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Dr. McConnell is a native of Brooklyn, NY and attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, obtaining his BS and MS in Electrical/Biomedical Engineering, followed by his MD at Stanford University. He returned to Boston and specialized in Cardiovascular Medicine and Cardiovascular Imaging at Brigham and Women’s and Beth Israel Hospitals and then joined the faculty at Harvard Medical School, where he also obtained an MS in Clinical Investigation. His early research discovery in echocardiography has become known as “McConnell’s sign.” He joined the faculty at Stanford in 1998 and went on to become Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine and (by courtesy) Electrical Engineering and Molecular & Cellular Physiology. He was Director of Cardiovascular MRI, Preventive Cardiology Clinic, and Cardiovascular Health Innovation at Stanford and also founded and directed the Cardiovascular Imaging at Stanford (CVIS) NIH training program. He was the Principal Investigator for multiple NIH and American Heart Association (AHA) research grants as well as the top-enrolling MyHeart Counts mobile health research study launched with Apple. In 2015 he joined Google/Alphabet leading cardiovascular and digital health projects, including development, validation, and FDA clearances for mobile/wearable devices and AI software with Verily, Google Health, and Fitbit. He is now the Chief Health Officer at Toku to advance AI and retinal imaging for screening and prevention of major health conditions. Dr. McConnell continues to see patients in the Stanford Preventive Cardiology Clinic and mentor in the Stanford Biodesign program. He has published over 130 peer-reviewed articles and is a Fellow of the AHA, the American College of Cardiology (ACC), the Society for Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance, and the American Society of Echocardiography. He is a founding member of the AHA’s Health Technologies Advisory Group and co-chaired AHA’s 2030 Impact Goal task force and the ACC-Consumer Technology Association’s guidance on Cardiovascular Technology Solutions. In 2022, Dr. McConnell was appointed by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to the Board of Directors of the National Fitness Foundation. His book, Fight Heart Disease Like Cancer, was published by Hopkins Press in January 2024.
Sports, Fitness & Nutrition
President's Council on Sports, Fitness & Nutrition
My overarching interest is the detection and prevention of cardiovascular disease.I have spent the majority of my research career with a focus on imaging cardiovascular disease for early detection and to guide therapy. I have been particularly interested in studying coronary and vascular diseases, including atherosclerosis and aortic aneurysms. Projects include MRI for both noninvasive coronary angiography and cellular/structural characterization of atherosclerotic plaque and aortic aneurysms, as well as other molecular imaging techniques (bioluminescence, fluorescence, and PET) for the assessment of vascular inflammation in pre-clinical models and patients. Additional collaborative projects included coronary CTA and cardiac MRI of ischemic heart disease and stem cell therapy.My prevention research has expanded beyond early detection to study innovative mobile health technologies in patients and populations. I directed the effort of Stanford Cardiovascular Health to leverage mHealth to improve cardiovascular care, through patient studies to enhance heart-healthy activities, sensor development, remote monitoring/detection, and collaboration with the Stanford Biomedical Data Sciences Initiative, Center for Longevity, and Prevention Research Center. I led the development of the MyHeart Counts mHealth research study launched as part of Apple's ResearchKit.I have continued to pursue novel AI and digital health technologies for the prevention and care of cardiovascular disease, first at Google/Fitbit and then as Chief Health Officer at Toku while continuing part-time clinical and teaching activities at Stanford.