“I get satisfaction from so many different aspects of my career including running a laboratory, studying science, teaching and taking care of patients. But, if I were forced to say what I enjoy most, it's the process of telling a scientific story.”
“PHYSICIAN-SCIENTIST AND LEADING CARDIOVASCULAR RESEARCHER”
Helen Hobbs started out as a physician but turned to scientific research as the major focus of her career, a choice that has made a critical difference in the lives of many and gained her national recognition for her research into the causes of cardiovascular disease.
"I always loved science, but I thought I was too social to be a scientist," Hobbs says. "Being a physician allowed me to study science and work with people. I still think that the practice of medicine is among the noblest of professions, but I ended up focusing on science, and it turned out not only to be intellectually stimulating but emotionally rewarding."
Elected in 2004 to the Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences, her research on the identification of defective genes in patients with premature coronary artery disease is widely acknowledged. She also oversees the Dallas Heart Study, which examines the biological and social foundations for the widening ethnic gap in cardiovascular disease.
Nominated as a Local Legend of Medicine by Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX-32), Hobbs is a professor of internal medicine and molecular genetics and Director of the Eugene McDermott Center for Human Growth and Development at the University of Texas Southwestern (UTSW) Medical Center. She is Chief of the Division of Medical Genetics, and Director of the Reynolds Cardiovascular Clinical Research Center at UTSW. In 2002, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute selected her as an investigator.
She began her career with a Residency in Internal Medicine in 1982 at Parkland Memorial Hospital, Dallas, and served a year as Chief Resident at UTSW Medical Center followed by a postdoctoral fellowship in molecular genetics and endocrinology.
As director of the McDermott Center, she focuses on leading investigators and clinicians in the use of genetics to probe the pathophysiology of human disease. "As clinicians, we are the ones who understand the most about the phenotype of disease," she observes, "yet many clinicians don't know how to translate that knowledge into a scientific study to answer a question. I'm trying to close that gap between clinicians and geneticists."
A colleague has Hobbs as "a superb physician-scientist at the forefront of research on the etiology, prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease."
Her interest in the prevention and treatment of heart disease led her to co-direct the Dallas Heart Study, a population-based study of cardiovascular disease that tracks thousands of Dallas County residents, generating an extensive data base on each study participant to identify genetic mutations that can produce a reduction in LDL cholesterol levels, a risk factor in heart disease.
She is the author of numerous scientific publications and book chapters, many dealing with the abnormalities in the uptake and metabolism of dietary lipids, such as cholesterol. "My greatest achievements in life have been as a mother, wife and daughter," she said. "I would like to be remembered most for that, and then for the joy and energy I take from science and my work as a scientist and physician."
Appointed Assistant Professor, Departments of Internal Medicine and Molecular Genetics, and Chief, Division of Medical Genetics, University of Texas Southwestern, Dallas
Appointed Professor, Departments of Internal Medicine and Molecular Genetics, and Chief, Division of Medical Genetics, University of Texas Southwestern
Appointed Director, McDermott Center for Human Growth and Development, University of Texas Southwestern
Appointed Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Chevy Chase, MD
Elected Member, Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences
Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland, OH
Endocrinology and Metabolism