Franco-Australian Exchange sponsored by Servier
In 2017, Servier has once again kindly supported this great initiative, whereby Australian members are able to receive a grant to travel to France to visit an institution there and work with the chief collaborator, learning from experts overseas, enhancing knowledge and sharing ideas. The grant of up to $7,500 may be used to cover travel, accommodation and expenses, and a report is to be prepared upon completion of the exchange. See below for the 2014 and 2016 winner’s report.
Click here to download an application form (PDF)
In 2016, James (Jim) Sharman was the recipient of a Franco-Australian Exchange Award and spent six months in France working with Professors Pierre Boutouyrie and Stephane Laurent who lead the Paris Cardiovascular Research Centre, L’Institut National de La Santé et de La Recherche Médicale. Jim returned to Australia in December, and reported that “it has been an extremely stimulating and rewarding experience, not only for him but also for his family living in the 14th arrondisement of Paris. Jim has worked on analyses of the Paris Prospective Study III, a large population study among 10,000 French people followed over 10 years aiming to determine the causes of sudden cardiac death. It has also been invaluable to strengthen ties with European colleagues and lay foundations for continued collaboration between Australia and France. Jim and his family are extremely grateful for the opportunity provided by the HPBRCA and highly recommend taking advantage of this great program.
Report by Emilio Badoer, 2014 HBPRCA- Franco-Australian Award Winner
I was delighted to receive the Franco-Australian Award from the High Blood Pressure Research Council of Australia (HBPRCA). This award allowed me to return to Paris to extend a longstanding collaboration with Professor Jacques Epelbaum. The visit, although short, achieved its primary goal of establishing a new collaborative link between Professor Epelbaum’s Lab in the Centre de Psychiatrie et Neurosciences, Université Paris Descartes, Sorbonne Paris Cité Paris, France. and Professor Pierre-Louis Tharaux, in the Paris Cardiovascular Research Centre, INSERM, and Université Paris
Jacques Epelbaum is chairman of the «Centre Psychiatrie et Neurosciences Inserm, UMR 894 Inserm Faculté de Médecine Université Paris Descartes à l’Hôpital Sainte-Anne à Paris ». He is also director of a research team in the Center: Neuroendocrinology of Growth & Aging, which specialises in gut hormones, particularly ghrelin.
Professor Tharaux is a nephrologist whose laboratory focusses on vascular and renal pathophysiology, with particular emphasis on genes implicated in signalling pathways, particularly in podocytes, in response to immune vasculitis, hypertension, diabetic nephropathy and in focal segmental glomerulosclerosis.
The goal of my visit was to investigate the renal and cardiovascular role of ghrelin and thus brought together the interests of Professors Epelbaum and Tharaux. In our work we made use of mice that lacked the gene for ghrelin and therefore lacked the ability to synthesise the pre-proghrelin protein. These mice were generously made available by Professor Epelbaum.
Ghrelin is a 28-amino acid peptide released from the stomach and is an endogenous ligand for the growth hormone secretagogue receptor (GHSR). It is the only hormone released from the gastrointestinal tract known to increase food intake.
Little is known of the cardiovascular effects of ghrelin but evidence to date suggests that ghrelin has a positive role on cardiac function since animals lacking ghrelin have worse outcomes following myocardial infarction, and ghrelin protects the heart from arrhythmias following an ischaemic insult. The mechanisms involved are not clear but may involve indirect actions involving the sympathetic nervous system and direct actions on the heart cells. Another possibility arises from ghrelin’s anti-inflammatory effects. The anti-inflammatory and anti-fibrotic actions of ghrelin have also been observed in the kidney such that markers of fibrosis and inflammation are reduced by ghrelin in models of obstructive nephropathy.
Also of great interest is the observation that the fibrotic actions of the renin angiotensin system in the kidney are antagonised by ghrelin. Furthermore, the renin angiotensin system is known to induce premature senescence of the kidney, and ghrelin also ameliorates this action.
Thus, in our work, we have begun to investigate senescence-induced changes in kidneys and in the heart, with a particular focus on inflammatory and fibrotic markers as well as kidney function biomarkers. We will compare the hearts and kidneys of one year old wild type, heterozygote and pre-proghrelin knockout mice. Since gender differences could influence the effects of ghrelin on haemodynamic responses, we will also determine whether the effects of ghrelin on the development of fibrosis and inflammation with age is affected by sex, by investigating separate male and female cohorts.
I would like to thank the HBPRCA for the opportunity to work with an exceptionally talented group of researchers, and my special thanks go to Professors Epelbaum, Tharaux and their respective co-workers, particularly Drs Tolle and Lenoir.
Early Career Investigator Oral and Poster Awards
Supported by the High Blood Pressure Research Council of Australia and Clinical Science (poster)
These awards are to encourage membership and foster active participation of early career investigators in the HBPRCA. The candidate must be an early career scientist (up to 10 years post-doctorate, with consideration given for career interruption).
Student Oral and Poster Presentation Awards
The candidate must be a student currently enrolled in an Honours, Masters or PhD program in a field relevant to the award. The goal of these prizes is to encourage membership and foster active participation of enrolled scholars in the HBPRCA.
Prizes and Eligibility
All finalists are selected based on the ranking of their abstracts submitted by the normal process for presentation at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the Council. The winner of each prize will be decided by a specially convened judging panel based on the quality of the data and the presentation.
In order to be eligible for any of the awards listed above, you MUST:
be a member of the HBPRCA by September 30 in the year of application
be the first author of the abstract
NOT have published the work presented in the abstract in other than electronic form, at the time of submission.
NOT to have won an award in same category in the previous year*.
Best Oral Prizes of $1,000 – will be awarded to the best presentation in the Early Career Investigator Oral Award Finalists Session and also to the best Student Oral Presentation.
Best Poster Prizes of $500 will be awarded to the best Early Career Investigator poster presentation and also to the best student poster presentation. In each case the presentation will involve the poster and a mini oral presentation. The Early Career Investigator poster award is sponsored by Clinical Science and includes a certificate and a year’s free online access to Clinical Science.
British Hypertension Society Award
This is single award to the highest scoring presentation from either the Early Career Investigator Oral Award Finalists or the Student Oral Presentation Award Finalists. It is underlines the society’s strong alliance with the BHS. The prize is a formal invitation to attend and present at the following BHS Annual Scientific meeting in September. The award comprises an amount of $3,000 towards travel expenses. Accommodation will be provided by the BHS during the meeting in the UK. This money is in addition to the $1,000 received as either the Early Career Investigator Oral winner or the Student Oral Presentation Award winner. The recipient is also expected to visit laboratories with like research interests before or after the meeting (it is compulsory to visit at least one laboratory). The winner is not eligible for this award in subsequent years.
AHA Council for High Blood Pressure Research Award
Supported by the High Blood Pressure Research Council of Australia and the AHA Council for High Blood Pressure Research (CHBPR)
This is single award to the highest scoring presentation from either the Early Career Investigator Oral Award Finalists or the Student Oral Presentation Award Finalists. It is underlines the society’s strong alliance with the CHBPR. The prize is a formal invitation to attend and present at the following CHBPR Annual Scientific Meeting in October. The award comprises an amount of $3,000 towards travel expenses. Accommodation will be provided by the CHBPR during the meeting in the US. This money is in addition to the $1,000 received as either the Early Career Investigator Oral winner or the Student Oral Presentation Award winner. The recipient is also expected to visit laboratories with like research interests before or after the meeting. The winner is not eligible for this award in subsequent years.
*If you won the poster or oral prize last year you are not eligible for the poster or oral prize in this year in the same category. A student winner who becomes a full member of the Council is eligible for the Early Career Investigator award the following year.