Where Patients Come for the Future of Medicine, Today.
Unlocking cholesterol’s secrets
In 1973, in the labs of UT Southwestern, they had a “Eureka Moment,” when they discovered a molecular mechanism – previously unknown – that turned out to be the key step in cholesterol regulation in the body.
The two would win the Nobel Prize for their discovery in 1985. But more importantly, their work led to the development of lifesaving statin drugs, which are used today by more than 30 million people around the world to control their cholesterol.
Discovering a liver disease culprit
Working in UTSW labs in 2008, the duo found that individuals who carry a specific form of the gene PNPLA3 have more fat in their livers and a greater risk of developing liver inflammation. Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease affects as many as one-third of adults in America.
Knowing who’s at increased risk of developing liver disease could aid physicians in encouraging patients to make lifestyle changes or take other preventive measures to help mitigate their genetic risk for the disorder.
From microscope to stethoscope
Dr. Kami Banks began her career in health care as a researcher, studying hypertension in the labs of UT Southwestern. There, her involvement in investigating barriers to awareness, treatment, and control of hypertension inspired her to become a doctor.
Today, she combines the worlds of the microscope and the stethoscope as a cardiologist at UTSW, where she treats and guides patients in the areas of preventive cardiology.
At the same time, she explores cardiovascular imaging to detect pre-clinical disease, evaluates ethnic and gender barriers in cardiovascular disease, and develops community-based health programs.