Ernst J. Schaefer MED’70







Ernst J. Schaefer MED’70
Career Achievement

Chief Medical Officer and Co-Founder, Boston Heart Diagnostics & Clinical Enterprise




Dr. Ernst J. Schaefer is a leading authority on the genetics, metabolism, pathophysiology, and predictive importance of serum lipoproteins, especially high-density lipoproteins (HDL), and has devoted his career to finding the best ways to diagnose and treat patients with various forms of dyslipidemia and premature heart disease.


Ernie served as a staff associate and senior investigator in the National Heart Lung & Blood Institute in Bethesda, MD from 1975-1982. He then became the founding director of the Lipid Metabolism Laboratory at the Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University and the Lipid and Heart Disease Prevention Program at Tufts Medical Center in Boston and served in these capacities for 30 years until 2012. He continues to serve as a professor of medicine and nutrition at Tufts University School of Medicine and the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, both in Boston, MA. In 2007, he and a colleague founded Boston Heart Diagnostics, a certified reference laboratory in Framingham, MA, dedicated to heart disease prevention. He currently serves as the chief medical officer and laboratory director of this laboratory and its genetic offshoot laboratory Clinical Enterprise, which does high-throughput genotyping and next generation DNA sequencing as part of the international Eurofins Scientific Network of Laboratories.


In 1981, the American Heart Association Council on Arteriosclerosis honored Ernie with its Irving Page Young Investigator Award for his discovery of the first case of severe HDL deficiency due to the lack of apolipoprotein A-I and severe premature heart disease. He has authored more than 600 papers on the nutritional and genetic regulation of plasma lipoproteins, their relationship to coronary heart disease risk, the dietary and drug treatment of lipid disorders, and optimal treatments for the prevention of heart disease and dementia in the elderly.


Ernie’s body of work has garnered numerous honors including the Horowitz and Merker Awards from the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine and Hospital, the JD Lane Award from the US Public Health Service, the McCollum Award from the American Society of Clinical Nutrition, the Irving Page and Lyman Duff Awards from the American Heart Association Council on Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology, a Distinguished University Professor Award from Tufts University, and an honorary doctorate from the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Between 1997 and 2007, he served as the editor of the journal Atherosclerosis and in 2009 was the chairman of the 15th International Symposium on Atherosclerosis in Boston.


Throughout, longstanding relationships have sustained and spurred Ernie’s scholarship. Many of his research collaborations have spanned decades, generating dozens of projects and papers. He has also advised and mentored many undergraduate, graduate, and medical students, as well as postdoctoral fellows and early-career scientists. Ernie led the fund-raising effort to honor fellow Dartmouth Medical School graduates David Sigelman and Carl Monroe, both MED'70, by naming a room in their honor. He also served for many years as the class secretary.


Ernie studied biology as an undergraduate at Harvard College. He pursued his medical degree at Dartmouth Medical School and the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. He completed his medical residency at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York City and a fellowship in endocrinology at the National Institutes of Health. From 1975–82, he served as a commissioned officer in the United States Public Health Service.


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