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Faculty & Staff Honors

Faculty & Staff Honors

Pittsburgh Epidemiologist Recognized for Outstanding Research in Cardiovascular Endocrinology

Dr. Samar El Khoudary, assistant professor of epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, was recently recognized by the Endocrine Society for research published last year in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism on cardiovascular fat and menopause.

[Photo: Dr. Samar El Khoudary]

In “The Best of JCEM 2015,” Dr. El Khoudary’s paper, titled “Cardiovascular Fat, Menopause, and Sex Hormones in Women: The SWAN Cardiovascular Fat Ancillary Study,” topped the journal’s Female Reproduction publications. This means it was among the most highly rated peer reviewed articles on the subject in all of 2015.

The Best of JCEM annually highlights the outstanding progress of scientific research in endocrinology. The compilation features important findings and notable advances encompassing the full range of clinical endocrine science and medicine.

Dr. El Khoudary’s study, published in September 2015, was the first to show that late- and post-menopausal women have significantly greater volumes of fat around their hearts – an emerging risk factor for heart disease – than their pre-menopausal counterparts.

“Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in women, and it increases after age 50 – the average age when a woman is going through menopause,” said Dr. El Khoudary, who was lead author on the paper. “By showing that menopause appears to be associated with a shift in fat deposits that leads to more fat around the heart, we’ve uncovered a new potential contributor to increased risk of cardiovascular disease in women.”

Data for the study came from clinical information, including blood samples and heart CT scans, collected on 456 women from Pittsburgh and Chicago enrolled in the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation (SWAN).

In addition to Dr. El Khoudary, other authors on this study are senior author Dr. Karen A. Matthews, of Pitt; and co-authors Dr. Kelly J. Shields, of Allegheny Health Network; Dr. Imke Janssen, and Dr. Lynda H. Powell, both of Rush University Medical Center; Ms. Carrie Hanley and Dr. Emma Barinas-Mitchell, both of Pitt; Dr. Matthew Budoff, of the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute; and Dr. Susan A. Everson-Rose, of the University of Minnesota Medical School.

This research was supported by NIH grants U01NR004061, U01AG012505, U01AG012535, U01AG012531, U01AG012539, U01AG012546, U01AG012553, U01AG012554 and HL065591; and AHA grant 12CRP11900031.

To read the study visit:

To read the press release on the JCEM publication visit: