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Sekar Kathiresan, MD

Director, Preventive Cardiology, MGH

Sekar Kathiresan, MD, is a cardiologist at the Cardiovascular Disease Prevention Center at the Massachusetts General Hospital Heart Center.

  • Phone: 617-726-9292
Department of Medicine


  • Heart Center
  • Lipid Management
  • Non-invasive Cardiology
  • General Clinical Cardiology
  • Cardiovascular Disease Prevention Center
  • Coronary Artery Disease Program
Clinical Interests
Family history of heart attack
Preventive cardiology
Boston: Massachusetts General Hospital
Medical Education
MD, Harvard Medical School
Residency, Massachusetts General 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. Sekar Kathiresan graduated from North Allegheny High School in Pittsburgh, PA and received his B.A. in history summa cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania in 1992. He received his M.D. from Harvard Medical School in 1997. He completed his clinical training in internal medicine and cardiology at Massachusetts General Hospital. He served as Chief Resident in Internal Medicine at MGH in 2002-2003. Subsequently, he pursued research training in cardiovascular genetic epidemiology through a combined experience at the Framingham Heart Study and the Broad Institute of Harvard/MIT, mentored jointly by Drs. Christopher J. O'Donnell and Joel N. Hirschhorn. In addition to his research efforts, Dr. Kathiresan is Director of Preventive Cardiology at MGH and has a clinic focused on primary prevention of myocardial infarction in individuals with a family history of heart attack.


Lab Overview

Altered blood lipids predict risk of myocardial infarction and myocardial infarction is the leading cause of death worldwide. Both blood lipid levels and myocardial infarction are heritable phenotypes. The genes underlying the variability in blood lipids and risk of myocardial infarction are largely unknown. Genes validated in the human population to relate to blood lipids and to risk of myocardial infarction may provide novel diagnostics and new therapeutic targets.

My laboratory seeks to define the genetic basis for blood lipids (high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and triglycerides) and myocardial infarction (MI). We are focused on three goals: 1) mapping of genetic loci related to lipids and/or myocardial infarction and identifying the causal variants and genes; 2) developing a molecular understanding of how the causal variants and genes lead to phenotype; and 3) applying genetic and functional insights to improve preventive cardiac care. To address the above goals, my laboratory uses a variety of research methodologies and reagants including population genetics, large patient sample collections, genetic association, functional analysis in model organisms, and genetic studies in clinical trials and prospective cohort studies.

Sekar Kathiresan, MD, explains what you can do to lower your risk of developing coronary artery disease

Sekar Kathiresan, MD, Director of Preventive Cardiology at the Massachusetts General Hospital Heart Center says counteracting your genetic risk is within your control. Learn more about coronary artery disease, who is most at risk and about Mass General's Heart Attack Prevention Program, focused on people with a family history of the disease.

Study associates 11 new gene sites with cholesterol, triglyceride levels

An international research team has identified 11 novel locations in the human genome where common variations appear to influence cholesterol or triglyceride levels, bringing the total number of lipid-associated genes to 30.

SAC meeting to honor past scientific leadership, address current challenges

ALL MGHERS are invited to attend the 2011 meeting of the MGH Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC), which will commemorate the hospital’s bicentennial with a look back at significant research accomplishments of MGH investigators and examine challenges facing today’s research community.

Celebrating prize-winning MGH research

The presentation of the MGH's top research prizes was a highlight of the April 13 Celebration of Science, held in conjunction with the annual Scientific Advisory Committee meeting.

2013 MGH Research Scholars

ESTABLISHED IN 2011 by ECOR and the MGH Research Advisory Council, the MGH Research Scholars program provides five years of unrestricted funding to give innovative investigators the flexibility to pursue projects that may lead in unexpected directions. Supported by philanthropic gifts, the program expanded from the first group of five recipients to eight scholars in 2012.

Study associates 11 new gene sites with cholesterol, triglyceride levels

International study identifies gene variants associated with early heart attack

The largest study ever completed of genetic factors associated with heart attacks has identified nine genetic regions - three not previously described - that appear to increase the risk for early-onset myocardial infarction.

Sorting out the genetic and biological links between cholesterol and coronary heart disease

Two papers in the current issue of Nature describe 95 gene variations that contribute to cholesterol and triglyceride levels and reveal the unexpected role of a metabolic pathway in lipid metabolism.

International collaborative identifies 13 new heart-disease-associated gene sites

An international research collaboration has identified 13 new gene sites associated with the risk of coronary artery disease and validated 10 sites found in previous studies. Several of the novel sites discovered do not appear to relate to known risk factors, suggesting previously unsuspected mechanisms for cardiovascular disease.

Raising HDL not a sure route to countering heart disease

A new paper published online in The Lancet challenges the assumption that raising a person’s HDL — the so-called “good cholesterol” — will necessarily lower the risk of a heart attack.

Broken gene found to protect against heart disease

By scouring the DNA of thousands of patients, researchers have discovered four rare gene mutations that not only lower the levels of triglycerides but also significantly reduce a person’s risk of coronary heart disease

Defective NPC1L1 gene found to protect against heart disease

By combing through the DNA of more than 100,000 people, researchers at Broad Institute, Massachusetts General Hospital, and elsewhere have identified rare, protective genetic mutations that lower the levels of LDL cholesterol — the so-called “bad” cholesterol — in the blood.

Cardiovascular Disease Prevention Center
25 New Chardon Street
Suite 301
Boston, MA 02114-4774

Phone: 617-726-9292
Phone 2: 617-643-1455
Fax: 617-724-6767

Cardiovascular Disease Prevention Center
25 New Chardon Street
Suite 301
Boston, MA 02114-4774

Phone: 617-726-9292
Phone 2: 617-643-1455
Fax: 617-724-6767

Request a new patient appointment

Call the Massachusetts General Hospital physician referral service at 800-711-4644.

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