Dr. James Liao

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

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.

He 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. Liao 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 Dr. Michael Abecassis, 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. 

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.

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,” 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 Circulation, Journal of American College of Cardiology, The New England Journal of Medicine, Science, Nature and Journal of Clinical Investigation, among others.

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