Dr. Deborah Leonard

Faculty Fellow

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Dr. Leonard graduated with a Bachelors in Arts in Biology (Magna Cum Laude) from Lawrence Unversity in 1974. She obtained her Ph.D. in Genetics from Cornell University in 1979. She came to Niagara University in 1994 and was appointed to her current position as Faculty Fellow in Biology in 2013. She currently teaches courses in general biology, anatomy and physiology, and pharmacology and is coordinator for a new minor in Public Health.

Her laboratory studies the genetic risk factors for coronary artery disease.The goal of this research, conducted in collaboration with a local cardiology group, is to identify the role of inherited traits in the development of heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States.Student research projects involve developing assays to monitor variations in the DNA of patients at risk for heart disease and linking those variations to difference in the presence and progression of disease. Her students also use cultured human cells to explore the changes that occur during the development of the atherosclerotic plaques that cause coronary artery disease.

Recently Dr. Leonard has been involved in developing a new curriculum in undergraduate Public Health education. This discipline encompasses such diverse areas as disease prevention and health promotion, the impact of chronic diseases, quality assessment of health delivery systems, emergency preparedness and response, safety and accident prevention, and environmental health. A new minor in Public Health allows students to integrate their major area of study with knowledge of public health to develop innovative approaches for solving problems in the areas of health promotion and disease prevention.

Professional organizations and honorary societies             

American Heart Association, Council for Undergraduate Research, Rochester Academy of Sciences, Sigma Xi, Beta Beta Beta

Recent Presentations & Publications

  • Williams BA, Dorn JM, LaMonte MJ, Donahue RP, Trevisan M, Leonard DA, Greene R, Merhige ME (2012), The incremental prognostic value of myocardial perfusion imaging by rubidium-82 positron emission tomography. Clin. Cardiol. 35, 11, E14-E21.


  • Leonard DA,  *Scofield AM, Greene RS (2012) Induction of apoptosis in human macrophages by 7-ketocholesterol and iron ascorbate. ATVB 2012 Scientific Sessions
    • Leonard DA, Merhige ME, Williams BA, Greene RS (2011) Elevated expression of the interleukin-8 receptors CXCR1 and CXCR2 in peripheral blood cells in obstructive coronary artery disease. Coron Artery Dis, 22, 491-496.
    • Leonard DA, *Dunatov JR (2011) Oxidative stress response of human macrophages to iron and 7-ketocholesterol. ATVB 2011 Scientific Sessions


  • *Schulz J, Leonard DA, Merhige ME, Williams BA, Greene RA (2010) Association of haptoglobin genotype with coronary artery disease in smokers. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol, 30, e-206.

*undergraduate authors