Internationally Known Researcher to Speak on Vascular Resistance

Friedrich (Fred) C. Luft, MD

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The intriguing title of the Robert W. Schrier, MD, Endowed Lectureship is “How the Unknown Unknowns Cause the Increased Peripheral Vascular Resistance.” The speaker, Friedrich (Fred) C. Luft, MD, said he “will report on a single project that spans more than 25 years of clinical and basic research” that demonstrates “how ignorance drives science.”

Internationally recognized for his research in nephrology, hypertension, physiology, and genetics, Dr. Luft is a professor at the Max-Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine, Charité Medical Faculty, in Berlin, Germany. The lecture is scheduled for Sat., Oct. 24.

The Luft Lab has long focused on the molecular genetics of hypertension and brachydactyly, two closely linked phenotypes in a family discovered more than 15 years ago. “Hypertension and the organ damage that ensue from it are tremendously challenging topics for research because they arise through an interaction between many genes and environmental factors,” according to the lab’s website. “This project began as a classic search for a mutation in a gene and has led us to new insights into one of the most interesting current themes in science: the epigenetic regulation of the genome. While trying to explain the brachydactyly phenotype, we discovered a series of very complex cis- and trans-regulatory epigenetic phenomena; they may serve as a model system to explore important open questions about genome architecture and regulation.”

Dr. Luft was born in Berlin but grew up in Texas and New Mexico. He graduated from Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia, in 1968. He spent two years in the U.S. Army, followed by 20 years at Indiana University, Indianapolis, where he completed house-staff training, a chief residency, and a nephrology fellowship. He served on the faculty in internal medicine, nephrology, and critical care medicine. His research focus was hypertension and cardiovascular disease.

Dr. Luft returned to Germany in 1989, first to the University of Erlangen and then to Berlin in 1992.

In Berlin, Dr. Luft chaired an academic department of internal medicine/nephrology that was associated with the newly founded Max-Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC). In addition to his clinical duties, his research focused on molecular genetics of cardiovascular disease. In 2010, he was released from administrative clinical duties but continued as director of the Experimental and Clinical Research Center, the interface between the basic science MDC and the Charité Medical Faculty. He also served as adjunct professor at the University of Iowa from 2005 to 2012 and at Vanderbilt University from 2013 to 2018. He was appointed senior professor at the Charité in 2018.

Dr. Luft was awarded the research excellence in hypertension award by the American Heart Association. He is a member of the German National Academy of the Sciences.

October-November 2020 (Vol. 12, Number 10 & 11)