Elizabeth Nabel

Elizabeth Nabel is an American cardiologist and the current President of Brigham Health and its Brigham and Women's Hospital, a Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, and the Chief Health and Medical Adviser to the National Football League.

Elizabeth G. Nabel, M.D.
Alma materSt. Olaf College
Weill Cornell Medical College
Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Known for
Scientific career
FieldsCardiovascular biology
Academic Medicine
InstitutionsUS National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
Brigham and Women's Hospital
Harvard Medical School
University of Michigan

Family and education

Nabel was raised in St. Paul, Minnesota. Nabel became interested in the field of biomedicine during a physiological psychology class at St. Olaf College, when she conducted a study in rats to see how various stimuli affected their behavior. She graduated summa cum laude from St. Olaf in 1974, and received her M.D. degree from Weill Cornell Medical College in 1981.[1]


Nabel's work has produced 17 patents and more than 250 scientific publications. Nabel was director of the NIH’s National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute from 2005 to 2009.[2]

Biomedical research

Nabel’s research focused on the molecular genetics of vascular diseases. She conducted clinical studies to understand the contribution of genetic factors to proliferative and inflammatory diseases in blood vessels, including common diseases like atherosclerosis and the rare, premature aging in Hutchinson Gilford progeria syndrome.[3]

Nabel delineated the mechanisms by which cell cycle and growth factor proteins regulate the proliferation of vascular cells in blood vessels, a process important for the development of atherosclerosis and restenosis. Her vascular biology laboratory characterized the role of cell cycle inhibitors on vascular proliferation and inflammation, and this research has opened up new avenues for therapeutic targets in the vasculature.[4] Nabel contributed to both policy and basic research on embryonic stem cells.[5]

National Football League

In 2015, Nabel was appointed Chief Health and Medical Advisor to the National Football League. Nabel provided strategic input to the NFL’s medical, health and scientific efforts; participated as an ex-officio member on each of the NFL’s medical advisory committees; and identified areas for the NFL to enhance player safety, care and treatment.[6] Nabel stepped down from this role in 2017. In May 2016, a Congressional report detailed how multiple doctors tied to the NFL, including Nabel, lobbied the NIH not to fund a study whose lead investigator had been critical of the NFL in the past.[7]


Nabel has been named one of the nation’s top leaders in medicine by Modern Healthcare[8] and Becker’s Hospital Review,[9] and one of Boston’s 50 most powerful people by Boston Magazine.[10] Her honors include the Distinguished Bostonian Award from the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce,[11] the Kober Medal from the Association of American Physicians,[12] the Champion in Health Care award from the Boston Business Journal,[13] the Willem Einthoven Award from Leiden University in the Netherlands, the Amgen-Scientific Achievement Award, two Distinguished Achievement Awards and the Eugene Braunwald Academic Mentorship Award from the American Heart Association, and six honorary doctorates.


  1. "Dr. Elizabeth G. Nabel '74". St. Olaf College. Archived from the original on December 18, 2007. Retrieved July 18, 2008.
  2. "Nabel Bio". www.nhlbi.nih.gov. Archived from the original on June 11, 2019.
  3. Capell BC, Olive M, Erdos MR, Cao K, Faddah DA, Tavarez UL, Conneely KN, Qu X, San H, Ganesh SK, Chen X, Avallone H, Kolodgie FD, Virmani R, Nabel EG, Collins FS (2008). "A farnesyltransferase inhibitor prevents both the onset and late progression of cardiovascular disease in a progeria mouse model". Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 105 (41): 15902–7. doi:10.1073/pnas.0807840105. PMC 2562418. PMID 18838683.
  4. "Biographical Sketch". Archived from the original on October 12, 2007.
  5. Cimato, T.; Beers, J.; Ding, S.; Ma, M.; McCoy, J.P.; Boehm, M.; Nabel, E.G. (2009). "Neuropilin-1 Identifies Endothelial Precursors in Human and Murine Embryonic Stem Cells Prior to CD34 Expression". Circulation. 119 (16): 2170–8. doi:10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.109.849596. PMC 2774135. PMID 19364973.
  6. Weisman, Robert (February 9, 2015). "Brigham and Women's chief named NFL medical adviser". The Boston Globe. Retrieved February 5, 2019.
  7. Moskovitz, Diana (May 23, 2016). "The NFL's New Scientists Sound Just As Corrupt As The Old Ones". Deadspin. Retrieved February 5, 2019.
  8. Brooks, Megan (May 4, 2015). "America's Top 25 Women in Healthcare". Medscape.
  9. Adamopoulos, Helen (6 Aug 2014). "24 of the leading women to know in healthcare". Becker's Hospital Review.
  10. "Boston's 50 Most Powerful People". Boston Magazine. April 28, 2015.
  11. "Distinguished Bostonians". Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce. May 7, 2015. Archived from the original on May 18, 2015.
  12. "Kober Medal". Association of American Physicians.
  13. "BBJ names 2013's Champions in Health Care". Boston Business Journal. 22 July 2013.
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