In Memoriam: Avedis K. Khachadurian, MD

Avedis K. Khachadurian, MD, AAHPO Honoree, professor and founding director of the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, passed away on September 22 in Plainsboro, NJ at the age of 96.
AAHPO mourns the passing of one of our great Armenian-American physicians, Avedis Khachadurian. Avedis was the consummate physician whose contributions to our knowledge of lipid metabolism led to monumental insights and to an entirely new field of medical therapeutics. Dr. Khachadurian served as the founding director of the Division of Endocrinology at Rutgers Medical School. For generations of medical students, Dr. Khachadurian taught the value of a rigorous approach to medical inquiry and superior patient care. He always insisted that we delve as deeply as possible into the problem at hand. He set the highest standards of academic inquiry and medical care. We celebrate a man who was respected not only by the Armenian community but also by all who valued academic excellence, biomedical investigation, and patient care. AAHPO extends our sympathy to his family and his friends.
— AAHPO Board Member John Bilezikian, MD, PhD

Dr. Khachadurian, a pioneer in cholesterol research, studied at the American University of Beirut and became Professor of Biochemistry. His studies of children with signs of hypercholesterolemia showed that they inherited two aberrant genes leading to overproduction of cholesterol, which is associated with premature death from coronary artery disease.

These seminal observations defined the disorder known as Homozygous Familial Hypercholesterolemia and eventually led to extraordinary advances in cholesterol therapeutics.

Avedis K. Khachadurian, MD

Avedis K. Khachadurian, MD

In 1973, Rutgers Medical School was transitioning from a two to a three-year medical school when Dr. Khachadurian became one of the first members of the Department of Medicine. He continued his NIH supported research and lecturing students about cholesterol as he expanded faculty in endocrinology. His colleagues recognized him as the sharpest mind in the room. He mentored many students and trained over 30 endocrinologists.

“He was a mentor and role model for generations of Armenian physicians, who could always count on him for his wise counsel,” noted Levon Nazarian, MD, close family friend of Dr. Khachadurian.

The Rutgers Department of Medicine recognizes an outstanding graduating resident annually with The Khachadurian Award. In 2012, he was honored with the Distinguished Achievement Award by the National Lipid Association.

A beloved husband and father, Dr. Khachadurian is survived by his wife Laura, who was an enormous asset to his career and achievements, and by his daughters Cynthia of Princeton, and Linda of Boston. A memorial service is planned in the spring