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Lisa A. Cassis, PhD


859-323-4933 ext 81400
C.T. Wethington Building, Rm: 521B, 900 S Limestone Street, Lexington, KY 40536-0200


  • Vice President of Research
  • Professor of Pharmacology and Nutritional Sciences
  • Co-Director, Division of Nutritional Sciences
  • Graduate Faculty in Nutritional Sciences
  • Cardiovascular Research Center
  • MD/PhD Program Mentor

College Unit(s)

Other Affiliation(s)
  • MD/PhD Program Mentor
  • CVRC - Affiliated Faculty
  • Nutritional Sciences Graduate Faculty
  • Pharmacology and Nutritional Sciences Primary Faculty
  • Toxicology - Joint Faculty

Biography and Education


West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV: BS in Pharmacology, May 1980
West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV: Ph.D. in Pharmacology, May 1984
Univ. of Wurzburg, Wurzburg, W. Germany: Post-doc in Pharmacology, May 1985
Univ. Of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA: Post-doc in Pharmacology, May 1988

Positions and Honors
Positions and Employment
1980-1984 Pharmacist (part-time), Monongahela Hospital, Morgantown, WV
1984-1985 Alexander von Humboldt Postdoctoral Fellow; Department of Pharmacology, University of Wurzburg, Wurzburg, Germany
1985-1988 Postdoctoral Fellow; Dept. of Pharmacology, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA
1988-1994 Assistant Professor; College of Pharmacy, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY
1994-2000 Associate Professor; College of Pharmacy, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY
2000 Professor; College of Pharmacy, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY
2003 Director and Chair, Graduate Center for Nutritional Sciences, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY
2012 Chair, Department of Molecular and Biomedical Pharmacology
Professional Memberships and Honors
1986 National Research Service Award Postdoctoral Fellowship
1991 IBM Supercomputer Competition, First Place, Near IR Imaging of Atherosclerosis Lesions of Living Arteries, Lisa Cassis and Robert Lodder
1992 Research Career Development Award, NIHLBI
1996-2003 National American Heart Association Grant Reviewer, Co-Chair
1997-2001 Pharmacology Study Section Member, NIH

2010 Associate Editor, Gender Medicine
2010 Leadership Council, Council of High Blood Pressure Research, American Heart Association
2010 College of CRS Reviewers, NIH
2011-2016 Standing member, Vascular Cell and Molecular Biology Study Section, NIH
2012 Women’s Mentor of the Year, Council on Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology, American Heart Association
2012 Mentor of the year, Center for Clinical and Translational Sciences, University of Kentucky
2012 Council for High Blood Pressure Research Harriett Dustan Award for Excellence in Hypertension Research, American Heart Association


Research in my laboratory focuses on the renin-angiotensin system (RAS) in metabolic and cardiovascular diseases. Since our initial discovery in 1988 that adipocytes express a high level of mRNA abundance for angiotensinogen, the only known precursor to angiotensin II (AngII), my laboratory has been studying the regulation of and functional significance of an adipocyte RAS. These studies have been continuously funded by the NIH since 1988. In 1999, in collaboration with Dr. Alan Daugherty at the University of Kentucky, we made the initial observation that infusion of AngII to hyperlipidemic mice increases atherosclerosis and causes formation of abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAAs). In 2000, we published extensive characterization of AngII-induced AAAs in The Journal of Clinical Investigation, a paper that has been cited in excess of 500 times. Current research in my laboratory in this area focuses on mechanisms for sex differences in AAA formation. I am Project Director of a project within the University of Kentucky Superfund Basic Science Research Program focused on polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Our research in this area focuses on PCB-induced diabetes, with an interest in the role of adipocyte aryl hydrocarbon receptors as mediators of inflammation and insulin resistance in adipocytes. I have extensive experience administering programs related to obesity and cardiovascular diseases as Director of a multidisciplinary graduate center focused on training nutritional scientists, Chair of a Department of Nutritional Sciences, Chair of the Department of Molecular and Biomedical Pharmacology, and Director of an NIH T32 on Nutrition and Oxidative Stress, and Director of the Phase II NIH Center of Biomedical Research Excellence on Obesity and Cardiovascular Diseases (COCVD).

Selected Publications

Google Scholar Pubmed Publications