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Samar R. El Khoudary, PhD, MPH, FAHA

  • Professor, Department of Epidemiology, University of Pittsburgh School of Public Health

Dr. El Khoudary’s research emphasizes cardiovascular disease in women with a particular focus on understanding why women are subjected to higher risk of cardiovascular disease after menopause. Specifically, Dr. El Khoudary has evaluated associations and the mechanisms linking menopause, sex hormone levels and subclinical measures of atherosclerosis in midlife women. She and her research team were the first to show that during the menopausal transition, particularly during the late peri-menopausal stage, the carotid artery undergoes remodeling and adverse changes that could potentially impact the vulnerability of the vessel to disease as women transition through menopause. Moreover, Dr. El Khoudary’s team has shown for the first time that estradiol and follicle stimulating hormone trajectories, cardinal markers of menopause, over the menopausal transition are significantly associated with atherosclerosis risk after menopause. Additionally, they were the first to report that postmenopausal women have greater volumes of cardiovascular fat than premenopausal. Another important factor that could contribute to the greater risk of cardiovascular disease after menopause is the dynamic changes in lipid that accompany the menopausal transition. Dr. El Khoudary has presented for the first time data supporting a novel hypothesis that the good cholesterol cardio-protective capacity may be compromised over the menopausal transition.

She is the principal investigator of the Puzzle of High-density Lipoprotein in Postmenopausal Women: The Puzzle-Post Study, which is funded by a Central Research Development Fund grant, and the Principal investigator of the High-density Lipoprotein Particles in Women Transitioning Through Menopause: The HDL-Menopause Study, which is funded by an award from the American Heart Association national affiliate. Dr. El Khoudary also is the co-investigator of the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation IV/Coordinating Center, National Institute of Aging.

Dr. El Khoundary is an active member of The American Heart Association USA , The North American Menopause Society and the Endocrine Society. She is an elected Fellow of the American Heart Association (FAHA) on the Epi-council. She is a grant reviewer for the American Heart Association and an ad hoc reviewer for several scientific Journals. Dr. El Khoudary is actively involved in organizing and judging scientific meetings for the Great Rivers Affiliate of the American Heart Association. She has presented her research at numerous scientific conferences throughout the United States. Her work has caught national and international media attention numerous times. Dr. El Khoudary has received several honors and awards including a Fulbright Scholarship, the Trudy Bush Fellowship for Cardiovascular Research in Women’s Health from the American Heart Association, and the New Investigator Award at the 23rd Annual Meeting of the North American Menopause Society.

Dr. El Khoudary is a pharmacist and an epidemiologist. She completed her Master of Public Health from Al-Quds University in Gaza, Palestine. Following the receipt of a Fulbright Ph.D. Scholarship from the United States Department of State, she completed her Ph.D. at the University of Pittsburgh.