As a young man, Jerrold Levy aspired to be a research scientist.
But while working in a biochemistry lab as an undergraduate in the 1970s, his mentor suggested a career in medicine.
“Best advice I’ve ever gotten,” said Levy, professor of anesthesiology, associate professor of surgery and co-director of the cardiothoracic ICU at Duke University Medical School in Durham, North Carolina. “What’s great about medicine is that it’s applied science in many ways.”
After medical school at the University of Miami, Levy started in internal medicine and then trained as an anesthesiologist at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, where he was a fellow in respiratory ICU and cardiac anesthesiology. He worked alongside Warren Zapol, MD, (whose lab has made groundbreaking discoveries about the physiological and pathophysiological roles of nitric oxide) and managed some of the early extracorporeal membrane oxygenation in the 1980s.
Levy started with plans to become a hematologist and immunologist, but shifted to critical care in part because he was inspired by a series about acute respiratory failure in The New England Journal of Medicine written by three anesthesiologists with whom Levy trained.
In 1983, he was recruited to Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta to start a surgical ICU, and had an active hemostasis research lab.
“Our work focused on hemostatic therapies, evaluating thrombin signaling, understanding the coagulopathy of critical illness and extracorporeal circulation, as well as developing different anticoagulant and pro-coagulant strategies for the prevention and management of bleeding in critically ill patients,” Levy said.
He spent 30 years at Emory Healthcare before being recruited to Duke in 2013. His research interests include anaphylactic shock, cardiovascular pharmacology and developing novel strategies to reduce bleeding.
“What I’ve been doing most recently is working closely with others to further develop and apply purified and recombinant strategies to treat bleeding, as well as reverse the direct oral anticoagulants,” Levy said. “Developing therapies that have broad-scale implications is an important contribution.”
Throughout his career, Levy has been actively involved in the AHA. He joined the Council on Cardiovascular Surgery and Anesthesia (CVSA) more than 20 years ago and is currently chair of the AHA’s Membership and Communications Committee.
“It is a special privilege to be involved and active in the American Heart Association,” he said. “It’s been an amazing experience to see how cardiovascular medicine has evolved with a major focus over the years in hemostatic management with the evolution of novel anticoagulation agents. I am most appreciative to the American Heart Association for the opportunity to collaborate with so many outstanding colleagues and leaders in cardiovascular medicine.”