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Christopher J. O'Donnell, MD, MPH

Dr. O'Donnell is a cardiologist specializing in general and preventive cardiology. He is Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School. He is a Senior Investigator of NHLBI and Associate Director of NHLBI's Framingham Heart Study.

  • Phone: 617-726-0995
Department of Medicine


  • Critical Care Center
  • Cardiac Intensive Care Unit
  • Heart Center
  • Heart Valve Program
  • Non-invasive Cardiology
  • General Clinical Cardiology
  • Coronary Artery Disease Program
  • Echocardiography
Clinical Interests
Premature Atherosclerosis
Cardiovascular genetics
Coronary artery disease
Preventive cardiology
Boston: Massachusetts General Hospital
Medical Education
MD, Harvard Medical School
Residency, Massachusetts General Hospital
Fellowship, Brigham and Women's Hospital
Fellowship, Massachusetts General Hospital
Board Certifications
Cardiovascular Disease, American Board of Internal Medicine
Foreign Languages
Patient Age Group
Accepting New Patients
Accepting New Patients

BiographyDr. Christopher J. O'Donnell received an AB degree (biochemistry) from Brown University, and he received both an MD and an MPH degree from Harvard University. He completed an Internal Medicine residency and Cardiovascular Disease fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital. He is currently on staff as a practicing cardiologist in the Cardiology Division, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, and he is a faculty member (Associate Clinical Professor) of Harvard Medical School.  His clinical interests include general and preventive cardiology, cardiovascular genetics, echocardiography and the coronary care unit.

In 1996, Dr. O'Donnell joined the Framingham Heart Study as a Medical Officer of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI). Since 2002, he has served as Associate Director of the Framingham Heart Study. In 2006, he was named Senior Advisor to the Director of the NHLBI for Genome Research, advising on the direction of the genomic research portfolio of NHLBI. Since 2006, he has served as Scientific Director of the Framingham SHARE Genome Research program. In 2007, he became a tenured Senior Investigator of the NHLBI Division of Intramural Research. His major research focus is the epidemiology and genetic epidemiology of clinical and subclinical cardiovascular disease.  He has mentored over 40 post-doctoral trainees and published over 280 peer reviewed articles and chapters.  Dr. O'Donnell is a fellow of the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association. He serves as Chair of the Council for Epidemiology and Prevention of the AHA and as chair or member of numerous other Committees and Working Groups of the NHLBI, NIH and AHA.  Dr. O'Donnell is a recipient of several Awards of Merit from the NHLBI/NIH. He is an elected member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation and he served as an Associate Member of the Broad Institute of Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


A central focus of Dr. O'Donnell's research in the Framingham Heart Study (FHS) and its SNP Health Association (SHARe) and Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology (CHARGE) Consortium projects has been the study of the genetic determinants of subclinical atherosclerosis and clinical coronary heart disease. As such, he has been director and principal investigator of a large study of multidetector computed tomography imaging in two generations of family members to study coronary and aortic atherosclerosis. He was the FHS co-principal investigator on a similar study of cardiac magnetic resonance imaging in the Framingham Offspring. He is the senior investigator of detailed genetic studies of coronary and aortic calcification, carotid artery intimal medial thickness, electrocardiographic QT interval prolongation, hemostatic factor levels and platelet aggregability, and of aortic and left ventricular structure and function. He leads genomic investigations of these cardiovascular phenotypes in the FHS SHARe and CHARGE projects. He oversaw a study of the genetics of premature acute coronary syndromes at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), one of the founding cohorts for a recently completed genome-wide association study of premature onset myocardial infarction, the Myocardial Infarction Genetics (MIGen) Consortium. He is a scientific Co-Leader of the HeartGO Consortium of the ARRA-funded largescale "Exome Sequencing Project" and "CHARGE-Sequencing Project". By defining the functional significance of genetic determinants of cardiovascular diseases, Dr. O'Donnell's overarching aim is to translate new knowledge into better prediction, prevention, and treatment.


View my most recent publications at PubMed

Ten Most Recent Manuscripts as of March 10, 2011

1: Schunkert H et al. Large-scale association analysis identifies 13 new susceptibility loci for coronary artery disease. Nat Genet. 2011 Mar 6.

2: Tsao CW et al.Am J Cardiol. 2011 Mar 15;107(6):949-55.

3: Reilly MP et al.  Lancet. 2011 Jan 29;377(9763):383-92.

4: Smith NL et al. Genetic variation associated with plasma von Willebrand factor levels and the risk of incident venous thrombosis. Blood. 2010 Dec 16.

5: van Loon JE et al.  Effect of genetic variations in syntaxin-binding protein-5 and syntaxin-2 on von Willebrand factor concentration and cardiovascular risk. Circ Cardiovasc Genet. 2010 Dec 1;3(6):507-12.

6: Lo KS et al.  Genetic association analysis highlights new loci that modulate hematological trait variation in Caucasians and African Americans. Hum Genet. 2011 Mar;129(3):307-17.

7: Sotoodehnia N et al.  Common variants in 22 loci are associated with QRS duration and cardiac ventricular conduction. Nat Genet. 2010 Dec;42(12):1068-76.

8: Ikram MK et al. Four novel Loci (19q13, 6q24, 12q24, and 5q14) influence the microcirculation in vivo. PLoS Genet. 2010 Oct 28;6(10):e1001184.

9: Wassel CL et al.  Association of genomic loci from a cardiovascular gene SNP array with fibrinogen levels in European Americans and African-Americans from six cohort studies: the Candidate Gene Association Resource (CARe). Blood. 2011 Jan 6;117(1):268-75.

10: Speliotes EK et al. Association analyses of 249,796 individuals reveal 18 new loci associated with body mass index. Nat Genet. 2010 Nov;42(11):937-48.

55 Fruit Street
Boston, MA 02114-2696

Phone: 617-726-0995
Fax: 617-726-8383

55 Fruit Street
Boston, MA 02114-2696

Phone: 617-726-0995
Fax: 617-726-8383

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