DR VICTOR Dzau, 62, is chancellor for health affairs at 171-year-old Duke University in Durham, North Carolina.
He leads the medical school and is president and chief executive of its hospital and community health-care arm, Duke University Health System.
He is also on the governing board of the Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School, which had its official opening late last month.
Dr Dzau was born in Shanghai in 1946, raised in Hong Kong and underwent undergraduate and postgraduate training at McGill University in Montreal, Canada and at Harvard University in the United States.
Now a US citizen, he has two grown-up daughters with his wife Ruth, who is trained as a physical therapist and involved with social causes such as reproductive health organisation Planned Parenthood.
The acclaimed cardiovascular researcher spent his research career studying the renin-angiotensin system, a hormone system which regulates blood pressure.
His work on renin and gene therapy for treating cardiovascular diseases has paved the way for hypertension and heart failure drugs and therapies.
Dr Dzau was posted to Harvard Medical School from 1974 to 1990 and again from 1996 to 2004, and chaired its executive committee of medicine from 1998 to 2004. There, he also set up a Division of Social Medicine and Health Inequalities with noted medical anthropologist Paul Farmer.
Delivering medical care to under-served communities has been a strong theme in his work.
At Duke, he set up a Global Health Institute to address health-care disparities worldwide.
Between the Harvard stints, he headed the division of cardiovascular medicine at Stanford University's medical school from 1990 to 1996.
This article was first published in The Straits Times.