Robert Curtis Ellison MD, MS

Professor, Preventive Medicine & Epidemiology

Professor, Epidemiology

750 Harrison Ave | (617) 638-8080
Robert Ellison

Preventive Medicine & Epidemiology


Framingham Heart Study


R. Curtis Ellison, M.D., has been Professor of Medicine and Public Health at Boston University School of Medicine since 1989, and is the former Chief of the Evans Section of Preventive Medicine and Epidemiology. He holds degrees from Davidson College, the Medical University of South Carolina, and Harvard School of Public Health. With training in internal medicine, cardiology, and epidemiology, Dr. Ellison serves as a senior investigator in The Framingham Study, and is the principal investigator of a number of research studies on the interaction of genetic and environmental factors in determining familial risk of hypertension and heart disease.

In July, 1994, Dr. Ellison established and became the Director of the Institute on Lifestyle and Health at Boston University School of Medicine. The Institute focuses research on various aspects of lifestyle, especially diet, exercise, and the moderate consumption of alcoholic beverages, habits that relate to the risk of heart disease, cancer, and other chronic diseases.

Dr. Ellison is best known to the lay public for his research on what is known as the "French Paradox". This refers to the fact that the French have a high-fat diet and other risk factors, yet have very low rates of coronary heart disease. Dr. Ellison and Dr. Serge Renaud of Lyon, France, were the key scientists who were a part of the program on the "French Paradox" that appeared on the American television program, 60 Minutes, in November, 1991. In the early 1990's Dr. Ellison worked with the Oldways Foundation, Harvard School of Public Health, and the European office of the World Health Organization in the development of the "Mediterranean Diet Pyramid", a set of dietary guidelines for Americans.

Other Positions


MD, Medical University of South Carolina, 1959

MS, Harvard University, 1976

BS, Davidson College, 1955


Published on 7/1/2018

Mustafa J, Ellison RC, Singer MR, Bradlee ML, Kalesan B, Holick MF, Moore LL. Dietary Protein and Preservation of Physical Functioning Among Middle-Aged and Older Adults in the Framingham Offspring Study. Am J Epidemiol. 2018 07 01; 187(7):1411-1419. PMID: 29590270.

Published on 1/1/2017

Patel YR, Gadiraju TV, Ellison RC, Hunt SC, Carr JJ, Heiss G, Arnett DK, Pankow JS, Gaziano JM, Djoussé L. Coffee consumption and calcified atherosclerotic plaques in the coronary arteries: The NHLBI Family Heart Study. Clin Nutr ESPEN. 2017 Feb; 17:18-21. PMID: 28361742.

Published on 9/1/2016

Barrett-Connor E, de Gaetano G, Djoussé L, Ellison RC, Estruch R, Finkel H, Goldfinger T, Keil U, Lanzmann-Petithory D, Mattivi F, Skovenborg E, Stockley C, Svilaas A, Teissedre PL, Thelle DS, Ursini F, Waterhouse AL. Comments on Moderate Alcohol Consumption and Mortality. J Stud Alcohol Drugs. 2016 09; 77(5):834-6. PMID: 27588543.

Published on 5/11/2016

Ferreira P, Ellison RC. [Not Available]. Rev Med Suisse. 2016 May 11; 12(518):956. PMID: 27352594.

Published on 4/21/2016

Imran TF, Patel Y, Ellison RC, Carr JJ, Arnett DK, Pankow JS, Heiss G, Hunt SC, Gaziano JM, Djoussé L. Walking and Calcified Atherosclerotic Plaque in the Coronary Arteries: The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Family Heart Study. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2016 Jun; 36(6):1272-7. PMID: 27102966.

Published on 10/28/2015

Ebert ST, Ellison RC. [Association of alcohol consumption with the risk of death from colorectal cancer]. Rev Med Suisse. 2015 Oct 28; 11(492):2041. PMID: 26672188.

Published on 9/9/2015

Berdoz D, Ellison RC. [Association between alcohol consumption and risk of different types of breast cancer]. Rev Med Suisse. 2015 Sep 9; 11(485):1677. PMID: 26541003.

Published on 5/27/2015

Jaton L, Ellison RC. [Episodic excessive alcohol consumption significantly increases the risk of mortality]. Rev Med Suisse. 2015 May 27; 11(476):1213. PMID: 26182645.

Published on 4/6/2015

Lai LY, Petrone AB, Pankow JS, Arnett DK, North KE, Ellison RC, Hunt SC, Rosenzweig JL, Djoussé L. Lack of association of apolipoprotein E (Apo E) polymorphism with the prevalence of metabolic syndrome: the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute Family Heart Study. Diabetes Metab Res Rev. 2015 Sep; 31(6):582-7. PMID: 25656378.

Published on 1/6/2015

Robbins JM, Petrone AB, Carr JJ, Pankow JS, Hunt SC, Heiss G, Arnett DK, Ellison RC, Gaziano JM, Djoussé L. Association of ideal cardiovascular health and calcified atherosclerotic plaque in the coronary arteries: the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Family Heart Study. Am Heart J. 2015 Mar; 169(3):371-378.e1. PMID: 25728727.

View full list of 195 publications.