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J. Antonio G. Lopez


J. Antonio G. Lopez

90F – Internal Medicine

Whether in an academic environment, clinical setting, or private practice, J. Antonio G. Lopez has been a model of leadership and integrity. In a career that has taken him all over the United States, Lopez developed special expertise in the pathogenesis and treatment of cholesterol and lipid disorders, for the prevention of Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease (ASCVD) which built on his research training while in private practice in cardiology. In 2014, he became a medical director (cardiovascular) at the multinational biopharmaceutical company Amgen, on a team with responsibility for a breakthrough new drug (called a PCSK9 inhibitor) that reduces LDL (low density lipoprotein or “bad” cholesterol) to a level previously thought to be unattainable.

Lopez graduated from the University of California, San Diego with honors.  He earned his MD degree with honors from Harvard Medical School, where he received the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation Merit Scholar Award. While at Harvard, Lopez presented at a featured research presentation meeting of the American Heart Association. Among the attendees who asked him questions were Donald Heistad, MD, Allyn Mark, MD, and Francois Abboud, MD, from the University of Iowa.

“At that time, I had no idea how profound the research was at the University of Iowa,” Lopez says.

Years later, while in residency in internal medicine at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, he was considering where to complete a fellowship in cardiovascular medicine. Given his interests in vascular biology and atherosclerosis, his mentors recommended the University of Iowa. Lopez recounts that he came to Iowa to interview in a snowstorm, but he soon felt right at home due to the strong relationships he developed with his new mentors and colleagues.

“Since the first day I met him, Donald Heistad has been a father figure to me. Friends and mentors included Drs. Mark Armstrong, Allyn Mark, Melvin Marcus, David Harrison, Peter Densen, Michael Winniford, and others,” he says. “There was a friendly, seamless approach to furthering knowledge at Iowa. It’s imperative for students to have caring mentors for their career development.”

While at Iowa, Lopez performed and published landmark studies in atherosclerosis and cholesterol disorders. Awards for his research included: Second Prize National Young Investigator Award from the American College of Cardiology, the Alfred Soffer Research Award from the American College of Chest Physicians, the National Trainee Award from the American Federation for Clinical Research and an Associate Investigator Award and Merit Review Award from the Veterans Administration.

Lopez had myriad opportunities at Iowa to explore different areas, which contributed to his career in private practice. Diverse engagements include: member of the expert panel of the National Lipid Association Recommendations Part 2 panel; member of the Editorial Board of Diabetes Forecast, the Health and Wellness Journal of the American Diabetes Association; serving on the Editorial Board of the journal Metabolic Syndrome and Related Disorders, and Section Editor, Current Atherosclerosis Reports, for Rare Diseases and Lipid Metabolism; reviewer for the Journal of Clinical Lipidology; and now as Clinical Research Medical Director at Amgen.

The son of a seamstress and a laborer, Lopez maintains a dedication to people in underserved communities. He strives to include underserved populations in clinical trials and seeks to provide access to innovative therapies to patients of all backgrounds.