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Richard H. Karas, MD, PhD


Programs + Specialties
Research Interests Cardiovascular effects of hormones, mouse models of cardiovascular disease, risks and benefits of lipid altering interventions
Training + Education Tufts University School of Medicine; Brigham and Women's Hospital; Duke University Medical Center; University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
Board Certifications Internal Medicine
NPI # 1073620431
Gender Male

Locations + Directions

Tufts Medical Center
800 Washington St., #80
Boston, MA 02111
Fax #: 617-636-5913
Phone #: 617-636-8776

Honors + Awards

2004 Finalist, Best Poster Award in Population Sciences, Annual Scientific Sessions, American Heart Association.
2002-2006 Established Investigator, American Heart Association
2001 Finalist, American Heart Association Basic Science Research Award
1994-1999 National Institutes of Health, Clinical Investigator Development Award
1992 First Place, Young Investigator’s Award for Molecular and Cellular Cardiology, American Cardiology

Publications + National Presentations

Mendelsohn ME, Karas RH. Rapid progress for non-nuclear estrogen receptor signaling. Journal of Clinical Investigation 2010; 120(7):2277-2279.

Alsheikh-Ali AA, Karas RH. Balancing the intended and unintended effects of statins. British Medical Journal 2010; 340:c2240.

Advisory Panel for NAMS. Position Statement: Estrogen and progestogen use in postmenopausal women: 2010 position statement of The North American Menopause Society. Journal of North American Menopause Society 2010; 17:242-255.

Alsheikh-AA, Trikalinos T, Kent DM, Karas RH. Statins, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and risk of cancer. Journal of the American College of Cardiology 2008;52(14):1141-1147.

Michael S, Surks HK, Wang Y, Zhu Y, Blanton R, Jamnongit M, Aronovitz M, Baur W, Ohtani K, Wilkerson MK, Bonev AD, Nelson MT, Karas RH, Mendelsohn ME. High blood pressure arising from a defect in vascular function. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA 2008;105(18):6702-6707.

Mendelsohn ME, Karas RH. HRT and the Young at Heart. New England Journal of Medicine 2007;356(25):2639-2641.

Mendelsohn ME, Karas RH. Molecular and cellular basis of cardiovascular gender differences. Science 2005;308(5728):1583-1587.

Lu Q, Pallas DC, Surks HK, Baur WE, Mendelsohn ME, Karas RH. Striatin assembles a membrane signaling complex necessary for rapid, nongenomic activation of endothelial no synthase by estrogen receptor α. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2004;USA 101(49):17126-17131.

Shearman AM, Cupples LA, Demissie S, Peter I, Schmid CH, Karas RH, Mendelsohn ME, Housman DE, Levy D. Association between estrogen receptor α gene variation and cardiovascular disease. (SCOR) The Journal of the American Medical Association 2003;290(17):2263-2270.

Thompson PD, Clarkson P, Karas RH. Statin-associated myopathy. The Journal of the American Medical Association 2003;289(13):1681-1690.

Zhu Y, Bian Z, Lu P, Karas RH, Bao L, Cox D, Hodgin J, Shaul PW,Thoren P, Smithies O, Gustafsson JA, Mendelsohn ME. Abnormal Vascular Function and Hypertension in Mice Deficient in Estrogen Receptor b. Science 2002;295:505-508.

Karas RH, Schulten H, Pare G, Aronovitz M, Ohlsson C, Gustafsson J, Mendelsohn ME. Effects of estrogen on the vascular injury response in estrogen receptor ∝,β (double) knockout mice. Circulation Research 2001;89:534-539.

Karas RH, Eickels MV, Lydon JP, Roddy S, Kwoun M, Aronovitz M, Baur WE, Conneely O, O’Malley BW, Mendelsohn ME. A Complex role for the progesterone receptor in the response to vascular injury. (SCOR) Journal of Clinical Investigation 2001;108(4):611-618.

Karas RH, Hodgin J, Kwoun M, Krege JH, Aronovitz M, Mackey W, Gustafsson JA, Korach KE, Smithies O, Mendelsohn ME. Estrogen inhibits the vascular injury response in estrogen receptor b-deficient female mice, Proc Nat'l Acad of Sci, 1999; 96:15133-15136.

Mendelsohn ME, Karas RH. Mechanisms of Disease: The protective effects of estrogen on the cardiovascular system. N Engl J Med, 1999; 340:1801-1811.

Karas RH, Gauer EA, Bieber HE, Baur WE, Mendelsohn ME. Growth factor activation of the estrogen receptor in vascular cells occurs via a mitogen-activated protein kinase-independent pathway. Journal of Clinical Investigation 1998;101(12):2851-2861.

Col NF, Eckman MH, Karas RH, Pauker SG, Goldberg RJ, Ross EM, Orr RK, Wong JB. Patient-specific decisions about hormone replacement therapy in postmenopausal women. JAMA 1997; 277:1140-1147.

Iafrati MD, Karas RH, Aronovitz M, Kim S, Sullivan TR Jr, Lubahn DB, O'Donnell TF Jr, Korach KS, Mendelsohn ME. Estrogen inhibits the vascular injury response in estrogen receptor alpha-deficient mice. Nature Med 1997; 3:545-548.

Karas RH, Patterson BL, Mendelsohn ME. Human vascular smooth muscle cells contain functional estrogen receptor. Circulation 1994; 89:1943-1950.


An internationally-renowned expert on cholesterol, lipids and statins, Richard Karas, MD, PhD, has had a profound impact on the advancement and success of Tufts Medical Center’s research. He is the Chief Scientific Officer at Tufts MC and also serves as Executive Director of the Molecular Cardiology Research Institute, Vice Chairman for Research for the Department of Medicine, Director of the Preventive Cardiology Center and Co-Director of the Women’s Heart Center. In addition, Dr. Karas is the Elisa Kent Mendelsohn Professor of Molecular Medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine. He is board certified in Cardiovascular Disease and Internal Medicine.

Professional Memberships

Basic Science and Population/Epidemiology Councils, American Heart Association
Endocrine Society
American Association for the Advancement of Science

News, Media + Videos

The Cam Neely Foundation for Cancer Care has had a profound impact on the delivery of cancer cancer at Tufts Medical Center in Boston, MA.

The Cam Neely Foundation for Cancer Care has had a transcendent impact on the delivery of cancer care at Tufts MC.

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Research Focus

Dr. Karas' major research interest is the effect of estrogen on the cardiovascular system. More specifically, Dr. Karas' research focuses on the molecular pathways that mediate estrogen's direct effects on vascular cells. Recent studies from the MCRC have shown that estrogen receptors in vascular cells can be activated in several novel ways, and several of these signaling pathways are actively being studied in the lab. Current studies are directed at understanding the role of rapid estrogen receptor signaling, and how this shares cross-talk with traditional genomic signaling pathways. Estrogens effects on microRNA expression are also being studied. Ongoing, as well, are attempts to clone novel estrogen receptor-interacting proteins that regulate receptor activation. In addition to these cell-based, molecular studies, Dr. Karas also uses whole animal, mouse models of cardiovascular diseases to study the effects of estrogen on the vascular system in vivo. In conjunction with the MCRI's mouse physiology core and mouse transgenic core laboratories, studies of estrogens effects on the response to vascular injury, on myocardial infarction, and on cardiac electrophysiology are all ongoing. These studies take advantage of the availability of several different genetically altered mouse models to define the molecular pathways that mediate estrogens effects. Finally, Dr. Karas also maintains an active interest in clinically-based studies focused on the regulation of vasomotor tone and on the effects of lipid lowering interventions and adverse events related to lipid-altering interventions