Director, Vascular Biology Program;
Director, Heart Valve Translational Research Program (HVTRP), BWH;
Associate Head, Section of Life Science, Cardiovascular Medicine;
Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Dr. Elena Aikawa is Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. She is also Director of the Vascular Biology Program at the Center for Interdisciplinary Sciences (CICS), Founding Director of the Heart Valve Translational Research Program (HVTRP) and Associate Head of Section of Cardiovascular Life Sciences at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
Dr. Aikawa is a passionate advocate for the early imaging and treatment of calcific aortic valve disease. Dr. Aikawa’s Research Program focuses on the development of new therapies to prevent, treat and cure calcific aortic valve stenosis, a disease that currently has no treatment options other than valve replacement. She was at the forefront in the discovery of inflammation-dependent mechanisms of cardiovascular calcification. Her studies contributed to the discovery of calcifying extracellular vesicles as a precursor of microcalcification. More recently she used systems approaches, involving multi-omics and network medicine, to identify novel therapeutic targets.
Dr. Aikawa has been a member of the Working Group on Calcific Aortic Valve Stenosis and the Alliance of Investigators on Calcific Aortic Valve Disease of the National Institutes of Health. She holds editorial positions at the Circulation Research, Journal of Extracellular Vesicles, PLoS ONE and Arteriosclerosis Thrombosis and Vascular Biology. Dr. Aikawa has delivered more than 150 keynote lectures, invited talks and cardiovascular grand rounds, and has authored more than 200 articles on cardiovascular pathobiology. Her research program has been continuously supported by NIH funding.
In addition to her strong interest in cardiovascular research, she also enjoys educating and mentoring young scientists. Throughout her career, she has trained a number of research fellows, medical students and PhD candidates. Dr. Aikawa remains committed to advancing the careers of women in science and medicine. She cofounded the BWH Committee for Internationally Trained Women Faculty in 2004 and founded the annual Women in Medicine and Science Symposium at BWH in 2012. She was recently elected as Vice-chair of the Women’s Leadership Committee of American Heart Association Council on Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology. In 2016, Dr. Aikawa was elected as President of the International Society for Applied Cardiovascular Biology (ISACB). She is serving as the society’s first female president.