Michael Rosen

Michael Rosen

Step into the Spotlight!

Dr. Michael Rosen, former Chair of the Heart Rhythm Society Publications Committee, was awarded the Douglas P. Zipes Lectureship in 2008.

How long have you been a member of the Heart Rhythm Society?

More than 15 years.

Why did you choose the field of electrophysiology?

During my internship at Montefiore in 1964, I was instructed in electrocardiography by Ira Rubin, who was a superb electrocardiographer and teacher. My interest in arrhythmias was further piqued by Sy Furman and Doris Escher who were beginning their heyday as pioneers in cardiac pacing. Despite these influences, I was fully prepared to pursue a career in the private practice of cardiology. My training was then interrupted by two years in the Air Force during which I had the equivalent of a clinical practice and decided it simply wasn’t for me. Running out of options, I opted to tread water and think for a year, and applied for a one-year postdoctoral fellowship with Brian Hoffman. That postdoc experience has never ended. I was enabled to spend the subsequent nearly four decades pursuing the two professional activities I love the most: to learn and to teach.

How has membership in the Society been of value to you and your practice?

The HeartRhythm Journal website features podcast of Rhythms in History interviews conducted by Douglas P. Zipes, MD, FHRS Editor-in-Chief. Click here to listen to Dr. Rosen discuss his contributions and fundamental observations that led to greater understanding of the mechanisms of cardiac arrhythmias and a number of innovative anti-arrhythmic approaches.

  • The national meeting is particularly important. In the last few years, it has begun to be a major presence regarding basic science and its translation to clinical electrophysiology.
  • The HeartRhythm Journal, which clearly has become the signal publication in its field, provides a good balance between clinical and basic science that is very helpful to my work.
  • I think that the Society's work with fellowship training programs is also valuable — it has clearly helped move some young people ahead at critical times in their careers.

Please list a few of your most recent accomplishments.

I blanch at questions like this, as I do not believe anyone in our field can individualize his/her accomplishments. I have been fortunate over the years to work with a superb group of individuals: all of them smart, all of them motivated and all of them fun to spend time with. In recent years we have focused on two subjects: one of them is cardiac memory, which has helped us understand why the T wave shows so much plasticity. The other is the gene and stem cell therapy of cardiac arrhythmias. Here we have been interested in creating biological pacemakers and seeking new ways to prevent/terminate lethal arrhythmias.

More About Michael R. Rosen, MD, FHRS

Dr. Michael Rosen is the Pfeiffer Professor of Pharmacology and Professor of Pediatrics at Columbia University and Adjunct Professor of Physiology and Biophysics at Stony Brook University. He received the Bachelor of Arts degree from Wesleyan University in 1960 and the Doctor of Medicine degree from SUNY Downstate Medical Center in 1964. He trained in internal medicine and cardiology at Montefiore Hospital in New York, served in the United States Air Force, joined the faculty of Columbia University in 1972 and has remained there since.

Dr. Rosen has received long-term funding from NHLBI and has been an author of more than 300 peer-reviewed manuscripts. In the 1970s he and his colleagues identified afterdepolarizations as a cause of cardiac arrhythmias and studied the mechanisms and clinical implications of triggered activity. Two more recent research foci have been: (1) Cardiac memory: identifying the mechanisms whereby altered activation of the heart alters repolarization. These studies probe the early molecular-biophysical and genetic changes that initiate remodeling in the setting of pacemaker therapy or specific arrhythmias. (2) Gene and stem cell therapies: The most advanced aspect of this research is on biological pacing in which adult human mesenchymal stem cells loaded with cardiac pacemaker genes are being tested as an alternative to electronic pacemaker therapy. Dr. Rosen’s group also is working with gene and cell therapies of tachyarrhythmias.

Dr. Rosen has chaired the Basic Science Council and the Scientific Program Committee of the American Heart Association, and been an activist in public and political education on the importance of science to society and the protection of scientific funding for this mission. He has served on three NIH and two American Heart Association Study Sections. He is on a review committee for the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine and the stem cell research steering committee of the Swiss National Science Foundation. He is editor of the Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology, consulting editor for Circulation Research and Cardiovascular Research, a member of the editorial boards of Circulation and Heart Rhythm and previously chaired the Publications Committee of HRS.

Dr. Rosen is Professor Honoris Causa of the Russian Academy of Sciences and has received the American Heart Association’s Award of Merit and Chairman’s Award, and the Basic Cardiovascular Sciences Council’s Distinguished Achievement Award; the Einthoven Award, the Distinguished Scientist Award and the Douglas P. Zipes Lectureship of the Heart Rhythm Society and the Gordon K. Moe Lectureship of the Cardiac Electrophysiology Society.