2012 Belfer Lecturer
Dr. Walter J. Koch is a Professor of Pharmacology and Director of the Center for Translational Medicine at Temple University School of Medicine. This position is a new one for Dr. Koch (February, 2012) as previously he was the W. W. Smith Professor of Medicine and Center Director at Thomas Jefferson University (2003 – 2012). Dr. Koch received his Ph.D. in Pharmacology and Cell Biophysics in 1990 in the Lab of Dr. Arnold Schwartz at the University of Cincinnati. Following this he began a Howard Hughes Post-Doctoral Fellowship in the Laboratory of Dr. Robert J. Lefkowitz at Duke University Medical Center. In 1995 he was recruited to start a molecular cardiovascular biology laboratory in the Department of Surgery at Duke. Dr. Koch moved to Jefferson in 2003 to build the Center for Translational Medicine where he successfully recruited 10 primary tenure-track faculty. These Center faculty members under Dr. Koch’s leadership carried out basic and translational studies in cardiovascular disease. He is building such a Center at Temple where he is recruiting into the newest research enterprise and building on campus. Specifically in the Koch Laboratory, studies are focused on the adrenergic receptor system in heart failure. Over the last two decades the Koch lab has focused on the role of G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) kinases (GRKs) and the role they play in normal and failing heart function including how they regulate adrenergic receptors. Recent research directions include carrying large animal pre-clinical studies in heart failure gene therapy and also investigating the role of GRKs and ß-arrestins in cardiac repair through regeneration. Overall, Dr. Koch has published over 250 peer-reviewed articles that has led to over 12,000 citations.
Dr. Koch has received numerous honors and awards including being named the 2011 Outstanding Investigator of the International Society of Heart Research. Dr. Koch is currently well funded through the NIH and holds a MERIT Award from the NHLBI and is the Principal Investigator of a Program Project Grant. In 2010, Dr. Koch ended his tenure as Chair of the CCHF NIH study section and reviews grants for several international committees. He currently is a member of the Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee (RAC) of the NIH. He is an Associate Editor of Circulation Research and an Executive Editor of Clinical and Translational Science. He is also currently the Co-Chair of the Basic Cardiovascular Science (BCVS) Council of the American Heart Association.