We are proud to announce that Dr. Anup Sabharwal, Director, Pipeline Medical Engagement, Novo Nordisk, Inc., has been elected to the Fellowship in the American College of Cardiology (FACC). This distinction enables Dr. Sabharwal to serve as an ambassador between Novo Nordisk, Inc. and the American College of Cardiology, providing access to critical resources, training, and opportunities that support our research and development teams, and drive better outcomes for patients with cardiometabolic disease.

We spoke with Dr. Sabharwal to learn about his career journey, what this distinction means to him and for patients, and what he’s most excited for at the upcoming American College of Cardiology Scientific Sessions on April 2-4, 2022, in Washington D.C.

I am the Director for Pipeline Medical Engagement working on our future therapies. Currently, my Pipeline/Neurodegenerative Team is focused on supporting our clinical trial program targeting Alzheimer’s Disease and cell therapy for Parkinson’s Disease. Given the science, genomic, genetic, and cell therapies we are exploring, this is a very exciting time to be at Novo Nordisk.

It really started back in school when science and mathematics were my favorite subjects, and then when I started volunteering at hospitals, it cemented my passion and conviction to become a physician-scientist. 

Initially, my bench and translational research in redox cycling, lipid peroxidation, and endothelial dysfunction translated over to human clinical trials in patients with vascular disease. I started working within vascular function and cholesterol metabolism and oxidation—it's kind of a hybrid bridge between endocrinology and cardiology known as lipidology. I was also running my own clinical trials supported by National Institute of Health (NIH) funding. Not only was I naturally drawn to studying preventive cardiology, but when I discovered I had high cholesterol right before entering medical school, I now had personal motivations as well.

My passion and interest in lipids and preventive cardiology led to a significant amount of my clinical training time in the Vanderbilt Cardiology and the Vanderbilt and Nashville Veterans Affairs Lipid Clinics.

And none of this would have been possible without the support and guidance of my parents, both PhD computer science engineers and researchers, who helped me stick to my path and achieve my dreams. 

First, to cement our commitment to cardiometabolic disease, including and beyond GLP-1RA.

Second, this will give me an opportunity to serve as an ambassador for our organization and to professional societies focused on improving the lives of patients with cardiometabolic disease. This will enable us to have a greater impact in this space through everything from bolstering our own skills with disease state and leadership training, to elevating our voice on key legislation to improve patient lives.

Primordial, primary, and secondary prevention are the hot topics that I am looking forward to most. In addition, seeing some of the late-breaking presentations that will focus on the implementation of therapeutic and lifestyle changes to improve population health.

Preventing complications and premature death are also areas of research that excite me. Precision medicine is the future and that includes looking at family history. For example, if dad has a heart attack at age 60 and his son has one at 40, we need to look at the grandson and assess what risk factors he may have and what opportunities we have to reduce them. In the future, we will likely look more at genetics and population health to try to get ahead of cardiovascular events.

Beyond becoming an Eagle Scout and graduating from medical school, it brought tears to my eyes when my parents recognized this FACC election and congratulated me on LinkedIn, of all places.

I have such an exciting and personally fulfilling opportunity with this role, from treating patients to learning new data, and engaging physicians and scientists, our hope is to work on future therapies to impact millions of patients. As for my advice to others, there will be speed bumps, and there will be hurdles, but if this is your passion do not quit. No matter what curveballs come your way. You never want to have the sense of regret of not pursuing your dreams and what you enjoy. 

Also, don’t underestimate the value of a great mentor to help steer you and provide you with mature and varied perspectives every step of the way.