During his academic career, Dr. Hodis’ overarching research interest has been in the area of vascular disease and atherobiology with investigative pursuits to understand the genetics and biology of the etiology and progression of these aging processes including prevention and intervention. In addition, Dr. Hodis’ research interests include development and application of imaging and measurement tools for the assessment, screening, prevention and treatment of atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease. Since vascular disease is an aging process affected by many conditions, Dr Hodis’ approach is integrative biology in practice and highly collaborative in application involving study of a broad array of conditions and disease processes that converge either as a cause of or result from atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease. Dr. Hodis’ work is translational in nature and spans basic to clinical science, including large population studies and intervention trials.
With more than 26 years of continuous NIH funding, Dr. Hodis has extensive experience as Principal Investigator from 20 NIH projects including 8 randomized controlled trials integrating translational research, biomedical engineering and integrative biology/medicine spanning basic, clinical and genetic investigation. In addition, Dr. Hodis has an extensive collaborative record as Co-Principal Investigator or Co-Investigator on another 24 NIH projects. By leading a stable research team as director of the USC Atherosclerosis Research Unit, Dr. Hodis has successfully completed 10 single-center, randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled serial arterial imaging trials of menopausal hormone therapy, lipid-lowering therapy, insulin-sensitizers, nattokinase, vitamin E, vitamin B and soy isoflavone supplementation.
In addition, as the director of the Atherosclerosis Research Unit Core Imaging and Reading Center (CIRC), Dr. Hodis has 25 years of experience in leading a stable team of highly-trained and experienced imaging specialist in the coordination and conduct of over 25 human clinical studies predominantly NIH-funded that have included large national randomized controlled trials and epidemiological and community studies. The CIRC provides a variety of non-invasive arterial imaging services encompassing anatomical and physiological measurements of atherosclerosis developed by Dr. Hodis’ team providing a full-array of research and experienced capability to support all investigational approaches that employ arterial imaging.
Dr. Hodis has received a number of honors and awards including the North American Menopause Society Thomas Clarkson Outstanding Clinical and Basic Science Research Award, a peer-nominated award for translational contributions, NASA Technology Awards and an Outstanding Teaching Award from the University of Southern California. He has been inducted into the prestigious Association of American Physicians and holds membership in a variety of scientific organizations, such as Fellow of the American Heart Association. Dr. Hodis serves on Special Emphasis Panels and review committees for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other funding agencies and has extensive experience as Chair of Data Safety and Monitoring Boards for NIH-funded studies. Dr. Hodis has served on dissertation committees and mentored 56 MD/PhD, PhD and master level graduate students, most of whom have used research data from Atherosclerosis Research Unit (ARU) studies as the basis for their theses. In addition, Dr. Hodis has served as a co-mentor on several NIH K-awards. Dr. Hodis has delivered more than 300 invited presentations worldwide and authored or co-authored more than 250 original scientific, peer reviewed publications many of which have been in the field of women’s health.
A major focus and special interest of Dr. Hodis’ research has been women’s health in which he and his colleagues have made significant contributions to science. Dr. Hodis and his colleagues have conducted two of the earliest randomized controlled trials of hormone therapy and atherosclerosis intervention, the Estradiol Prevention Atherosclerosis Trial (EPAT; Ann Intern Med 2001) and the Women’s Estrogen-progestin Lipid-Lowering Hormone Atherosclerosis Regression Trial (WELL-HART; New Engl J Med 2003). The results of these early trials contributed to formation of the menopausal hormone therapy timing hypothesis that posits that the effects of hormone therapy depend on timing of initiation of hormone therapy in relation to menopause. Dr. Hodis and his colleagues conducted the Early versus Later Intervention Trial with Estradiol (ELITE; New Engl J Med 2016), the only randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial designed to test the menopausal hormone therapy timing hypothesis. The results of ELITE showed that the progression of atherosclerosis was reduced with hormone therapy when initiated in women less than 6 years since menopause but a null effect on atherosclerosis progression when initiated in women more than 10 years since menopause. ELITE supports the menopausal hormone therapy timing hypothesis, mechanistically explaining the divergent results from other studies reported over the past 40 years and has major public health significance. In addition, Dr. Hodis and his colleagues have conducted other women’s health studies such as the Women’s Isoflavone Soy Health (WISH; Stroke 2011) study, the only soy isoflavone primary prevention atherosclerosis trial in postmenopausal women. The ARU program is described at aru.usc.edu.