High Blood Pressure Research Council of Australia



HBPRCA Email Newsletter

September 2008



Welcome to the 3rd quarterly newsletter this year. The most important message is the imminent deadline for abstracts for the annual scientific meeting. That’s right you have only until the end of the week!!!!!!  Don’t forget that this years meeting is the 30th anniversary and we will be planning some special events and competitions.


Congratulations to Tye Dawood and Stephen Harrap who have been awarded the inaugural Franco-Australian Travel Awards to visit and work in France and also to Audrey Koïtka who was the recipient on the French side.


Plans are well underway for the HBPRCA workshop to be held on the Wednesday before the annual Scientific meeting. The focus this year will be on human and animals devices used in cardiovascular research as well as on central blood pressure regulation. Further details below. 


Important deadlines

Friday 12 September is the close for the following:


Family tree submissions

Competition submissions


We would like to inform you that the HBPRCA has become an affiliated society of International Society of Hypertension.


ISH 2008 Australian Dinner

To view photos, please click here



Best wishes



Professor Geoffrey A Head




PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE from Stephen Harrap

The ISH meeting in Berlin was a great success, but the highlight was the Aussies’ Dinner! With about 50 people we enjoyed fine food in a typically convivial atmosphere on one of those almost balmy Berlin summer evenings. I’m already looking forward to the dinner in Vancouver.

Now that we are back, we are putting effort into our own special 30th Anniversary Annual Scientific Meeting in December. Don’t forget the abstract deadline that is fast approaching (Friday 12 September). Your Executive is busy planning a unique event that will be terrific fun, as well as the usual great science. There are special workshops on the Wednesday prior on the topics; instrumentation and central cardiovascular control. What’s more, there is a Festschrift for Fred Mendelsohn at the start of the week. By Friday evening, we’ll all need a nice quiet rest.

As you read this Claudia McCarthy will be in the UK as our HBPRCA Young Investigator at the BHS meeting. This has been one very successful international venture and the other is our Franco-Australian exchange program, which is starting strongly and about which you’ll read more elsewhere. The Executive is also looking to extend the international links through possible new awards for young investigators to attend the American Heart Association High Blood Pressure Research Council Meetings. We’re also considering on ways in which we might interact with the Canadian Hypertension Society in the run-up to ISH2010 in Vancouver.

Locally, we continue to make an impact on 2 major fronts. The first is the Better Blood Pressure Measurement Initiative, which has distributed the OMRON HEM-907 semi-automated machines to GPs around the country and is in the process of delivering machines to specialist physicians with an interest in blood pressure. We are also in the midst of the distribution to GPs of the first of 2 “Off The Cuff” DVDs to GPs around the country. These DVDs provide useful information on BP-related topics in an engaging style.

Geoff Head is leading a group on 24-hour ambulatory BP measurement, about which you’ll also read more elsewhere. This is a timely initiative given the need for local normal data and also the growing interest in such measures.

As always, there’s lots’ happening in the HBPRCA!



MEETING NEWS from Kate Denton

Abstract submissions for the 2008 Annual HBPRCA have been called for, with the deadline September 12th. We have 3 excellent invited speakers in Carlos Ferrario, David Sinclair and Bruce Neal.  In addition our student and post-doctorate members have the opportunity to shine in award-related, showcase sessions, with the best of the best receiving the British Hypertension Society award.  Our 30th annual meeting promises to be a really spectacular event. We anticipate a large turn out of old and new members, with many additional social events planned as outline below. Looking forward to seeing you all.


Submit those abstracts now!!



WORKSHOP NEWS from Geoff Head Markus Schlaich, Kate Denton and Arduino Mangoni

The preparations for THE HUMAN AND ANIMAL DEVICES WORKSHOP to be held as a full day workshop on December 3, 2008 has taken a new turn.  As previously announced, the morning sessions will focus on animal research with particular attention to the use and application of telemetry devices. These sessions will be sponsored by data Sciences International.


The afternoon sessions will focus on human devices and we are planning to cover various aspects related to blood pressure measurement and assessment of cardiovascular function both in a research and a more clinical environment. Devices we plan to cover include the EndoPat System, a novel device to non-invasively assess “endothelial function” and augmentation index, the BaroCor System to assess baroreflex sensitivity, the Finometer Pro, a device to measure beat-to-beat blood pressure and others. The principal idea is to give workshop participants an unbiased view of the pro’s and con’s of each device and their performance in a research and clinical setting.


Due to popular demand we will also be including the

5th Central Blood Pressure Regulation Meeting: Future Directions and Controversies

which will be held in the afternoon and run parallel to the clinical devices workshop

This meeting has been held regularly over the last several years and has attracted great interest particularly from the neuroscientists in our council.  This session will offer us a great opportunity to hear about issues and controversies in central cardiovascular regulation.


·          The day will therefore cover a diverse range of interests from basic techniques (morning) through to new directions in blood pressure regulation (afternoon) and onto clinical frontiers (afternoon).

·          There will be a modest registration fee of $50 + GST, which will cover tea breaks, lunch and attendance to any of the three sessions.

·          In the evening we will have a dinner at the Mitre Tavern (5 Bank Place) about 1200m from the venue.  

·          We would be very interested to hear from potential workshop participants as the program is now being finalised.


Please forward your ideas to the secretariat, hbprca@meetingsfirst.com.au



SOCIETY NEWS from Bruce Neal

United Kingdom

Our relationship with the British Hypertension Society continues to thrive.  Claudia McCarthy winner of the BHS Award will be attending the Annual Meeting of the British Hypertension Society at Queens College, Cambridge very shortly.  We wish her all the best for what will no doubt be an interesting experience!  And we look forward to hearing from the British Society shortly about who will be joining us for our meeting in December.


There has been considerable interest expressed in the British meeting by our Society members over the last few years and we have made a new arrangement such that Society members can now attend.  From next year, up to ten members of the HBPRCA will be able to attend the closed annual scientific meeting of the British Hypertension Society as guests of the president.  You will have to cover your own travel there but the subsidized registration fee will secure two nights of accommodation and two days of entertainment, meals and drinks.  We will remind everyone of this opportunity once plans for next years meeting are known.



Arrangements for the inaugural Franco-Australian Exchange have now been made.  The French Hypertension Society (SFHTA) will be supporting Audrey Koïtka in a two-month fellowship with Mark Cooper in Melbourne.  In return we will be sending to Paris, Stephen Harrap to work with Xavier Jeunemaitre and Tye Dawood to work with Jean-Luc Elghozi.  Particular acknowledgement must be made of Louise Burrell who secured from Servier Australia the funds to support the Australian Fellows.


United States

Much as we have for France and the UK we are now seeking to secure an exchange relationship with the Council of High Blood Pressure Research at the American Heart Association.  Through the efforts of our Corporate Liaison (Louise Burrell again!) it seems that we may next year have funds to support the travel of a fellow from our Society to the US conference of the Council.  Once we are able to confirm this opportunity we will be in touch with details of how we propose to administer the award.  We are simultaneously encouraging our US colleagues to designate a complimentary award that would see a US fellow attend our annual meeting.




Many may have seen our invited Austin Doyle Lecturer, David Sinclair, on the TV news on 5 June, as well as newspaper articles such as the New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/04/health/research/04aging.html?_r=1&oref=slogin


Assoc Prof Sinclair, an Aussie at Harvard, who did his PhD at UNSW, showed in a large article in Nature that the red wine polyphenol, resveratrol, can prevent the adverse cardiovascular and metabolic conditions (metabolic syndrome) that usually result in a mouse model of obesity. Now clinical trials have shown a reduction in glucose in type 2 diabetes patients, and further trials are in progress or planned. He established a company, Sirtris Phama, in 2004, to develop more potent analogues of resveratrol (since the concentrations in red wine are too low to have a health benefit versus the toxic effects of alcohol). Sirtris listed on Nasdaq in the middle of 2007. When I visited him in the lead up to this last year, he mentioned some who had bought in (@ $100K minimum) or had otherwise supported this, e.g., the President of the Boston Red Sox, Arnold Schwarznegger, Oprah Winfrey, and other big names in the USA. The New York Times article mentions that Sirtris was bought recently by GlaxoSmithKline for $0.7 billion. This is an example of a great success story, both scientifically and commercially, for one of our countrymen. David Sinclair is, moreover, an excellent speaker. I am sure you will enjoy his talk at the 30th anniversary meeting when you attend the HBPRCA in Dec.





Student introductions

Getting to know and encouraging the next generation of leaders in BP research is a major goal of the Council. Therefore, we thought that it would be a good idea to “introduce” our students at this year’s annual dinner. We would like to do this in the form of a power point presentation that will loop for most of the night. We are requesting that students provide the secretariat with their photo and some salient points about themselves (no more than 50 words). This will help put names and interests to student faces and facilitate convivial conversations.


Our Family Tree

We’d like to take the opportunity of the 30th Anniversary to try and construct a “Family Tree” of blood pressure research in Australia. To do so we’d like all our members to indicate the person who had the greatest direct influence in shaping your career in blood pressure research. You might have more than one perhaps (perhaps one scientific and one clinical) but please limit your nominations to 2 maximum. Even if you trained overseas let us know your names as we might find branches of the “family” extend around the world.




We would like to open the following four competitions – 2 written and 2 photographic:

Best research meeting destination story – One of the joys of research is travel and discovering sites and places that amaze and enthrall. What has been your best meeting destination and why was it so special?

Best travel nightmare story – On the other hand one of the horrors of research can be travel! Sometimes getting there and back is enough to make you cry. Tell us when you wished you’d never left home for a BP meeting and share the gory details.

Best photograph taken by a member – Some members are well known for their photographic prowess, but we suspect that there are some other excellent photographers amongst us. Have you a photograph that makes you proud? Then we’d love to see it. You might even win a prize. The picture can be anything, even some beautiful images generated by your research or a picture of your pet!

Best photograph of a member – In this category, photographs are restricted to images of members (present and past).


Please be sure to get permission from the member before submitting, as we will be following this up!




MEMBERSHIP NEWS from Doug McKitrick

With the HBPRCA Annual Scientific Meeting coming up we once again remind supervisors that your graduate students can enjoy free membership in the HBPRCA, putting your students in the running for a number of prizes and awards recognising their contributions to the field. This year is a significant year celebrating the 30th anniversary of the HBPRCA. The meeting will be an excellent opportunity for you, your colleagues with an interest in high blood pressure research, your postdocs and your graduate students to take part in an event that promises to be both scientifically and socially exciting. As we strengthen our clinical ties, we also remind you to consider who of your clinical colleagues might be interested in membership with Australia’s premier society for hypertension-related research and information.


If you have specific comments or concerns with your membership, or issues affecting membership generally, accept the invitation to communicate them directly to the Membership Secretary, Dr Doug McKitrick, via contact details available on the HBPRCA website.




Members: Geoff Head, Susie Mihailidou, Karen Duggan, Alexandra Bune, James Sharman, Arduino Mangoni, Peter Howe, Narelle Berry, Diane Cowley, Michael Stowasser, Lawrie Beilin, Jonathan Hodgson and John Chalmers


At present, while ABPM equivalents exist for the diagnosis of hypertension, there are no ABPM equivalents for target blood pressure in the management of hypertension. While the PAMELA study provided an ABPM equivalent for the diagnostic level of 140/90, this study from Monza in Italy does not readily provide ABPM equivalents for target blood pressures such as 125/75, nor is it necessarily relevant to the Australian population (Mancia G, Sega R, Bravi C, De Vito G, Valagussa F, Cesana G, Zanchetti A. Ambulatory blood pressure normality: results from the PAMELA study. J Hypertens. 1995;13:1377-1390).  It is therefore important to derive a robust algorithm, which can provide relevant ABPM target blood pressures. 


Aim: This HBPRCA clinical research collaborative initiative will collect clinic blood pressure and ambulatory recordings from contributing centres (mostly hypertension clinics) through out Australia in order to can provide sufficient data to derive the Clinic- ABPM relationship which will also be able to account for ethnicity, sex or age.


Progress:  So far we have collected over five and a half thousand recordings from 5 states and the analysis is ongoing.  The working group is convening shortly to finalise the analysis and prepare the results for presentation at the annual meeting. Below is a table of the numbers of participants, age, body mass index and ambulatory recording values which considerably higher values of clinic and ambulatory values in the Australian subjects even when adjusted for the PAMELA study age range?    


Table 1 Comparison of Pamela and Australian Subjects (total and limited to the Pamela age range)



Pamela Study



Australian Study


Australian Study

(Pamela Age range)


Total # participants


5604 (5 States)



25 – 64 yr

Mean = 55 yr

(range 10 – 102)

Mean = 49 yr

Range (25 – 64)





Clinic Sitting SBP/DBP




24 Hr ABP




Awake ABP




Night-time ABP





Table 2 based on a regression of the clinic to ambulatory blood pressure, the calculated ambulatory values corresponding to a clinic blood pressure of 140/90 which is the lower limit of grade 1 hypertension based on the NHF guidelines 2008)

Lower Limit of Grade 1 Hypertension (NHF Guidelines 2008)

Pamela Study (n = 1600)


Clinic Sitting














Aussie Data (n = 5604)


Clinic Sitting















For further information please contact geoff.head@baker.edu.au Or Susie Mihailidou (amihaili@med.usyd.edu.au).




2009 Postdoctoral Research Fellowship

The Foundation is offering a two-year postdoctoral fellowship for a research project in hypertension or related fields in basic, clinical or public health areas at an Australian institution. Applications from biomedical, clinical and public health researchers are invited.


Applications are open to Australian citizens or permanent residents.


It is expected that the successful applicant will have had not less than five and not more than ten years' postdoctoral experience. The fellowship provides a salary and modest project maintenance costs.


2009 ISH Visiting Postdoctoral Award

The ISH Visiting Postdoctoral Award has been designed to encourage experienced researchers from countries other than Australia to work in Australia for up to two years on a specific research project in hypertension or a related field in basic, clinical or public health areas.


The ISH Visiting Postdoctoral Award will be awarded to an Australian research institution, as a contribution towards the salary of a postdoctoral researcher who is not an Australian citizen or permanent resident.


Application Procedures

For information on how to apply please contact:

FHBPR Secretariat

Department of Physiology

University of Melbourne

Parkville 3010

Victoria, Australia

Email:  jkelly@unimelb.edu.au


Applications close on Friday 19 September 2008

Late applications will not be considered




The Heart Foundation Research Program provides funding to researchers working in universities, hospitals and recognised research institutions across Australia. We support early to mid career researchers through funding for both people and projects. Funding is provided across three categories: biomedical, clinical and public health research. We award scholarships, fellowships, travel grants and grants-in-aid.

The Research Program conducts information sessions each year across Australia in order to promote the Program and attract high quality applications from major research institutions and universities. These sessions are designed to give attendees the opportunity to learn about our funding schemes in more depth. As a result of some important changes to funding structures, we are conducting a second round of sessions for 2008. Sessions are to be held at:


Deakin University Burwood

Tuesday 16 September, 12.30pm

J3.52 - Building J, Level 3, Room 52 (near Dean’s office)


University of Melbourne

Wednesday 24 September, 12.30pm

Theatre 2, Level 1 Alan Gilbert Building


Queensland Institute of Medical Research

Tuesday 7 October, 12.30pm

Westpac Auditorium, E Floor, Bancroft Centre, 300 Herston Road, Herston


University of Western Australia

Tuesday 14 October, 12.30pm

Venue to be confirmed


University of Adelaide

Wednesday 15 October 12.30pm

Councillor Room (Level 7 Wills Building)

Flinders University

Wednesday 15 October

Time yet to be confirmed


University of South Australia

Thursday 16 October, 12.30pm

J2-30 City East Campus in the Bonython Jubilee Building, Level 2


University of Sydney

Wednesday 22 October, 1.00pm

Architecture Lecture Theatre 1, Wilkinson Building G04, Maze Crescent, Darlington Campus (near Wentworth Building)


University of New South Wales

Thursday 23 October, 12.30pm

Room 101 Law Building


Australian National University

Wednesday 5 November

Time and venue to be confirmed


To register for sessions, please visit www.heartfoundation.org.au/information_sessions

For more information, please contact the Heart Foundation Research Program on (03) 9321 1581 or by emailing



FRED MENDELSOHN'S FESTSCHRIFT 1st and 2nd of December, 2008

Professor Fred Mendelsohn will be retiring from the Directorship of the Howard Florey Institute at the end of 2008. To mark this occasion a scientific meeting to celebrate Fred’s contribution to health and medical research in Australia and internationally is going to be held at the Howard Florey Institute, University of Melbourne.

The scientific program will encompass the fields that have attracted Fred’s interest and endeavour and will include Neuroscience and neurological diseases, Cardiovascular regulation in health and disease, Endocrinology and G-protein-coupled receptors. The program of basic and clinical science presentations promises to be an informative and current discussion of the research areas supported by Fred.


The meeting will be held in the lecture theatre of the Howard Florey Institute on the 1st and 2nd of December, 2008. This is immediately prior to the scientific meeting of the Australian High Blood Pressure Research Council.  A dinner will be held on the evening of the 1st of December.


Further information regarding registration and details of the scientific program is available at the following web address http://fredschrift.florey.edu.au. Expressions of interest in attending the conference can be emailed to fredschrift@florey.edu.au. All are welcome to attend.




Launch of Access Economics Exceptional Returns II

The ASMR has been working hard to gather the data for a strong evidence based case for increased funding to HMR.  The ASMR commissioned Access Economics report "Exceptional Returns:  The Value of Investing in Australian Health and Medical Research" was launched with the help of Sir Gus Nossal at the National Press Club in Canberra on June 4.  The study follows the landmark 2003 report "Exceptional returns I" and estimates the economic value of Australian Investment in HMR R&D following the recent funding increases and includes case studies of 4 specific examples of well-being returns to Australia in diabetes, dementia, cancer, and indigenous health.  I am pleased to report that the study demonstrates the continued excellent health and economic returns on investment in the Australian HMR sector, and has been extremely well received by all stakeholders. Thanks to the Access Economics team led by Lynne Pezzullo, and the many supporters from the HMR sector that helped to fund this important study. For the full report see: http://www.asmr.org.au/breakingnews.html
The 4th Australian Health and Medical Research Congress

The scene is now set for another stellar Australian Health and Medical Research Congress (an initiative of ASMR) that will be held at the Brisbane Convention Centre, November 16-21, 2008.  An exciting multi-disciplinary scientific program comprising a world-class line-up of over 200 national and 50 international speakers has been finalised. Plenary speakers include international superstars Elaine Fuchs, Roger Tsien, Josef Penninger, Steve Baylin, and Michael Karin. The program also encompasses the ASMR National Scientific conference "Epithelial Tissue Dynamics: From Stem Cells to Cancer", as well as the national scientific conferences or sessions organised by an additional 34 societies and organizations. Travel bursaries are available for ASMR student members, and generous prizes are on offer including the Merck Sharpe and Dohme best poster award ($8000), and the CASS foundation best poster student poster award ($5000).  I encourage all members of attend what promises to be an outstanding Congress.  Early bird registration closes tomorrow!  Please see http://www.ahmrcongress.org.au/ for further details and online registration.

 ASMR Enterprise Bargaining Survey Gap Survey

ASMR has completed a survey of its members to investigate the extent and effect of the monetary gap between host institution salaries and the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Personnel Salary Packages (PSPs) and Fellowships.  The results paint a picture of the negative effect that the gap is having on the HMR sector and will be available to stakeholders.  See the August ASMR newsletter for a summary of the results. Thanks to members for your participation and support. Survey data will be posted on the ASMR website in the near future.

ASMR Medical Research Week®

The recent 2008 ASMR Medical Research Week® was another resounding success.  Media monitoring indicated that the HMR message generated from the week of activities reached around 12.5 million people. One of the highlights of the many fantastic events of the week was the national tour by the 2008 ASMR medallist Sir Gustav Nossal.  Sir Gus gave inspiring addresses at each of the state dinners and to a national TV audience at the Press Club in Canberra.  On behalf of ASMR I would like to extend our sincere thanks to Sir Gus for his outstanding effort in promoting HMR over the week. The hard-working state committees are the backbone of ASMR MRW; thanks to each of the state convenors and their teams for making the week such a great success - Suresh Mahalingam (ACT), Naomi Rogers (NSW), Mike McGuckin (Qld), Cadence Minge (SA), Morag Young (VIC), Tracey Dickson (TAS), Jason Kirkness and Sharon Pope (WA).  I would also like to thank Kristen Nowak (ASMR MRW convenor), Rosemary Keogh (State committees convenor), Emma Parkinson-Lawrence (PR Liaison), Maree Overall and Mike Pickford (ASN events), and the tireless executive-office team of Cath West and Priscilla Diment.

ASMR Workforce Survey

We are pleased to announce the publication in the Medical Journal of Australia the results of a pilot study "Perceptions of Health and Medical Research Careers: The Australian Society for Medical Research Workforce Survey". The survey of nearly 400 members gauged views on career and funding opportunities, salary and quality of working environment. Thank you for your participation and support. The study is available from: http://www.asmr.org.au/breakingnews.html

Impact of the 2008/9 Federal Budget

The 2007/8 Federal budget announced in May included some excellent initiatives and indicate a promising supportive future for the HMR sector.  These were (i) the Future Fellowship scheme for mid-career researchers (across all science fields however the biomedical sector will hopefully receive a healthy number of these), see below for further details, (ii) doubling the number of Australian Postgraduate Awards for PhD and masters students, (iii) the $10 billion Health and Hospital Fund, and (iv) the $11 billion Education Investment Fund.   The latter 2 initiatives are substantial funds for infrastructure of which the HMR sector will hopefully receive allocations for capital works at institutes and universities for both research and teaching.   However, it should be noted that one disappointing outcome from the 2007/8 budget was the cutting of the Commercial Ready Scheme.  Hopefully the current Innovation Review will recommend a bigger and better version of the previous scheme!

It needs to be highlighted that the phasing in of the current doubling of the NHMRC budget announced in the 2006/07 budget will be complete in 2011, thus the 2010/11 budget will be critical in deciding the next funding period for the HMRC sector.  This budget is clearly looming large and it goes without saying that we need to build our case for increased funding to the HMR sector aimed ultimately at the 2010/11 budget.  This will be a defining moment for HMR in Australia!

Future Fellowship scheme for top mid-career researchers

The Federal government has announced the creation of a new mid-career fellowship scheme, the "Future Fellowships". The internationally competitive scheme is aimed at providing support for top Australian-based researchers, an incentive for Australian researchers overseas to return home to continue their work, and to attract the best international researchers to our shores.

The key points are:
o               Mid-career defined as 5 to 15 years since award of PhD (or equivalent) and allowing flexibility to account for family responsibilities
o               200 new Fellowships a year for five years 
o               Two salary levels ­roughly $95,000+28% on costs and $135,000+28% on-costs
o               Each year $50,000 per fellowship to go to the institution to support infrastructure, traveletc
The Australian Research Council (ARC) is responsible for the implementation and ongoing administration of Future Fellowships. 
o               The ARC envisages the following key dates will apply to the first round of the Future Fellowships scheme: 
o               Funding rules made available in August 2008 
o               The closing time for submission of proposals will be in October 2008. 
o               Announcement of Future Fellowships commencing in 2009 to occur in May 2009. 
o               Future Fellowships to commence in the second half of 2009. 



HBPRCA Secretariat

Athina Patti at

Meetings First

t             61 3 9739 7697

f             61 3 9739 7076

e            hbprca@meetingsfirst.com.au

w            www.hbprca.com.au



HBPRCA would like to acknowledge the support of the following companies:










Heart and Mind Psychogenic Cardiovascular Disease Conference

3 – 5 September 2008

Prato, Tuscany

Click here for meeting website


2nd International Symposium on Pheochromocytoma

17 – 20 September 2008
Queens College, Cambridge

Click here for meeting website


Annual Scientific Meeting of the British Hypertension Society
24 – 26 September 2008
Queen’s College, Cambridge

Click here for meeting website

Japanese Society of Hypertension Annual Scientific Meeting, celebrating it's 30th anniversary

***HBPRCA members receive discounted registration fees***

9 - 11 October 2008
Royton Sapporo (Sapporo, Hokkaido Pref.), Japan

Click here for meeting website


4th AH & MR Congress

16 - 21 November 2008
Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre

Click here for meeting website


HBPRCA 2008 Annual Scientific Meeting

3 – 5 December 2008

Melbourne Exhibition Centre

Click here for meeting website.