Benjamin D. Horne, PhD

Dr. Horne is a cardiovascular and genetic epidemiologist. His research focuses on fasting and cardiovascular disease, risk stratification, and genetic associations with myocardial infarction.

Professional Titles

  • Director of Cardiovascular and Genetic Epidemiology
  • PhD, Genetic Epidemiology
  • MStat, Biostatistics
  • MPH, Epidemiology

Research and Professional Experience

Dr. Horne has been with Intermountain since 1996 and also holds an adjunct appointment as an assistant professor in Genetic Epidemiology in the Department of Medicine at the University of Utah.

Dr. Horne’s recent genetics publications include the first report that chromosome 9p21 variants are not associated with myocardial infarction (only with coronary artery disease). Also, an international consortium led by Dr. Horne published new pharmacogenetic warfarin dose refinement algorithms in 2012.

His most academically noteworthy paper to date was a genome-wide association study for peripartum cardiomyopathy, a rare but devastating outcome that afflicts about 1 in 3,000 pregnant women. The study identified a genetic marker on chromosome 12 as a predictor of the disease.

Current Projects

  • Risk Scoring for Adverse Health Outcomes: Dr. Horne is leading a project to predict adverse health outcomes using common laboratory tests (complete blood count and basic metabolic profile) that are inexpensive, widely available, and easily combined into a risk score outside of the clinical environment for use by physicians.
  • Fasting and Cardiovascular Disease: Dr. Horne is actively pursuing studies of the relationship between water-only fasting and cardiovascular disease. His projects have found that short-term abstention from caloric intake that is practiced repeatedly over the lifespan may play a role in reducing risk of diabetes and coronary disease.
  • Genetic Associations with Myocardial Infarction: Dr. Horne is collaborating with investigators at various universities, including the University of Utah, the University of Pennsylvania, and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard Universities to study genetic associations with myocardial infarction.

Heidi T. May, PhD

Dr. May is a cardiovascular epidemiologist. Her research focuses on the role of depression, vitamin D, and lipoproteins in the cardiovascular disease process.

Professional Titles

  • PhD, Public Health
  • MSPH, Masters of Science and Public Health, Epidemiology

Research and Professional Experience

Dr. May’s recent publications involve the evaluation of vitamin D and its role in cardiovascular disease and incident depression. It has long been known that adequate vitamin D is needed for bone health and muscle functioning. However, we are now discovering that vitamin D is important in other disease processes, such as cardiovascular disease and its associated risk factors.

Dr. May has also published papers on the role depression plays in cardiovascular disease. She reported that among patients with coronary disease, those with depression have a higher risk of developing heart failure than those without depression.

In another study, Dr. May found that depression is associated with lower adherence to lipid lowering medications. These medications are important in patients with coronary disease because they have been shown to help prevent further heart problems when taken regularly.

Current Projects

  • Risk Scoring for Adverse Health Outcomes: Dr. May has assisted in the development of the Intermountain Risk Scores. She recently led a project to develop a morbidity risk score for clinical depression.
  • Lipoproteins: Dr. May is currently involved in an academic collaboration that is determining the value of sub-classifying high and low density lipoproteins (HDL and LDL) and measuring other, additional lipoproteins in heart patients.