High Blood Pressure Research Council of Australia

HBPRCA Email Newsletter December 2010

Christmas Greetings from Rob Widdop

n my first e-news as Secretary, and the final e-news for 2010, I’d like to wish everyone a wonderful Christmas and exciting and prosperous 2011. The highlight this year was of course the Annual Scientific Meeting in Melbourne where it was fantastic to see so many members. The three invited speakers; David Harrison, David Celermajer and Anthony Ashton gave outstanding presentations. Congratulations to the Meetings First crew of Jennifer and Suzy (along with Elizabeth and Winona) who made the meeting such a success and to Kate, Markus and Geoff for a wonderful program.

It is now also a time that heralds the dawn of a new era for the HBPRCA with a re-vamped committee for 2011 and beyond, since the majority of the previous committee had served their maximum terms of office. I would personally like to thank Geoff Head for his stewardship of the e-news which has contributed enormously to the lifeblood of the council which included show casing a number of council activities. I hope to continue Geoff’s great work and disseminate information about council initiatives in the new year, if not his photographic exploits.

In This Issue

President’s Message from Jaye Chin-Dusting
Visit downunder tops for Fu Ng
2010 Annual Scientific Meeting Awards
Aussie members shine at AHA CHBPR
Upcoming Meetings

President’s Message from Jaye Chin-Dusting

First and foremost, and on behalf of all members of the HBPRCA, I would like to thank the previous committee for their fantastic efforts, many of them over the past 6 years. The outgoing members are Stephen Harrap, Geoff Head, Kate Denton, Louise Burrell, Bruce Neal, Brian Morris, Doug McKitrick, & Erin O’Callaghan. While it is hard to single out individuals, a special mention must go to Stephen Harrap whose leadership was outstanding and who, together with the rest of the committee, has handed the baton over with the society at an all time high

It is also my pleasure to welcome both newly elected and re-elected members of the committee for 2011-2013. They are

  • Jaye Chin-Dusting (President)
  • Robert Widdop (Secretary)
  • Markus Schlaich (Corporate Liaison)
  • James Sharman (Program Secretary)
  • Anne Barden (Program Secretary)
  • Clive May (Treasurer)
  • Chris Reid (Society Liaison)
  • Janna Morrison (Membership Secretary)
  • Faline Howes (Student Representative)
  • Ann Goodchild (Member-at-large)
  • Eduardo Pimenta (Student Development)

I feel sure you will be excited by some of the initiatives and discussions already on the table from this team we look forward to working with all of you over the next 3 years. Finally, let me add my personal best wishes to all members for a very safe and joyful holiday.

Visit downunder tops for Fu Ng


Greetings from the UK.

I would like to re-express my gratitude for the amazing opportunity to attend the HBPRCA meeting in Melbourne. It was inspirational to see the commitment and enthusiasm for scientific research, both at the meeting as well as the Baker IDI Institute, and has opened my eyes to research away from the UK. I was fortunate to witness the work of numerous junior scientists and had interesting discussions regarding our research journeys thus far. I was also lucky to meet a Clinical Pharmacology trainee, and to learn the struggles within the speciality we adore are evident both in the UK and Australia. This experience has been infinitely beneficial for me, and I hope to maintain the links I have made throughout my future. In hope that our paths will cross again, Fu.

2010 Annual Scientific Meeting Awards

With 114 presentations at the 2010 Annual Scientific Meeting, the program was both diverse and interesting. Of course a highlight were the award sessions, both oral and poster.


Congratulations must go to all those who students and early career scientists who were selected as finalists, with special congratulations to the winners.

  • Sandra Louise, University of Western Australia | Robert Vandongen Travel Award
  • Erin O’Callaghan, University of Melbourne | Student Poster Award
  • Daniela Sartor, University of Melbourne | Early Career Poster Award
  • Danielle Michell, Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute | Student Oral – and the AHA Council for High Blood Pressure Research Council Award
  • Eduardo Pimenta, University of Queensland | Early Career Oral – and the BHS Award

Sandra Louise – Robert Vandongen Travel Award


To commemorate the contribution to the Council of Dr Robert Vandongen, a ‘Bob Vandongen Travel Award’ was established in 1993 to facilitate the travel of young investigators from Western Australia.

The Robert Vandongen Travel Award is presented to the young investigator from WA whose abstract scores most highly.

No application is required.

Erin O’Callaghan – Student Poster Award


This year I was delighted to be included in the student poster prize category at the ASM. It is always a privilege to present my work to other scientists and a challenge to myself to present in a way that encourages interest and discussion.

I’m in my final year of a PhD at the University of Melbourne, Department of Physiology. My project is under the supervision of A/Prof Andrew Allen and is based on investigating the neural control of hypertension. I was drawn to this project because of the novel techniques that we use in the lab and the application of these techniques to study the intriguing world of the brain renin-angiotensin system. I have attended the HBPRCA ASM annually since starting my honours degree and each year I learn more about becoming a better scientist and the research opportunities that exist within Australia. Attending the ASM has meant I get to present my work to internationally recognised experts in the renin-angiotensin system in a manner that encourages useful discussion and collaboration. This year I particularly enjoyed Prof David Harrison’s work on the role of immune response cells in developing hypertension.

I look forward to attending future HBPRCA ASM’s as a post-doctoral scientist!

Daniela Sartor – Early Career Poster Award


I am a Senior Research Officer in the Department of Medicine (University of Melbourne) at Austin Health in Heidelberg, Melbourne and completed my PhD in 2005. I was recently awarded an NH&MRC New Investigator Project grant to examine the role of gastric hormones in the development of obesity-related hypertension, and the work I presented at the moderated poster session as a finalist for the Early Career Poster Award was directly related to this research. I was delighted to be selected as the winner of this award as a new member of the HBPRCA and as first-time attendee of the annual meeting. This was an excellent meeting that showcased cutting edge hypertension-related research and was an ideal setting for meeting respected peers in the field and for establishing collaborations.

Danielle Michell – Student Oral/AHA Council for High Blood Pressure Research Council Award


Having just finished the first year of my PhD in the Vascular Pharmacology Lab headed by Jaye Chin-Dusting (Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute) I was very fortunate to be one of the six finalists for the Student Oral Award. The aim of my project is to understand the vascular inflammatory mechanisms induced by high blood pressure with the view to prevent blood pressure-related complications such as atherosclerosis. The feedback I received from my presentation was hugely beneficial and I am already adjusting future experiments to tackle the various questions asked. I am also very excited and thankful to have the unique opportunity to give an invited presentation at the AHA High Blood Pressure Conference in Orlando next year.

The HBPRCA ASM is one of the leading national conferences on cardiovascular translational research and it was great to hear about the latest cutting-edge and clinical research conducted both nationally and internationally. It is also a great opportunity to meet and listen to world renowned investigators from basic science to clinical work, this year I was particularly fascinated by the presentation given by Professor David Harrison (RD Wright Lecturer). However, the thing I enjoy most about these conferences is the opportunity to talk to other scientists whether it be over a sandwich or watching penguins make nests. The ASM is definitely a great platform to foster future collaborations or potential post-doctoral opportunities.
This conference was an invaluable experience for me and it definitely highlights the best things about a career in cardiovascular research.

Eduardo Pimenta – Early Career Oral/British Hypertension Society Award


The Annual Scientific Meeting of High Blood Pressure Research Council of Australia (ASM/HBPRCA) provides an extraordinary experience in which first class research level is presented in a friendly environment. After five years in Brazil and two years in the United States working with clinical research, I have had the opportunity to present and attend many local and international meetings. ASM/HBPRCA combines the same scientific quality of big international meetings combined to the cheerfulness of a weekly laboratory meeting.

Melbourne was my second participation in the ASM/HBPRCA and, again, had the opportunity to interact with international leaders in research of hypertension. I had the joy 2010 to win the Early Career Investigation Oral Award and be nominated to present my research in the British Hypertension Society meeting in Cambridge in September 2011. More important than a trip to England and the certificate on the wall, I was grateful to have my research analysed and judged by experienced researchers. They provided the certainty that I am the right direction.

From 2006 to 2008 I worked as a postdoctoral researcher with two worldwide recognized researchers in hypertension: Professors Suzanne Oparil and David Calhoun. Our main interest was the relationship between resistant hypertension, aldosterone and salt. Among other articles, we have demonstrated, by the first time, the effect of dietary salt in patients with resistant hypertension. Moreover, I became intrigued with previous animal studies that showed that the deleterious effects of aldosterone are dependent on concomitant high-salt diet.

After a short meeting in New Orleans in November 2008, I moved to Australia in February 2009 to work with Professors Michael Stowasser and Richard Gordon. They have provided the resources and environment necessary to continue my studies. We have been able to demonstrate that, similar to rats, the aldosterone-induced effects on target organs are dependent on high-dietary salt intake. In Melbourne we demonstrated that salt ingestion is the main determinant of cardiac structure in patients with primary aldosteronism, but not in patients with normal aldosterone, despite similar blood pressure levels.

My main goal is to continue making translational research in Australia. I have been blessed with wonderful mentors/friends. I am very grateful to Michael Stowasser, my mentor and friend, who has supported and kept me in Australia. I am also grateful to many people within the HBPRCA, who have received me with respect.

Aussie members shine at AHA CHBPR

BrianMorris-DahlProfessor Brian Morris from the School of Medical Science’s Discipline of Physiology was selected for the prestigious Dahl Award and Lecture by the Council for High Blood Pressure Research of the American Heart Association — a major recognition of his contributions to hypertension research over the past 40 years at the Association’s annual scientific meeting held recently in Washington, DC, 13 -16 October 2010.

This appears to be the first time a person from outside of North America has been selected for the Dahl award. Brian recounted that he was at the Council dinner in Cleveland in 1975 (as a young CJ Martin Fellow in Jim Davis’ Lab) when Lewis Dahl received the equivalent award, then named the Ciba Award (shared with Davis and Kempner). Dahl was unable to attend as he was dying from cancer. He participated via telephone link to his hospital bed.

Dr Eduardo Pimenta’s paper, “Effects of Dietary Sodium Reduction on Blood Pressure in Subjects With Resistant Hypertension: Results From a Randomized Trial” was selected as the top paper in Hypertension for 2009 in the category of clinical science. This study was undertaken while he was working as a Post-doctoral Clinical Research Fellow within the Vascular Biology and Hypertension Program, University of Alabama at Birmingham under the supervision of Professors David Calhoun and Suzanne Oparil. He was presented with his award at the 64th Annual Meeting of the American Heart Association Council for High Blood Pressure Research Conference in Washington in October.

Dr Morag Young’s paper “Deletion of Mineralocorticoid Receptors From Macrophages Protects Against Deoxycorticosterone/Salt-Induced Cardiac Fibrosis and Increased Blood Pressure” was selected as the top paper in Hypertension for 2009 in the category of basic science. Morag would have been presented with her award at the 64th Annual Meeting of the American Heart Association Council for High Blood Pressure Research Conference in Washington in October, but she was otherwise occupied with the birth of her daughter Josie.

Needless to say we are delighted for Morag, Eduardo and Brian and felt it fitting that the Council was made aware of these extraordinary achievements.

Upcoming Meetings/Weblinks

Meetings in 2011


8th Asian-Pacific Congress of Hypertension 2011
(8th APCH 2011)
24 – 27 November 2011
Taipei International Convention Center (TICC), Taiwan
Click here for meeting website

Australian Society for Medical Research (ASMR) newsletter

Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute newsletter

Menzies Research Institute Tasmania newsletter