University of Minnesota

Guy De Backer, MD, PhD

Born: 1944

Guy De Backer is a leading CVD epidemiologist and academic cardiologist of Europe. He received his MD in 1973 and PhD in 1979 from the University of Ghent and spent a year in research at Minnesota’s Laboratory of Physiological Hygiene. His career has been at Ghent where he now heads the Department of Public Health and from which he also serves in official capacities in the European Society of Cardiology, the National Health Council of Belgium, and the European Union.

De Backer’s early work in epidemiology was on the predictive value of ectopic beats, including trials of physical conditioning to influence their frequency. He was a principal in the WHO Multifactorial Prevention Trial in Ischemic Heart Disease, in MONICA and InterSalt, and in the Belgian Heart Disease Prevention Program. In numerous researches and trials in cardiac rehabilitation and primary prevention his group has developed innovative approaches to diet and job stress and multifactor interventions on weight, glucose tolerance, hypertension, and ischemic heart disease.

De Backer’s productive group also has trained, fostered, and integrated a generation of CVD epidemiologists and preventive cardiologists and served as coordinator of major multicenter trials in Europe, where it effectively leads both medical and population prevention strategies. (HB)