Abarmard Maziar Zafari, MD, PhD

Professor of Medicine

Emory University School of Medicine


Dr. A. Maziar Zafari is Associate Professor of Medicine and Director of the Cardiovascular Training Program at Emory University School of Medicine. He was born in 1962 in Heidelberg, Germany. After spending his childhood and adolescence in Iran, he returned to Germany in 1979 where he graduated from Hainberg Gymnasium in Göttingen. Dr. Zafari attended from 1981-1990 University of Cologne's (Universität zu Köln) School of Medicine and College of Philososophy for his combined studies in medicine and history of medicine. Subsequently, he moved to the United States to complete his residency training in Internal Medicine/Primary Care at Yale University. During this period he spent three months at the National Institutes of Health, working in the research laboratory of Dr. William C. Roberts on the role of coronary calcium deposition in coronary atherosclerosis. From 1993 to 1994 he was Chief Medical Resident for the Yale University Primary Care Program and an Instructor at Yale School of Medicine. In 1994 he began a two-year research fellowship in vascular biology working in the laboratory of Dr. Kathy K. Griendling characterizing the role of the vascular NAD(P)H oxidase in angiotensin II-induced vascular growth, followed by two years of clinical training in general cardiology at Emory University School of Medicine. In 1998 he joined the Cardiology Faculty at Emory University and the Atlanta VA Medical Center in the rank of Assistant Professor and has focused on investigating the role of genetic markers in the development and progression of cardiovascular diseases. In 2004 Dr. Zafari was appointed Director of the Cardiovascular Training Program at Emory, and advanced to the rank of Associate Professor in 2005. In addition to publication of scientific contributions and review articles in peer-reviewed journals, he has served as editor of the Hospital Physician Cardiology Board Review Manuals, has coauthored a review of Internal Medicine, and has published prose and poetry in the United States and abroad.

Dr.Zafari has established his molecular cardiology laboratory focusing on the role of genetic markers in cardiovascular diseases. His research comprises the validation and discovery of genetic polymorphisms related to genes involved in oxidative stress, and their functional relationship with the development and progression of cardiovascular diseases. To accomplish this task, he has developed a databank of hundreds of patients with demographic, angiographic, genetic and cellular information to investigate the role of genetic polymorphisms and chronic infection in the development and severity of coronary atherosclerosis. Collaborations established with other clinical investigators and scientists in the Emory Division of Cardiology, as well as with investigators at the Rollins School of Public Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Cardiovascular Research Institute at Morehouse School of Medicine, and the Georgia Institute of Technology have resulted in funded research projects related to metabolic syndrome, the role of infections and genetic markers in coronary artery disease, and in publications and presentations at national and international conferences.

Since becoming a faculty member at Emory in 1998, Dr. Zafari has been on staff at the Division of Cardiology at the Atlanta VA Medical Center. He has actively participated in the expansion of the clinical enterprise at the VA Medical Center, where he performs cardiac catheterization, echocardiography and follows patients on the inpatient services as well as in the General Cardiology, Heart Failure, and Post-Heart Transplant Clinics. In 2003 he was recognized in the “Guide to America’s Top Physicians” by the Consumers’ Research Council of America in Washington, DC. As Chairman of the Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation Committee at the Atlanta VA Medical Center, he led a team of healthcare providers in a comprehensive trial to improve clinical outcomes of patients suffering in-hospital cardiac arrest. This quality improvement trial resulted in significant improvement in clinical outcomes, and is cited in the updated 2005 Emergency Cardiovascular Care and Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation Guidelines published by the America Heart Association and the European Society of Cardiology. 

Dr. Zafari has been actively involved in teaching medical students in following courses and examinations: Sophomore Clinical Methods, Junior Oral Examinations at Grady Memorial Hospital and the Atlanta VA Medical Center, Current Mechanisms in Cardiovascular Disease: From Bench to the Bedside, and the M3 Teaching Course. He has mentored more than 20 residents and fellows in clinical and translational research, and has received teaching awards by cardiology fellows and the J. Willis Hurst Internal Medicine Residency Program at Emory. Since January 2003 he has served as the Series Editor for the Hospital Physician Cardiology Board Review Manuals, a bimonthly publication with a nationwide circulation of 20,000, which provides state-of-the-art reviews in various subjects in cardiovascular medicine. Dr Zafari has also coauthored a medical textbook designed for medical students preparing for their final examinations in Germany, Switzerland and Austria. This review is now in its 6th edition and is published in Germany. In 2004 he became the Director of the Cardiovascular Training Program, the largest cardiovascular training program in the United States with dedicated basic scientist, clinical investigator and  clinician educator tracks.

His educational goals include further enrichment of the Cardiovascular Training Program at Emory by establishing dedicated research tracks in clinical and translational research, and expansion of subspecialty training in Advanced Cardiovascular Imaging, Heart Failure/Transplantation and in Adult Congenital Heart Disease. Among the many challenges for the Emory Cardiovascular Training Program, is the commitment to balance educational and research-oriented activities with patient care in a manner that can attract the brightest fellows to Emory. The program’s ultimate goal is to equip cardiovascular trainees with the necessary tools to seek academic positions, and increase the number of Emory-trained cardiology academicians.

Dr. Zafari practices general cardiology at the Atlanta Veterans Affairs Medical Center, taking care of patients with chronic heart failure in his weekly Heart Failure Clinic as well as supervising cardiology fellows biweekly in the Atlanta VAMC's Cardiology Clinics.
In addition, he performs and supervises diagnostic cardiac catheterization and supervises and reads transthoracic, stress and transesophageal echocardiography studies as well as exercise testing at the Atlanta VAMC.

Dr. Zafari is the Chairman of the Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation Committee at the Atlanta VAMC as well as the Director of the Coronary Care Unit.

Publications & Presentations

  1. Rao S, Austin H, Davidoff MN, Zafari AM.
    Endothelial nitric oxide synthase intron 4 polymorphism is a marker for coronary artery disease in African-American and Caucasian men.
    Ethn Dis. 2005 Spring;15(2):191-7.
    PMID: 15825964
  2. Zafari AM, Zarter SK, Heggen V, Wilson P, Taylor RA, Reddy K, Backscheider AG, Dudley SC Jr.
    A program encouraging early defibrillation results in improved in-hospital resuscitation efficacy.
    J Am Coll Cardiol. 2004 Aug 18;44(4):846-52.
    PMID: 15312869
  3. Wyche KE, Wang SS, Griendling KK, Dikalov SI, Austin H, Rao S, Fink B, Harrison DG, Zafari AM.
    C242T CYBA polymorphism of the NADPH oxidase is associated with reduced respiratory burst in human neutrophils.
    Hypertension. 2004 Jun;43(6):1246-51. Epub 2004 Apr 12.
    PMID: 15078863
  4. Zafari AM, Ushio-Fukai M, Akers M, Yin Q, Shah A, Harrison DG, Taylor WR, Griendling KK.
    Role of NADH/NADPH oxidase-derived H2O2 in angiotensin II-induced vascular hypertrophy.
    Hypertension. 1998 Sep;32(3):488-95.
    PMID: 9740615
  5. Zafari AM, Wenger NK.
    Secondary prevention of coronary heart disease.
    Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 1998 Aug;79(8):1006-17. Review.
    PMID: 9710178