Zile honored with state’s highest research award

September 23, 2020

Distinguished cardiologist, Michael Robert Zile, M.D., has received the 2020 Governor’s Award for Excellence in Science, the state’s highest honor for research. Zile serves as the Charles Ezra Daniel Professor of Medicine at MUSC and chief of the Division of Cardiology at the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center. He is recognized internationally as a heart failure clinician and scientist and renowned for his seminal contributions to heart failure basic, translational and clinical research and heart failure clinical practice. In each of these fields, he has discoveries and clinical observations that inform the practice of heart failure worldwide.

The Governor’s Award for Excellence in Science was established in 1985 and honors those whose achievements in and contributions to science in South Carolina merit special recognition. The award also serves to promote wider awareness of the superior quality and extent to which scientific activity is ongoing throughout South Carolina. Ordinarily, the governor would present the award to the recipient in person at the South Carolina Statehouse, but due to precautions surrounding coronavirus, the decision was made instead to host a small reception on Sept. 4, at MUSC, in Zile’s honor to celebrate his achievement.

Zile’s achievement places him in very good company at MUSC, as several faculty members before him were recognized for their contributions to research and scholarship, earning them the award. Recent past recipients include Brady (2019); Judy Dubno, Ph.D., (2018); Dean Kilpatrick, Ph.D., and Michael Schmidt, Ph.D., (2017); Perry Halushka, M.D., Ph.D., and Matthew Carpenter (2015); and Rosalie Crouch, Ph.D., (2013).

Zile’s list of accomplishments is nothing short of prolific. He has published more than 350 original peer-reviewed manuscripts. An international expert in the field of heart failure with a preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF), Zile has made substantial contributions to the understanding of the basic pathophysiology of HFpEF and the clinical identification of these patients. Most recently, he has been engaged in translating these concepts into clinical trials that are designed to improve the outcomes of patients that suffer with this condition. His work is critically important to the state and nation’s health care systems.

Zile’s leadership in clinical trial and international patient care registries has yielded critical insights into Chagas disease and the changing incidence of sudden cardiac death in heart failure in the current era, helping to define more precisely the role of implantable hemodynamic monitoring devices in chronic heart failure. As a multicenter trial investigator, he has had a leadership role in 48 clinical trials.

Zile has been an invited member of 16 study sections, including the important National Institutes of Health Heart Failure Network Protocol Review Committee and Data and Safety Monitoring board. He currently sits on the editorial boards of seven cardiology journals, including Circulation and Circulation Heart Failure. He has been an ad hoc reviewer for the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology Annual Scientific meetings on a nearly annual basis. To date, he has published 318 original research studies, 25 reviews and six editorials in peer-reviewed journals.

Zile has received multiple awards for his contributions throughout his career. He was the recipient of the Faculty Teaching Award at Tufts University in 1987 and MUSC Peggy Schachte Research Mentor Award in 2015. He was invited to serve as a member of the prestigious American Board of Internal Medicine board of directors from 2007 until 2011. From 2011 until 2013, he was a member of the ABIM Task Force on Governance. In 2019, he was awarded the highest award in the Veteran Affairs system for achievement in biomedical research: the Department of Veterans Affairs Middleton Award, which honors the most accomplished biomedical investigators in the Department of Veterans Affairs in the United States.


About the Medical University of South Carolina

Founded in 1824 in Charleston, MUSC is the oldest medical school in the South as well as the state’s only integrated academic health sciences center with a unique charge to serve the state through education, research and patient care. Each year, MUSC educates and trains more than 3,000 students and nearly 800 residents in six colleges: Dental Medicine, Graduate Studies, Health Professions, Medicine, Nursing and Pharmacy. The state’s leader in obtaining biomedical research funds, MUSC brought in more than $284 million in fiscal year 2019.