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David J. Lefer, Ph.D.

Dr. Lefer is the Director of the Cardiovascular Center of Excellence and a Professor of Medicine and Pharmacology at LSU Health Sciences Center in New Orleans, Louisiana.  Dr. Lefer has been working in the fields of myocardial protection and heart failure for over 28 years and has made a number of important contributions to these fields.   Dr. Lefer’s laboratory was among the very first to demonstrate the critical role of nitric oxide (NO) in the maintenance of cardiovascular homeostasis and was the first to demonstrate the robust cardioprotective actions of nitric oxide donors in acute myocardial infarction (MI) and heart failure.


In 2005, Dr. Lefer’s laboratory initiated investigations of the potential cytoprotective actions of a second gaseous signaling molecule, hydrogen sulfide (H2S).  Work performed in Dr. Lefer’s laboratory was among the first to demonstrate the potent protective effects of H2S in acute MI and various forms of heart failure with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF).


Dr. Lefer’s research investigations have determined that H2S possesses a physiological profile that is very similar to nitric oxide and protects the heart and circulation via a number of powerful cytoprotective mechanisms including: attenuation of oxidative stress and apoptosis, mitochondrial preservation, and upregulation of pro-survival signaling proteins and pathways.

Dr. Lefer’s laboratory continues to investigate H2S-based therapies in cardiovascular disease states.

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