Irving H. Zucker is the Theodore F. Hubbard Professor of Cardiovascular Research and Chairman of the Department of Cellular and Integrative Physiology at the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) in Omaha, Nebraska. Zucker is also a professor in the Department of Internal Medicine in the Division of Cardiology. Hailing from New York City, he received a BS from The City College of New York in 1965, an MS from The University of Missouri at Kansas City in 1967, and a PhD in Physiology from New York Medical College in 1972 where he held an NSF predoctoral fellowship. Zucker's early PhD training with Gabor Kaley in the area of renal function and volume regulation led him to an National Institutes of Health (NIH) postdoctoral fellowship with Joseph P. Gilmore at UNMC from 1972 to 1973. Zucker joined the faculty in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics at UNMC as an Assistant Professor in 1973. Zucker rose through the ranks and was appointed Professor in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics in 1983. Following the retirement of Dr. Gilmore, Zucker was appointed Chairman of the Department in 1989. The Theodore F. Hubbard Endowed Chair was awarded in 1998.
Zucker’s primary area of research interest is neurohumoral regulation of the cardiovascular system in health and disease. He has focused on regulatory cardiovascular reflexes in heart failure models. His early work characterized the electrophysiolgical properties of cardiovascular sensory endings in the heart and blood vessels in experimental heart failure. His work has more recently concentrated on the central mechanisms that are responsible for alterations in autonomic tone in the setting of chronic heart failure and the role of exercise training in modulating neuronal changes in autonomic control areas of the brain. The mechanisms for the alterations in reactive oxidant species and angiotensin II in the central nervous system have been the focus of the laboratory for several years. Dr. Zucker has authored over 200 original papers, reviews, book chapters, and editorials. He has edited one text on the reflex control of the circulation and has published 250 abstracts. Zucker's laboratory has been continuously funded by NIH, The American Heart Association (AHA), and by industry since 1975. This included a MERIT Award from the National Heart, Lung, Blood Institute from 1992 to 2002 and a PPG from 1999 to the present. Zucker has supervised 16 graduate students, 18 postdoctoral fellows, 22 medical students, and 20 undergraduate students.
Zucker has delivered over 200 invited lectures throughout the world.
In 1977, Zucker received an Established Investigatorship from the AHA and a Research Career Development Award from the NIH. Other awards and honors over the years have included The University of Nebraska Merit Award in 1983, the Outstanding Research and Creative Achievement Award from the University of Nebraska in 1993, Fellow of the Circulation Council and of the AHA from 1980, and Fellow of the Council on High Blood Pressure Research from 1993. Zucker received the Wiggers Award from the Cardiovascular Section of American Physiological Society (APS) in 2008 and received the Scientist Laureate Award from the UNMC, also in 2008. He received the Carl Ludwig Award from the Neural Control and Autonomic Regulation section of APS in 2012.
Zucker has served or currently serves on the editorial boards of numerous journals including The American Journal of Physiology-Heart and Circulatory Physiology, The American Journal of Physiology-Regulatory, Comparative and Integrative Physiology, Circulation Research, Hypertension, Basic Research in Cardiology, Heart Failure Reviews, The Journal of Biomedical Science, Drugs under Clinical and Experimental Research, The Journal of Cardiac Failure, and others.
Zucker has served on several national, regional, and local committees for research organizations. These include the National Research Committee of the American Heart Association, Chair of the Great Plains Regional Review Committee of the American Heart Association, the National Scientific Advisory Board of the International Academy of Cardiology, and the Publications Committee of the Heart Failure Society of America. He has also served on various review panels including The NIH Cardiovascular and Renal (CVB) Study Section from 2002 to 2003, the NIH Clinical and Integrative Cardiovascular Sciences Study Section from 2003 to 2006 both as permanent members, and The Pathophysiology Study Section of the American Heart Association from 2000 to 2002.
Zucker has served in a leadership capacity at several levels. He was a member of the council for the Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine from 1998 to 2002. He was the founder and served as the first President of the Nebraska Physiological Society from 1998 to 2000. He was President of the Association of Chairs of Departments of Physiology in 2003. He has served on the APS Animal Care and Experimentation Committee and was Chair of the Public Affairs Committee. Zucker served on the Executive Committee of the Council on Basic Cardiovascular Sciences of the American Heart Association from 2000 to 2002. He was President of the American Physiological Society in 2008–2009.