David P. Hajjar

David P. Hajjar was a nonresident senior fellow in the Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings, and is dean emeritus and distinguished professor of pathology and biochemistry at Weill Cornell Medicine at Cornell University. He has had 35 years of experience as a medical educator and researcher, having published widely on heart disease. Based on his experience as a Fulbright scholar, Harvard-Kennedy senior fellow on science policy and diplomacy, and as a Jefferson Science fellow in the U.S. State Department as a foreign affairs officer, his current research has now focused on educational science policy issues as they relate to human health and disease.

Dr. Hajjar received his doctorate in biochemistry in 1978 from the University of New Hampshire, after which he became a post-doctoral fellow at both Cornell University Medical College and The Rockefeller University. In 1981, he joined the Medical College faculty, and was appointed a full tenured professor in biochemistry and pathology in 1989—one of the youngest in the history of the Medical College. Dr. Hajjar served with distinction as dean of the Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences from 1997 to 2013, as well as the Frank Rhodes Distinguished Professor of Cardiovascular Biology and Genetics during that time. He was also a member of Weill Cornell Medical College’s (WCMC) Board of Overseers from 1997 to 2013. From 2000 to 2007, he served as vice provost of the faculty, and in 2003, he was appointed senior executive vice dean and executive vice provost at the college until 2013.

Over the years, Dr. Hajjar has developed broad expertise in managing Weill Cornell’s complex global and domestic graduate biomedical and research programs. As a senior executive at the Medical College since 1997, he has led several major strategic initiatives, including the development of a $180 million medical research program at Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar; a branch campus of Cornell University in the Middle East; and the planning and implementation of educational and curricular reform at the college in New York. As the research dean in New York, he led the $1.6 billion strategic initiative that led to the development of the Belfer Research Building and other associated academic programs for WCMC. He also managed the medical school’s $200 million annual research budget. A proponent of community outreach, Dr. Hajjar developed, while dean of the graduate school, the Cornell Science Fair in New York City, now an annual event designed to encourage high school students to consider careers in science.

Dr. Hajjar is a distinguished, highly-funded investigator by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) who has made significant contributions to cardiovascular research. Since 1978, he has received more than $85 million dollars in federal (NIH) and non-federal grants to support his research. His contribution of over 175 scientific publications has earned him international recognition as a leader in the field of vascular biology. From 1995 to 2010, he served as the founding director of the Center of Vascular Biology at Weill Cornell Medical College.

Dr. Hajjar received the Andrew Mellon Foundation Teacher-Scientist Award in 1981 and in 1989, became a fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Hajjar received the prestigious Federation of American Societies of Experimental Biology (FASEB)’s Warner Lambert/Parke Davis Award in 1991 for his discoveries on the role of herpesviruses in the pathogenesis of vascular disease. In 2003, he received the Chugai Award from FASEB which recognizes a distinguished scientist who exhibits both excellence in mentoring and education, and outstanding research achievements in experimental pathology. Dr. Hajjar has trained over 30 students and postdoctoral fellows. He has also been the recipient of several other awards from the American Chemical Society and the American Heart Association.

In 2011, the Fulbright Commission, through the U.S. State Department, named Dr. Hajjar to one of its premier senior scholarship programs—the Fulbright Scholars Program. As a Fulbrighter, Dr. Hajjar worked in Qatar in concert with Weill Cornell Medical College–Qatar, and the College of Arts and Sciences of Qatar University, to strengthen the biomedical research and educational enterprise of Qatar and to develop science policies and opportunities for collaborations between Cornell and Qatar University. To continue this work in science policy, Dr. Hajjar was named a senior fellow at the Belfer Center at the Harvard-Kennedy School of Government in 2013 to develop biomedical research polices for undergraduate and graduate students through their diplomacy and science/technology programs. In 2014, the National Academies selected him to be a Jefferson Science fellow in the U.S. State Department to work in the Bureau of Global Health to continue his work on science diplomacy and policy issues as they relate to human health and disease in the Near East; and, in 2016, he was appointed as a nonresident senior fellow at the Brooking Institution focusing on educational science policy issues as they relate to human health and disease.

Cornell University, Dean Emeritus and Distinguished Professor of Pathology and Biochemistry
Council on Foreign Relations
U.S. State Department, foreign affairs consultant on science and technology

  • Current Positions

    • Dean Emeritus and Distinguished Professor of Pathology and Biochemistry, Weill Cornell Medicine, Cornell University
    • Assistant, Associate and Full Professor of Pathology and Biochemistry, Cornell University Medical College
  • Past Positions

    • Nonresident Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy, Center for Middle East Policy, The Brookings Institution (2016-2017)
    • Jefferson Science Fellow/Foreign Affairs Officer, Office of International Health and Disease, U.S. State Department (2014-2015)
    • Senior Fellow, Strategic Science Policy/Diplomacy Program, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard-Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University (2013-2014)
    • Rhodes Distinguished Professor of Cardiovascular Biology and Genetics, Weill Cornell Medicine, Cornell University (1997-2014)
    • Dean of the Faculty, Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences, Cornell University (1997-2013)
    • Executive Vice Dean and Executive Vice Provost of Medical Affairs, Weill Cornell Medicine, Cornell University (2007-2012)
    • Vice Provost of the Faculty and Research Dean, Weill Cornell Medicine, Cornell University (2000-2007)
  • Education

    • Ph.D., University of New Hampshire, 1978
    • M.S., University of New Hampshire, 1977
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