Akira Sekikawa, MD, MPH, PhD, PhD

Associate Professor, Director, T32 Cardiovascular Epidemiology Training Program, Epidemiology


130 North Bellefield Avenue, Suite 336, Pittsburgh, PA 15213
R-znvy: nxven@cvgg.rqh
Primary Phone: 967-818-6518
Fax: 967-838-6401

Monica Love, zyyfg80@cvgg.rqh, 967-838-6340

Personal Statement

Collaborating with investigators in Japan and Honolulu, Dr. Sekikawa investigated subclinical atherosclerosis among native Japanese, Japanese Americans, and Whites (ERA JUMP). The study found that (1) levels of subclinical atherosclerosis in native Japanese were lower than Americans despite similar profiles of risk factors and (2) Japanese Americans had worse levels of subclinical atherosclerosis than Whites. These observations directed Dr. Sekikawa to focus on Japanese diet.


Japanese diet is characterized by high intake of marine omega-3 fatty acids (OM3) and soy isoflavones (ISF). ERA JUMP showed that (1) high levels of OM3 in native Japanese accounted for difference in subclinical atherosclerosis and (2) equol but not ISF had a significant inverse association with subclinical atherosclerosis. Equol, a metabolite of ISF by gut microbiome, is the strongest anti-oxidant among all ISFs.


In addtion, Dr. Sekikawa recently reported that among cognitively normal old adults in Japan, equol producers had significantly lower white matter lesions volume as compared to equol non-producers. Furthermore, Dr. Sekikawa and his team recently reported two systematic reviews and meta-analyses of randomized controlled trials of soy isoflavones that supplementation of soy isoflavones significantly imporved arterial stiffness and cognition. 


1983 | Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan | M.D.
1990 | Yamagata University, Yamagata, Japan | PhD
1996 | University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA | MPH
1999 | University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA | PhD


EPIDEM 2150 Epidemiology of Cardiovascular Disease (2005 - present) Primary instructor since 2016

EPIDEM 2260 Epidemiological Basis of Disese Control 2021

NHLBI T32 Cardiovascular Training Grant. (2013- present) Director since 2019

EPIDEM 2152 Workshop in Cardiovascular Epidemiology (2013-present) Associate Instructor

EPIDEM 2170 Chronic Disease Epidemiology (2014- present) Guest lecturer

EPIDEM 2900 Advanced Epidemiology of Aging (2019, 2021) Guest lecturer


I have trained 7 PhD students, 14 MPH students, and 6 post-doctoral fellows as a primary mentor.


Selected Publications


Publications in 2018-2021

Sullivan KJ, Ran X, Wu F, Chang CH, Sharma R, Jacobsen E, Berman S, Snitz BE, Sekikawa A, Talbott EO and Ganguli M. Ambient fine particulate matter exposure and incident mild cognitive impairment and dementia. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2021 (Accepted)


Marron MM, Moore SC, Wendell SG, Boudreau RM, Miljkovic I, Sekikawa A, Newman AB. Using lipid profiling to better characterize metabolic differences in apolipoprotein E (APOE) genotype among community-dwelling older Black men. Geroscience. 2021 (Accpeted).


Zaid M, Fujiyoshi A, Hisamatsu T, Kadota A, Kadowaki S, Satoh A, Sekikawa A, Barinas-Mitchell E, Horie M, Miura K and Ueshima H. A Comparison of Segment-Specific and Composite Measures of Carotid Intima-Media Thickness and their Relationships with Coronary Calcium. J Atheroscler Thromb. 2021 (Accepted)


Man B, Cui C, Zhang X, Sugiyama D, Barinas-Mitchell E, Sekikawa A. The Effect of Soy Isoflavones on Arterial Stiffness: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. European Journal of Nutrition 2021 60:603-14


Sekikawa A, Higashiyama A, Lopresti B, Ihara M, Aizenstein H, Watanabe M, Chang Y, Kakuta C, Yu Z, Mathis C, Kokubo Y, Klunk W, Lopez O, Kuller LH, Miyamoto Y, Cui C. Associations of equol-producing status with white matter lesion and amyloid-β deposition in cognitively normal elderly Japanese Alzheimer & Dementia Translational Research and Clinical Interventions. 2020; 16:1402-11 PMCID PMC7580022


Cui C, Mackey R, Shaaban E, Kuller LH, Lopez O, Sekikawa A. Association of body composition with incident dementia in older adults: Cardiovascular Health Study-Cognition Study. Alzheimer’s and Dementia 2020; 16:1402-11


Sekikawa A, Cui C, Sugiyama D, Fabio A, Harris WS, Zhang X. Effect of high-dose marine omega-3 fatty acids on atherosclerosis: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials. Nutrients 2019;11: 2599 PMID 3167524


Mahajan H, Choo J, Masaki K, Fujiyoshi A, Guo J, Evans R, Shangguan S, Willcox B, Barinas-Mitchell E, Kadota A, Miura K, Kuller LH, Shin C, Ueshima H, Sekikawa A. Serum long-chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and aortic calcification in middle-aged men: the population-based cross-sectional ERA JUMP Study. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis 2019; 8: 837-46


Sagawa N, Rockette-Wagner B, Azuma K, Ueshima H, Hisamatsu T, Takamiya T, El-Saed A, Miura K, Kriska A, Sekikawa A. Physical activity levels in American and Japanese men from the ERA-JUMP Study and associations with metabolic syndrome J Sport Health Science 2020, 9; 170-178


Cui C, Birru R, Snitz B, Ihara M, Lopresti B, Aizenstein H, Lopez O, Mathis C, Miyamoto Y, Kuller LH, Sekikawa A. Effects of soy isoflavones on cognitive function: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Nutrition Reviews 2020; 78: 134-144


Satoh A, Arima H, Hozawa A, Ohkubo T, Hisamatsu T, Kadowaki S, Kadota A, Miyagawa N, Zaid M, Torii S, Okamura T, Sekikawa A, Miura K, Ueshima H; SESSA Research Group. The association of home and accurately measured office blood pressure with coronary artery calcification among general Japanese men. J Hypertens 2019; 15: 183-188 PMID 3094824


Sekikawa A, Ihara M, Lopez O, Kakuta C, Lopresti B, Higashiyama A, Aizenstein H, Change YF, Mathis C, Miyamoto Y, Kuller L, Cui C. Effect of S-equol and soy isoflvaones on heart and brain. Curr Cardiol Rev 2019; 15: 114-135 PMID 3056108


Cui C, Sekikawa A, Kuller LH, Lopez OL, Newman AB, Kuipers AL, Macheky RH. Aortic stiffness is associated with increased risk of incident dementia in older adults. J Alzh Dis 2018; 66: 297-306 PMID 30282361


Ogata S, Nishimuara K, Guzman-Castillo M, Sumita Y, Nakai M, Nakao YM, Nishi N, Noguchi T, Sekikawa A, Saito Y, Watanabe T, Kobayashi Y, Okamura T, Ogawa H, Yasuda S, Miyamoto Y, Capewell S, O’Flaherty M. Explaining the decline in coronary heart disease mortality rates in Japan: Contributions of changes in risk factors and evidence-based treatments between 1980 and 2012.  Intl J Cardiol (Accepted) PMID 30826193


Sekikawa A, Mahajan H, Kadowaki S, Hisamatsu T, Miyagawa N, Fujiyoshi A, Kadota A, Maegawa H, Murata K, Miura K, Edmundowicz D, Ueshima H. Association of blood levels of marine omega-3 fatty acids with coronary calcification and calcium density in Japanese men. Eur J Clin Nutr 2019; 73: 7783-92  PMID 3050076

Neimczyk NA, Catov JM, Desai MM, McClure CK, Roberts JM, Sekikawa A, Tepper PG, Barinas-Mitchell E. Brachial artery stiffening in healthy prigifravidas is associated with weight gain and increased cardiac output. Hypertens Pregnancy 2018 37: 204-211 PMID 30257118


Hanley C, Shields KJ, Matthews KA, Brooks MM, Janssen I, Budoff MJ, Sekikawa A, Mulukutla S, El Khoudary SR. Associations of cardiovascular fat and vascular calcification in middle women: The SWAN cardiovascular fat ancillary study. Atherosclerosis 2018; 279: 114-121 PMID 30241697


Jorgensen D, White GE, Yu Y, Sekikawa A, Gianaros P. Higher dietary inflammation in associated with increased odds of depression independent of Framingham Risk Score in the National Health and Nutrition Examination. Nutr. Res. 2018 54;23-32 PMID 29914664


Vishnu A, Choo J, Kadota A, Barinas-Mitchell EJM, Fujiyoshi A, Long DL, Hisamatsu T, Ahuja V, Nakamura Y, Evans RW, Miura K, Masaki KH, Shin C, Ueshima H and Sekikawa A. Comparison of carotid plaque burden among healthy middle-aged men living in the US, Japan, and South Korea. Int J Cardiol. 2018;266:245-249 PMID 29887456


Miller RG, Anderson SJ, Costacou T, Sekikawa A, Orchard TJ. Hemoglobin A1c and cardiovascular disease incidence in tyhpe 1 diabetes: an application of joint modeling of longitudinal and time-to-event data in the Pittsburgh Epidemiology of Diabetes Complication (EDC) Study. Am J Epidemiol 2018; 87; 1520-29 PMID 29394305


Kadowaki S, Miura K, Kadowaki T, Fujiyoshi A, El-Saed A, Masaki KH, Okamura T, Edmundowicz D, Rodriguez BL, Nakamura Y, Barinas-Mitchell EJM, Kadota A, Willcox BJ, Abbott RD, Kuller LH, Choo J, Shin C, Ueshima H, Sekikawa A: ERA JUMP Study Group. International comparison of abdominal fat distribution among four populations: The ERA JUMP Study. Metab Syndr Relat Disord 2018; 16: 166-173


Mahajan H, Choo J, Masaki K, Fujiyoshi A, Guo J, Hisamatsu T, Evens RE, Shangguan S, Willcox B, Okamura T, Vishnu A, Barinas-Mitchell E, Ahuj V, Miura K, Kuller LH, Shin C, Ueshima H, Sekikawa A. Association of alcohol consumption and aortic calcification in healthy men aged 40-49 for the ERA JUMP Study. Atherosclerosis 2018; 268:84-91 PMID 29195109


Other selected publications from 150+ peer-reviewed articles

Sekikawa A, Miyamoto Y, Miura K, Nishimura K, Willcox BJ, Masaki KH, Rodriguez B, Tracy RP,  Okamura T, Kuller LH. Continuous decline in mortality from coronary heart disease in Japan despite a continuous and marked rise in total cholesterol: Japanese experience after the Seven Country Study. Intl J Epidemiol 2015: 44: 1614-24


Sekikawa A, Miura K, Lee S, Fujiyoshi A, Edmundowicz D, Kadowaki T, Evans RW, Kadowaki S, Sutton-Tyrrell K, Okamura T, Bertolet M, Masaki KH, Nakamura Y, Barinas-Mitchell EJM, Willcox BJ, Kadota A, Seto TB, Maegawa H, Kuller LH, Ueshima H MD, PhD  for the ERA JUMP Study Group. Long-chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and incidence rate of coronary artery calcification in Japanese in Japan and United States whites – population-based prospective cohort study. Heart 100(7):569-73. PMID:24352736. PMCID:PMC3949146


Ahuja V, Miura K, Vishnu A, Fujiyoshi A, Evans R, Zaid M, Miyagawa N, Hisamatsu T, Kadota A, Okamura T, Ueshima H, Sekikawa ASignificant inverse association of equol-producer status with coronary artery calcification but not dietary isoflavones in healthy Japanese men. Br J Nutr. 2017 117(2):260-266, PMID: 28205492

Ahuja V, Kadowaki T, Evans RW, Kadota A, Okamura T, El Koudary S, Fujiyoshi A, Barinas-Mitchell E, HIsamatsu T, Vishnu a, Miura K, Maegawa H, El-Saed A, Kashiwagi A, Kuller LH, Ueshima H, Sekikawa A for the ERA JUMP study. Comparison of HOMA-IR, HOMA-β and disposition index between US white men and Jpaanese men in Japan; the ERA JUMP study. Diabetologia 2015; 58: 265-71 PMID 25316435


Guo J, Fujiyoshi A, Willcox B, Choo J, Vishnu A, Hisamatsu T, Ahuja V, Takashima N, Barinas-Mitchell E, Kadota A, Evans RW, Miura K, Edmundowicz D, Masaki K, Shin C, Kuller LH, Ueshima H, Sekikawa A; ERA JUMP Study Group. Increased Aortic Calcification Is Associated With Arterial Stiffness Progression in Multiethnic Middle-Aged Men. Hypertension. 2017 Jan;69(1):102-108. Epub 2016 Nov 7. PubMed PMID: 27821619; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5145727.

Yokoyama Y, Nishimura K, Barnard N, Takegami M, Sekikawa A, Okamura T, Miyamoto Y. Vegetarian diets and blood pressure: A meta-analysis. JAMA Internal Medicine 2014;174(4):577-87. PMID:24566947


Sekikawa A, Willcox BJ, Usui T, Carr JJ, Barinas-Mitchell EJM, Masaki KH,  Watanabe M, Tracy RP, Bertolet M, Evans RW, Nishimura K, Sutton-Tyrrell K, Kuller LH, Miyamoto Y. Do differences in risk factors explain the lower rates of coronary heart disease in Japanese versus U.S. women? J Women’s Health 2013; 22: 966-977

Miyagawa N, Miura K, Okuda N, Kadowaki T, Takashima N, Nagasawa S, Nakamura Y, Matsumura Y, Hozawa A, Fujiyoshi A, Hisamatsu T, Yoshita K, Sekikawa A, Ohkubo T, Abbott RD, Okamura T, Okayama A, Ueshima H for the NIPPON DATA80 Research Group. Long-chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids intake and cardiovascular disease mortality risk in Japanese: a 24-year follow-up of NIPPON DATA80. Atherosclerosis 2014;232(2):384-9. PMID:24468152


Sekikawa A, Willcox BJ, Usui T, Carr JJ, Barinas-Mitchell EJM, Masaki KH,  Watanabe M, Tracy RP, Bertolet M, Evans RW, Nishimura K, Sutton-Tyrrell K, Kuller LH, Miyamoto Y. Do differences in risk factors explain the lower rates of coronary heart disease in Japanese versus U.S. women? J Women’s Health 2013; 22: 966-977

Sekikawa A, Shin C, Masaki K, Barinas Mitchell EJ, Hirooka N, Willcox BJ, Choo J, White J, Evans RW, Fijiyoshi A, Okamura T, Miura K, Muldoon MF, Ueshima H, Kuller LH, Sutton-Tyrrell K. Association of Total Marine Fatty Acids, Eicosapentaenoic and Docosahexaenoic Acids, With Aortic Stiffness in Koreans, Whites, and Japanese Americans.  Am J Hypertens. 2013; 26: 1321-7

El Khoudary SR, Barinas-Mitchell E, Curb JD, Shin C, Ueshima H, Masaki K, Evans RW, Miura K, Edmundowicz D, Kuller LH, Sutton-Tyrrell K, Sekikawa A for the ERA JUMP Study Group. Adiponectin, Systolic Blood Pressure and Drinking Alcohol Are Associated with More Aortic Stiffness Progression among Apparently Healthy Men. Atherosclerosis 2012; 225: 275-80. 

Sekikawa A, Steingrimsdottir L, Ueshima H, Shin C, Curb JD, Evans RW, Hauksdottir AM, Kadota A, Choo J, Masaki K,  Thorsson B, Launer LJ, Garcia ME, Maegawa H, Willcox BJ, Eiriksdottir G, Fujiyoshi A, Miura K, Harris TB, Kuller LH, Gudnason V. Serum levels of marine-derived n-3 fatty acids in Icelanders, Japanese, Koreans, and Americans - A descriptive epidemiologic study. Prostaglandins, Leukotrienes & Essential Fatty Acids 2012; 87: 11-6

Sekikawa A, Shin C, Curb JD, Barinas-Mitchell E, Masaki K, El-Saed A, Seto TB, Mackey RH, Choo J, Fujiyoshi A, Miura K, Edmundowicz D, Kuller LH, Ueshima H, Sutton-Tyrrell K, for the ERA JUMP Study group. Aortic stiffness and calcification in men in a population-based international study. Atherosclerosis 2012; 222:473-7.

Sekikawa A, Kadowaki T, El-Saed E, Okamura T, Sutton-Tyrrell K, Nakamura Y, Evans EW, Mitsunami K, Edmundowicz D, Nihio Y, Nkata K, Kadota A, Otake T, Miura K, Choo, J, Abbott RD, Kuller LH, Ueshima H.  Differential association of docosahexaenoic and eicosapentaenoic acids with carotid intima-media thickness. Stroke 2011; 42:2538-43

Sekikawa A, Kadowaki T, Curb JD, Evans RW, Maegawa H, Abbott RD, Kim Sutton-Tyrrell K, Okamura T, Shin C, Edmundowicz D, Kadota A, Choo J, El-Saed A, Ueshima H, Kuller LHfor the ERA JUMP Study group, Circulating levels of eight cytokines and marine n-3 fatty acids and indices of obesity and in Japanese, white and Japanese American middle-aged men. Cytokine Research 2010; 30: 541-8


Sekikawa A, Curb JD, Ueshima H, El-Saed A, Kadowaki T, Abbott RD, Evans RW, Rodriguez BL,  Okamura T, Sutton-Tyrrell K, Nakamura Y, Masaki K, Edmundowicz D, Kashiwagi A, Willcox BJ, Takamiya T, Mitsunami K, Seto TB, Murata K, White RL, Kuller LH. Marine-derived n-3 fatty acids and atherosclerosis in Japanese, Japanese Americans, and Whites. J Am Coll Cardiol 2008; 52: 417-24 


Sekikawa A, Ueshima H, Sutton-Tyrrell K, Kadowaki T, El-Saed A, Okamura T, Takamiya T, Ueno Y, Evans RW, Nakamura Y, Edmundowicz D, Kashiwagi A, Maegawa H, Kuller LH. Intima-media thickness of the carotid artery and the distribution of lipoprotein subclasses in men aged 40-49 between whites in the U.S. and the Japanese in Japan for the ERA JUMP Study. Metabolism 2008;57:177-82 


Sekikawa A, Ueshima H, Kadowaki T, El-Saed A, Okamura T, Takamiya T, Kashiwagi A, Edmundowicz D, Murata K, Sutton-Tyrrell K, Maegawa H, Evans R, Kita Y, Kuller L. Less subclinical atherosclerosis in Japanese men in Japan than in white men in the United States in the post World-War-II birth cohort  Am J Epidemiol 2007; 165: 617-24

Kadowaki T, Sekikawa A, Okamura T, Takamiya T, Kashiwagi A, Zaky WR, Maegawa H, El-Saed A, Nakamura Y, Evans RW, Edmundowicz D, Kita Y, Kuller L. Ueshima H. Higher levels of adiponectin in American than in Japanese men despite obesity. Metabolism 2006; 55:1561-3

Kadowaki T, Sekikawa A, Murata K, Maegawa H, Takamiya T, Okamura T, El-Saed, A, Miyamatsu N, Edmundowicz D, Kita Y, Sutton-Tyrrell K, Kuller LH, Ueshima H. Large visceral visceral fat in Japanese than Caucasian men. International Journal of Obesity 2006; 7:1163-5 

Sekikawa A, Horiuchi BY, Edmundowicz D, Ueshima H, Curb JD, Sutton-Tyrrell K, Okamura T, Kadowaki T, Kashiwagi A, Mitsunami K, Murata K, Nakamura Y, Rodriguez BL, Kuller LH. A "natural experiment" in cardiovascular epidemiology in the early 21st century. Heart 2003;89: 255-7 

Sekikawa A, Satoh T, Hayawaka T, Ueshima H, Kuller LH. Coronary heart disease mortality among men aged 35-44 by prefecture in Japan in 1995-1999 and its comparison with that among white men aged 35-44 by state in the United States in 1995-1998: Vital statistics data in recent birth cohorts. Jpn Circ J 2001;65:887-892 

Sekikawa A,Eguchi H, Tominaga M, Igarashi K, Abe T,Manaka H,Sasaki H,Fukuyama H,Kato T,Kihohara Y, Fujishima M. Prevalence of type 2 diabetes mellitus and impaired glucose tolerance in a rural area of Japan, the Funagata diabetes study. J Diab Complications 14: 78-83; 2000 

Sekikawa A, Kuller LH, Ueshima H, Park JE, Suh I, Jee SH, Lee HK, Pan WH. Coronary heart disease trends in the post World War II birth cohorts aged 35-44 in men in Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan, and a comparison with the United States. Intl J Epidemol 28: 1044-49; 1999 

Sekikawa A, Eguchi H, Tominaga M, Manaka H, Sasaki H, Chang YF, Kato T. Evaluating the prevalence of type 2 diabetes reported by the Oguni registry, using a two-sample model of capture-recapture methods. Intl J Epidemiol 28: 498-501, 1999

Sekikawa A, Tominaga M, Takahashi K, Eguchi H, Igarashi M, Ohnuma H, Sugiyama K, Manaka H, Sasaki H, Fukuyama H, Miyazawa K. Prevalence of Diabetes and Impaired Glucose Tolera nce in Funagata area, Japan. Diabetes Care 16 570-574, 1993

Akira  Sekikawa