

A Pioneer in genomics-based cardiology and current leader of major genomics research and individualized medicine program A leading Researcher and practicing cardiologist, Eric Topol has helped discover specific genes that increase a person's risk of heart attack and has pioneered critical heart care therapies now used in daily practice—therapies such as clot busters, anti-platelet agents, and angioplasty devices. Currently at Scripps Health and The Scripps Research Institute, he heads projects that will ultimately genotype and sequence tens of thousands of individuals to determine how one person's genome may make them more susceptible than another to a given disease and health—then to take what is learned into clinical research, drug discovery programs, and individualized patient care trials.

Self Exam

  • Occupation: Cardiologist and Genetics Researcher.
  • Alternative career choice: Endocrinologist (my father was a juvenile diabetic).
  • Musical Instrument I Play: You wouldn't want to hear me play a musical instrument. I was asked to leave the band in 7th grade to take a study hall!
  • I tend to approach life: Excitement and passion that, with the right colleagues, collaborators, innovations, and resources, we can change medicine—which is desperately needed!
  • Biggest misconceptions about me or my work: That I'm just a Researcher; I thoroughly enjoy taking care of patients.
  • Worst part-time job ever: A few would have fit this category—pumping gas at a gas station (the old days!), washing pots in a hospital kitchen, stocking food in a supermarket.
  • Longest med school study session: Rote memory of gross anatomy.
  • Best moment in medicine/research: Giving recombinant t-PA (a clot dissolving agent) to the first human, who was having a heart attack, in February 1984.

About My Research

My research is on indvidualized medicine, using the genome and digital technologies to understand each person at the biologic, physiologic granular level to determine appropriate therapies and prevention. An example is the use of pharmacogenomics and our research on clopidogrel (Plavix). By determining the reasons for why such a large proportion of people do not respond to this medication, we can use alternative treatment strategies to prevent blood clots.


Scripps Research Joint Appointments

Director, Scripps Translational Science Institute
Faculty, Kellogg School of Science and Technology

Other Joint Appointments

Chief Academic Officer, Scripps Health
Senior Consultant, Scripps Clinic, Division of Cardiovascular Diseases


M.D., University of Rochester, New York, 1979
B.A., Biomedicine, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, 1975

Professional Experience

University of Virginia, B.A. With Highest Distinction, 1975
University of Rochester, M.D. With Honor, 1979
University of California, San Francisco, Internal Medicine Residency, 1979-1982
Johns Hopkins, Cardiology Fellowship, 1982-1985
University of Michigan, Professor with Tenure, Department of Internal Medicine, 1985-1991
Cleveland Clinic, Chairman of the Department of Cardiovascular Medicine, 1991-2006
Cleveland Clinic, Chief Academic Officer, 2000-2005
Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine,Founder and Provost
Case Western Reserve University, Professor of Genetics,2003-2006

Awards & Professional Activities

Elected to Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences
Simon Dack Award, American College of Cardiology
Andreas Gruntzig Award, European Society of Cardiology
Johns Hopkins Society of Scholars
American Association of Physicians
American Society of Clinical Investigation
American Heart Association, Top 10 Research Advances (2001, 2004)
Top 10 Most Cited Researchers in Medicine, Institute for Scientific Information
Doctor of the Decade, Thompson Scientific Award

Selected References

Harismendy O, Notani D, Song X, Rahim NG, Tanasa B, Heintzman N, Ren B, Fu X-D, Topol EJ, Rosenfeld MG, Frazer KA. 9p21 DNAvariants associated with coronary artery disease impair interferon-c signalling response. Nature 470(7333):264-268, 2011. [PMID 21307941]

Bloss CS, Schork NJ, Topol EJ. Effect of Direct-to-Consumer Genomewide Profiling to Assess Disease Risk. New England Journal of Medicine 364(6):524-534, 2011. [PMID 21226570]

Topol EJ, Schork NJ. Catapulting clopidogrel pharmacogenomics forward. Nature Medicine 17(1):40-41, 2011. [PMID 21217678]

Rosenberg S, et al, Topol EJ; PREDICT Investigators. Multicenter validation of the diagnostic accuracy of a blood-based gene expression test for assesing coronary artery disease in nondiabetic patients. Annals of Internal Medicine 153(7):425-434, 2010. [PMID 20921541]

Topol, EJ. Transforming Medicine via Digital Innovation. Science Translational Medicine 2(16):16cm4, 2010. [PMID 20371472]