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University of Arizona College of Medicine - Tucson Names James Liao, MD, Chair of the Department of Medicine

James Liao, MD, has been named chair of the Department of Medicine at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson, effective Jan. 16, 2023.

Dr. Liao joins the UArizona College of Medicine – Tucson from the University of Chicago, where he is chief of the Section of Cardiology, the Harold Hines Jr. professor of medicine, and director of the UChicago Medicine Cardiovascular Research Program and Physician Scientist Development Program. He also helped launch and formerly served as medical director of the university’s Heart and Vascular Center.


James Liao, MD, is the new chair of the College of Medicine – Tucson's Department of Medicine.

Dr. Liao graduated from UCLA with a bachelor’s degree in physical chemistry and earned his medical degree at the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine. He completed his internal medicine residency at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, followed by research and cardiovascular medicine fellowships at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. Prior to his roles at the University of Chicago, he was a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and director of vascular medicine research at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

“We are excited for Dr. Liao to join the College of Medicine – Tucson. His clinical skills will complement the excellent patient care provided at Banner – University Medicine. As an accomplished investigator and lauded educator, Dr. Liao will no doubt benefit the research and training activities in the Department of Medicine and its many divisions and centers,” said Michael Abecassis, MD, MBA, dean of the college.

The Department of Medicine is the College of Medicine – Tucson’s largest, with multiple specialty centers and 13 divisions that include a wide range of internal medicine subspecialties. The department has 250 faculty members and annually trains more than 200 residents and fellows.

“The Department of Medicine encompasses 13 divisions, including an array of internal medicine subspecialities delivered by the highest caliber of physicians who provide a vast array of clinical expertise. Under Dr. Liao’s leadership, health care education, research and clinical care excellence will continue to thrive,” said Sarah Frost, CEO of Banner – University Medical Center Tucson and Banner – University Medical Center South. 

Dr. Liao’s research interests are focused on cardiovascular disease prevention, lipid disorders and vascular biology, including the role of statins in stroke and atherosclerosis. His research has been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health for the last 30 years, to the tune of more than $20 million. His past and current research funding from all sources is more than $24.5 million, and he has been awarded six patents.

Dr. Liao has extensive experience in developing physician-scientists and trainees, including postdoctoral researchers and fellows. He has authored or co-authored 13 textbook chapters and more than 250 peer-reviewed articles, and is frequently asked to present at national and international conferences.

“I am thrilled to join an exceptional faculty and medicine program and to have the opportunity to work in partnership with the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson and Banner – University Medical Center,” Dr. Liao said. “I am confident this partnership will help create innovative and collaborative programs that will enhance training and education, facilitate patient-centered care, promote health care equity and delivery, and ultimately lead to impactful discoveries that improve our understanding and treatment of human diseases.”

Dr. Liao is active in many national and international societies and committees. He is an elected member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation and the Association of American Physicians and is a fellow of the American College of Cardiology and the American College of Physicians. He has served on editorial boards and as an ad hoc reviewer for esteemed publications including CirculationJournal of American College of CardiologyThe New England Journal of MedicineScienceNature and Journal of Clinical Investigation, among others.




About University of Arizona College of Medicine - Tucson: 


The University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson delivers cutting-edge programs in medical education, highly innovative and collaborative research opportunities, as well as advanced patient care in an environment where inclusive excellence and diversity create a foundation for community responsive action.  Founded on the campus of the University of Arizona in 1967 as the state’s first MD degree granting college and a resource for the people of Arizona, today the UArizona College of Medicine ranks among the top medical schools in the nation for research, teaching and primary care. From an initial class of just 32 students, the UArizona College of Medicine today has graduated more than 4,000 physicians. College of Medicine students, faculty, staff, and alumni today continue more than 50 years of service in advancing medical care, biomedical research and knowledge in Arizona — and around the world.




About James Liao, MD: 


James K. Liao, MD, is an expert in the diagnosis and treatment of cardiac diseases, including atherosclerosis (a build up of fatty deposits in artery walls), peripheral vascular disease (hardening/narrowing of the arteries), dyslipidemia (high blood cholesterol), and cerebrovascular disease. He specializes in non-invasive cardiology, using genetic and novel clinical markers and advanced imaging techniques to diagnose diseases of the heart and vascular system.


An active researcher, Dr. Liao's work examines the role of lipid-lowering medications in ischemic stroke, coronary artery disease, and heart failure. In particular, he focuses on identifying novel signaling pathways that control vascular function in both normal and diseased states. He has served as the primary investigator in numerous basic and clinical studies, working to translate his findings from the laboratory to patient care. His research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the American Heart Association (AHA).


Dr. Liao has made significant contributions to medical literature, publishing more than 125 original articles in scientific journals, including NatureScienceNature MedicineJournal of Clinical Investigation and Circulation. He is an Established Investigator of the American Heart Association and has served on editorial boards of prominent journals. He is recognized as an elected member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI) and the Association of American Physicians (AAP). 


As a mentor, Dr. Liao has trained more than 60 research fellows, many of whom have won or were finalists for the prestigious American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology Young Investigator Awards. Additionally, he is frequently invited to give lectures on the management of dyslipidemia, vascular disease and ischemic stroke at national and international conferences.


Dr. Liao is consistently listed among the Top Physicians by "Who's Who in American Doctors."








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