2007 - Judges Bios

The nominees were evaluated and two winners selected by a Judging Panel of three world-renowned cardiologists.
Chairman: Jean-Pierre Bassand, MD, Professor of Cardiology, Chief of Cardiology Department, University Hospital Jean Minjoz, Besançon, France.


Jean-Pierre Bassand

Professor Bassand graduated from the University of Besançon, and soon became Associate Professor of Cardiology and Cardiovascular Diseases in the same University. Since 1993 he has been a Professor of Cardiology and Cardiovascular Diseases at the University of Franche-Comté-Besançon, Faculty of Medicine. He is currently also Head of the Department of Cardiology at the University Hospital Jean Minjoz in Besançon.

His main interests in research are in coronary artery diseases, acute and chronic, interventional cardiology, and venous thromboembolism.

He has produced so far 160 publications in peer reviewed journals.

He is Immediate Past President of the European Society of Cardiology and has occupied many key positions in the past few years, such as Councillor on the Board of the European Society of Cardiology 1996 - 1998, Treasurer 1998-2000, Chairman of the Committee for Clinical and Scientific Initiatives 1998-2000, President-Elect 2000-2002, and President 2002-2004.

Professor Bassand is also a Member of the Editorial Board of the European Heart Journal and Co-Editor of EuroIntervention. He is a Fellow of numerous Societies, such as the French Society of Cardiology, the European Society of Cardiology and the American College of Cardiology, and an Honorary Member of the Polish Society of Cardiology and the German Society of Cardiology.

He has been appointed Honorary Professor in several renowned Universities around the world, such as the University of Medicine II, Shanghai and Zhujiang University of Medicine, Canton, Peoples Republic of China, and the Faculty of Medicine, Dakar, Republic of Senegal.

He has also been involved in various steering committees, such as OASIS V, OASIS VI, EUROPA, TARGET, RESIST, BEST, IMPRESS and MERLIN TIMI 36.


Maarten L. Simoons, MD, Professor and Head of Cardiology Department. Erasmus MC - Thoraxcenter, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.


Maarten L. Simoons

Professor Maarten L. Simoons is Chairman of the Cardiovascular Research School at Erasmus University Rotterdam (COEUR). He is a fellow of the Royal Academy of Science and Arts in the Netherlands, as well as a fellow of several international learned societies.

From 1991 until 2004 he was a member of the Board of the European Society of Cardiology, and served as President of the ESC from 2000 to 2002.

His research interests include management of acute coronary syndromes, management of atherosclerosis and the application of informatics in cardiology and medicine.

He has published more than 500 papers in international peer reviewed journals, and supervised the training of 23 PhD students. He has developed an extensive research network to facilitate the conduct of large scale clinical trials of acute coronary syndromes and atherosclerosis.

Furthermore he has fostered international collaboration in clinical research, and through the European Society of Cardiology.

Professor Simoons is Head of Cardiology Department at the Thoraxcenter that is a leading center for patient care as well as basic, applied and clinical research and education. It includes the department of Cardiology, with divisions for cardiovascular biomedical engineering, experimental cardiology, cardiovascular epidemiology and clinical cardiology, and the department of Cardiothoracic Surgery. The Thoraxcenter has about 600 employees among whom are 9 full professors leading different research groups.


James T. Willerson, MD, President, The University of Texas Health Science Center; President-Elect, Texas Heart Institute, Houston, Texas, USA.


James T. Willerson

Dr. James T. Willerson is the President of the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston where he is the Alkek-Williams Distinguished Professor and holds the Edward Randall III Chair in Internal Medicine. In October 2004, Dr. Willerson was named President-Elect of the Texas Heart Institute in Houston. He holds the Dunn Chair in Cardiology Research and the John O'Quinn supported "James T. Willerson Distinguished Chair in Cardiovascular Research," both at the Texas Heart Institute. From 1989 through 2000, he was the Chairman of the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston where an Annual Lectureship has been established in his name. He is also the Medical Director, Director of Cardiology Research, and Co-Director of the Cullen Cardiovascular Research Laboratories at the Texas Heart Institute. He is an Adjunct Professor of Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine and at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

Dr. Willerson is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Texas at Austin where he lettered for three years in varsity swimming. Upon graduating as a member of Alpha Omega Alpha from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, he completed his medical and cardiology training as an intern, resident, and research and clinical fellow at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, and as a Clinical Associate at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland.

He is the former Chairman of the National American Heart Association Research Committee and of the National Institutes of Health Cardiovascular and Renal Study Section. He has received the Award of Merit from the American Heart Association and has served as a member of the Board of Directors and Steering Committee of the National American Heart Association. Before coming to Houston, Dr. Willerson was Professor of Medicine and Director of the Cardiology Division at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas and Director and Principal Investigator of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute's Specialized Center of Research under a major grant from the NIH. Upon his departure, the "James T. Willerson, M.D. Distinguished Chair in Cardiovascular Diseases" was established at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School.

Dr. Willerson has served as visiting professor and invited lecturer at more than 200 institutions worldwide. He has received numerous national and international awards. He is a member and past President of the Paul Dudley White Cardiology Society at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital. He has been elected to membership in numerous professional societies, including the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences.

He has served on many editorial boards for professional publications. From 1993 to 2004, he was the longest-serving Editor of Circulation, the major publication of the American Heart Association. He has edited or co-edited twenty textbooks, including the 2nd edition of Cardiovascular Medicine which was released in July of 2000. Additionally, he has published more than 800 scientific articles.

His recent research work has concentrated on elucidating mechanisms responsible for the conversion from stable to unstable coronary heart disease syndromes, the prevention of unstable angina and acute myocardial infarction, the detection and treatment of unstable atherosclerotic plaques, and the discovery of the genes and abnormal proteins responsible for cardiovascular disease. In 2001, he and his colleagues at the Texas Heart Institute in Houston and at the Hospital Procardico in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, have begun bone marrow-derived stem cell transplantation directly into the hearts of patients with severe heart failure; and they have demonstrated objective and subjective evidence of clinical improvement, enhanced blood flow, and improved contractile function in the hearts of these patients. In May 2004, the work was expanded to the Texas Heart Institute and St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital in Houston and represents the first FDA-approved trial of its kind in the United States.

Upon moving to Houston in 1989, Dr. Willerson created the Institute of Molecular Medicine for the Prevention of Human Diseases, a basic and clinical research effort devoted to the discovery of genes and proteins that cause the human diseases of our time. It is his strong conviction that from these discoveries will come the knowledge to predict, prevent, and cure heart disease, high blood pressure, strokes, aneurysms, heart attacks, and the deleterious effects of aging.