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Robert H. Christenson, PhD

Academic Title:


Primary Appointment:


Secondary Appointment(s):

Medical and Research Technology

Additional Title:

Professor of Pathology Professor of Medical and Research Technology


North Hospital, Second Floor, West Wing, Room: N2W70C

Phone (Primary):


Phone (Secondary):




Education and Training

  • University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MD; 1972-1976; BA, Chemistry
  • Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL; 1976-1980; Ph.D., Analytical Chemistry
  • University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC; 1980-1982; ComACC Fellowship in Laboratory Medicine
  • Certified Diplomate, American Board of Clinical Chemistry, 8/1/84; Certitificate Number 724
  • Fellow, Academy of Clinical Biochemistry; National Academy of Clinical Biochemistry; 1993 
  • Fellow, American College of Cardiology; 2016


Dr. Christenson is Professor of Pathology (Tenured) and Professor of Medical and Research Technology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) in Baltimore, Maryland. He came to UMSOM faculty in 1991 from the Pathology faculty at Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC. Clinically, Dr. Christenson is Medical Director of the Core Laboratories and holds the CLIA Laboratory License for Point of Care Testing at the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC). He is director of the University of Maryland School of Medicine's ComACC accredited postdoctoral training program in the department of Pathology. Dr. Christenson serves as chair of the Pathology Department's Appointment, Promotions and Tenure committee and is a member of the Pathology chairman's advisory committee. He has served several terms on the UMSOM counsel as a member and as an alternate. Dr. Christenson has been a medical student interviewer since he came to UMSOM in 1991, and was on the SOM's Medical Student Admissions Committee from 2008 through 2015. He also heads the Core Laboratory activities for the Pathology Residency Program at UMMC, and has been named the 'Outstanding Clinical Pathology Faculty Instructor' four times by the Pathology residents. Academically, Dr. Christenson has published over 300 peer-reviewed papers, 6 books, 34 textbook chapters and holds four patents.  He has an active research program in the area of biomarkers of heart disease, renal disease, stroke and other areas of laboratory medicine. Dr. Christenson directs and is responsible for funding the CCRL Laboratory, which is a CLIA Licensed and is accredited by the College of American Pathologists (CAP) that has been in existence for over 25 years. This Laboratory has been the Core Laboratory for numerous clinical trials sponsored by National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Foundation of NIH, the Veterans Administration, American Heart Association, and many manufacturers. Many of these trials involve biomarker characterization, safety and effectiveness  studies that have led to FDA clearance of in vitro diagnostic devices. Dr. Christenson has a long standing interest in Evidence-Based Laboratory Medicine and has been a member of and chaired both AACC and International Federation for Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (IFCC) committees on this topic. He also serves on the IFCC’s task force for Standardization of Cardiac Troponin I and is currently a member of the IFCC’s nominating committee. He was a charter member of the CDC's Oversight Committee for its evidence based Laboratory Medicine Best Practices program and wrote the paper that defined the A6 methodology that is the basis for this CDC effort. Dr. Christenson has served as chair of the Cardiac Biomarkers of Myocardial Injury Guidelines in 2007, and he is currently Co-chair of the National Academy of Clinical Biochemistry update for Guidelines of Cardiovascular disease, which includes the biomarkers for Acute Coronary Syndrome and Heart Failure. He has also co-chair of another NACB Laboratory Medicine Practice Guidelines on use of lipids and headed the section of Guidelines for Point of Care Testing of Biomarkers of Cardiovascular Disease. Dr. Christenson has held a number of leadership positions in professional organizations. These include the Board of Directors of Professional Societies including two terms with the American College of Cardiology / American Heart Association - Cardiovascular Accreditation Services (formerly the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care). Dr. Christenson has been particularly active in his ‘home’ professional association-The American Association for Clinical Chemistry. He and served on AACC’s the Board of Directors and then as Secretary of AACC. After election in 2011 by the AACC membership, he served as President Elect in 2012 and then as AACC's National President in 2013. Dr. Christenson has also been engaged with peer-reviewed journals throughout his career. Some of these including seriving two terms on the Board of Editors for Clinical Chemistry, and was an Associate Editor of Clinical Biochemistry for over 15 years. In 2016, Dr. Christenson took on the task of Editor-in-Chief of the AACC's  Journal of Applied Laboratory Medicine in 2016. He has served on many NIH study sections, particularly for their SBIR program. Dr. Christenson has been a visiting professor at Amsterdam Medical College, Amsterdam, the Netherlands under their Spinoza Fellowship, the University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX as the Bodansky Awardee, IFCC Visiting International Professor in Argentina and Peru where he delivered keynote lectures at their national meetings, and at Cleveland Clinic Foundation as part of their Visiting Lecturer Program. Dr. Christenson has presented at nationally and internationally at the annual meetings of AACC, ACC, AHA, ESC, CAP, SCPC, ASCP and other professional session on the general topic of clinical measurement, interpretation and utilization of cardiac troponin, N-terminal pro B-type Natriuretic Peptide and other biomarkers. Dr. Christenson has also presented on clinical use of cardiac biomarkers for many educational audioconferences, a program intended for a Public Television Series on Heart Attack and Medscape educational programs. 

Research/Clinical Keywords

Clinical Trials, Core Laboratory, Cardiac Troponin, Biomarkers, Evidence Based Medicine, Measurements, Cardiovascular Disease, Laboratory Director

Highlighted Publications


Ohman, E.M., Armstrong, P.W., Christenson, R.H., Granger, C.B., Katus, H., Hamm, C.W., O’Hanesian, M.A., Lee, K.L., Wagner, G.S., Califf, R.M., and Topol, E.J. for the GUSTO-IIa investigators. Risk stratification with admission cardiac troponin T levels in acute myocardial ischemia. N Engl J Med 1996;335:1333-41.

Tang WH, Francis GS, Morrow DA, Newby LK, Cannon CP, Jesse RL, Storrow AB, Christenson RH. National Academy of Clinical Biochemistry Laboratory Medicine Practice Guidelines: clinical utilization of cardiac biomarker testing in heart failure., Clin Biochem. 2008 Mar;41(4-5):210-21.

deFilippi CR, de Lemos JA, Christenson RH, Gottdiener JS, Kop WJ, Zhan M, Seliger SL. Association of serial measures of cardiac troponin T using a sensitive assay with incident heart failure and cardiovascular mortality in older adults. JAMA 2010;304:2494-502. 

deFilippi CR, Christenson RH, Gottdiener JS, Kop WJ, Seliger SL. Dynamic cardiovascular risk assessment in elderly people. The role of repeated N-terminal pro-B-type natriuretic peptide testing. J. Am. Coll. Cardiol. 2010;55(5):441-450

Christenson RH, Snyder SR, Shaw CS, Derzon JH, Black RS, Mass D, Epner P, Favoretto AM, Liebow EB. Labroatory medicine best practices: systematic evidence review and evaluation methods for quality improvement. Clin Chem 2011:57:816-25.

Layfield C, Rose J, Alford A, Snyder SR, Apple FS, Chwohury FM, Kontos MC, Newby LK, Storrow AB, Tanasijevic M, Lieback E, Liebow EB, Christenson RH. Effectiveness of practices for improving the diagnostic accuracy of Non ST Elevation Myocardial Infarction in the Emergency Department: A Laboratory Medicine Best Practices™ systematic review. Clin Biochem 2015;48:204-12.

Christenson RH, Jacobs E,  Uettwiller-Geiger D, Estey MP, Lewandrowski K, Koshy TI, Kupfer K, Li Y, Wesenberg JC. Comparison of thirteen commercially available cardiac troponin assays in a multicenter north american study. JALM 2017;1;544-561