High Blood Pressure Research Council of Australia



HBPRCA Email Newsletter

December 2008



The final e-news for the year we saved until after the 30th Annual Scientific Meeting which was an outstanding success by all accounts.  Thanks must go to Kate and Markus and as well of course to Athina (behind the scenes) for organising such a wonderful event setting such a high standard.  The dinner was really wonderful with the quiz and Michael’s tinkling of the ivories to name a few of the highlights.

Wishing you and your families a very Merry Christmas and a safe and Happy New Year.


Photos from the ASM

To view photos of the conference, please click here.

To view photos of the dinner, please click here.


We have a small number of Commemorative Booklets, group photos and abstract books left over from the ASM. If you would like a copy of any of these, please let Athina know at hbprca@meetingsfirst.com.au.


Best wishes



Professor Geoffrey A Head



PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE from Stephen Harrap

Looking back on the last 30 years of the HBPRCA, one can't but help wondering how Austin Doyle might have felt. I suspect that he'd be very relieved by the unwavering commitment to high quality research and the strong place of Australia on the global blood pressure map. He'd be delighted to see that the 50 founding members had been the seed for a society of over 300 and especially pleased to see the future of the Council as reflected by the bright young minds of our students and postdoctoral scientists. I’m pretty sure he would have also enjoyed the celebrations for our 30th Annual Scientific Meeting and seeing the generations of our Blood Pressure Family creating good memories together.

Looking back at 2008 I would like to pay tribute to our marvelous Executive: Louise Burrell, Kate Denton, Ann Goodchild, Geoff Head, Doug McKitrick, Arduino Mangoni, Brian Morris, Bruce Neal and Markus Schlaich and our tireless, patient, and creative Secretariat comprising Athina Patti, Jenny Seabrook and (on secondment from time-to-time) Ray Turner.

One cannot overlook either our generous corporate and other financial supporters.

From you our members, I'd ask only your continued support and your good ideas, so that we can take the HBPRCA from strength to strength.

A Happy Christmas to you all and all the Very Best for a Healthy and Productive 2009.



MEETING NEWS from Kate Denton and Markus Schlaich

What a busy week!  I hope that everyone came away from the meeting with a sense that it was a 'good' (an English understatement) meeting.  Certainly the Austin Doyle Lecturer by David Sinclair will go down as one of the best cross disciplinary lectures that I have heard, a well balanced mix of science, vision and humour.  Equally Carlos Ferrario, as the RD Wright Lecturer gave us a brilliant history of the other peptides of the renin-angiotensin system; from the early times when few believed in a role for Ang(1-7), through the burgeoning evidence that this peptide is a major player in the RAS, to the evidence today that several Ang peptides are biologically active including a new player Ang(1-12).  Our own Bruce Neal, the Colin Johnston Lecturer, gave an impassion talk highlighting the need to reassess how cardiovascular risk and therefore treatment is addressed in the future.  We will have to look hard to match such an excellent set of speakers next year. All should give consideration to this and send in any suggestions!


I would also like to congratulate Justin Davies on an excellent, provocative and well defended presentation.  I would also like to congratulate all our prize winners-

o                                         Student Oral Presentation award and winner of the CHBPR award; Michael De Silva, Department of Pharmacology, Monash University

o                                         Early Career Investigator Oral Award and winner of the BHS award; Elena Velkoska, Austin Health, University of Melbourne 

o                                         Early Career Investigator Poster Award: Rachael Dean, Austin Health, University of Melbourne

o                                         Student Poster Presentation (Joint winners): Sarah McCann, Bernard O'Brien Institute of Microsurgery and Amanda Rickard, Prince Henry's Institute of Medical Research.


Finally, the winners of the new category the Student's Choice Best Poster Award are to be congratulated Colleen Thomas, Erin O'Callaghan, Keith Ng, Wendy Ip, Claudia McCarthy, Sanja Bosnyak and Zanfina Ademi.  I would particularly like to thank all the students and mentors (Robyn Woods, Roger Evans, Andrew Allen, Annemarie Henessey, Emma Jones, Simon McMullen, James Armitage and James Sharman).  By all reports this initiative worked well and we intend to continue it next year.  Any feedback on this process or suggestions for next year welcomed.


Season’s greetings and happy holidays!



HBPRCA 2009 Annual Scientific Meeting

Please put this in your diaries now!

1 – 3 December 2009
Luna Park Sydney



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

As part of the ASM 2009 we have for the first time incorporated a workshop focussing on technologies used in human and animal cardiovascular research. The concept was born from previously very successful workshops in animal cardiovascular research and we have now expanded this concept to include technologies and devices used in clinical research in the hope that this will interest both the basic and clinical researchers as well as the many hybrid researchers within our Council. We had called upon expert's with hands-on experience to share their knowledge as well to give us the good and bad, warts and all. The third topic was CNS blood pressure regulation: future directions.


We were delighted to see that there was substantial interest in the workshop and that the presentations sparked interesting and fruitful discussion on many topics. With over 100 registrants, we clearly had one of the most successful workshop days in our memory. Our choice to include 3 themes was also warmly received. We would like to take the opportunity to again thank all the speakers for their time and effort to present at the workshop and the attendees for their contributions. The feedback we have received so far was very positive and we are keen to hear more from you.


We are planning to have a similar workshop at next year’s ASM in Sydney and you may want to start thinking about interesting topics….


See you all at next year’s workshop.



STUDENT NEWS from Ann Goodchild

Student member to sit on Council

The role of this non-voting role is to provide a student perspective to the council, to liaise with the Student Liaison Officer, to seek views, and encourage participation, from student members of the council. The student member will be expected to participate in all meetings of the Executive Committee.


For those applying to please forward your CV together with a short paragraph (less than half a page) of why you are seeking the position and what you will try to achieve to hbprca@meetingsfirst.com.au. Deadline for this application will be January 30th 2009.


Should more than one application be received a decision will be made by a subcommittee of Council. If any further information is required please email ann.goodchild@vc.mq.edu.au.



SOCIETY NEWS from Bruce Neal

British Hypertension Society Annual Scientific Meeting: Report 2008

As the winner of High Blood Pressure Research Council of Australia Young Investigator award for 2008, I was given the opportunity to attend the British Hypertension Society Annual Scientific Meeting, which was held in Cambridge in September of this year. Having just recently returned, I am still buzzing with new ideas as a result of the exceptional quality of the scientific research presented during the conference. Spanning over a period of 3 days, the program was jam packed full of interesting and sometimes controversial presentations. The presentation which probably invoked the largest response from the very vocal audience was delivered by Professor Stephen MacMahon, who called into questioned the usefulness of classifying patients as Hypertensive in a talk titled “Hypertension- time to give it up?”. The student presentations were equally of a very high standard and I am looking forward to welcoming Justin Davies as the winner of the BHS Young Investigator Award to the HBPRCA meeting in Melbourne next December, hopefully he will find the exchange as interesting and thought provoking as I did.


In addition to listening to a plethora of excellent talks, I was also able to establish numerous contacts throughout the meeting, that I am sure will be of great benefit as I continue with my scientific career. So to conclude, I would like to express my sincere thanks to the HBPRCA for giving me this opportunity and I am looking forward to attending the next HBPRCA conference in December.


Many thanks

Claudia McCarthy


Franco Exchange


Audrey Koitka who was the recipient of the Franco-Australian exchange spent 3 months at the Baker Institute in Melbourne working with Mark Cooper’s group. She gave a presentation at the recent council meeting entitled “Blockade of the angiotensin II type 2 receptor decreases diabetes-associated atherosclerosis”.


AUSTIN DOYLE LECTURER: David Sinclair Publication from NATURE, Vol 456, 27 November 2008

Mice share yeast’s ageing system

A protein that regulates lifespan in yeast by protecting its genome may perform the same function in mammals, studies in mice suggest. The work addresses a lingering uncertainty about sirtuins, a family of proteins that are a focus of research in the lucrative market for anti-ageing drugs. In April, Sirtris Pharma-ceuticals, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and co-founded by David Sinclair of Harvard Medi-cal School, who is the lead author of the new work, was purchased by pharmaceuti-cal giant GlaxoSmithKline for US$720 million.Researchers already knew that a yeast sirtuin called Sir2 is a sentinel of the organism’s genome, preventing genes from being expressed at the wrong times and blocking the chro-mosomal rearrangements that sometimes occur in areas of repetitive DNA sequence. But when DNA strands break, Sir2 molecules move to repair the damage, leaving their usual positions unguarded. As cells age, the rate of DNA damage increases, forcing Sir2 proteins to leave their original posts more frequently. Some genes that were meant to be silenced are then free to be expressed, generat-ing a shift in patterns of gene expression that is characteristic of ageing.Increasing Sir2 levels slows ageing in yeast, but it has been unclear whether sirtuins would act by a similar mechanism in mammals. “People, includ-ing myself, struggled with the acceptance that a mechanism of ageing in a yeast could be relevant to a human,” says Sinclair. Now, he and his colleagues report that a mouse sirtuin called SIRT1 behaves much like its yeast counterpart (P. Oberdoerffer et al. Cell doi:10.1016/j.cell.2008.10.025; 2008). In mouse embryonic stem cells, SIRT1 also associates with regions of repetitive DNA, and silences the expression of certain genes. But when the cells are treated with hydrogen peroxide, a chemical that can cause DNA damage, SIRT1 is recruited to the site of DNA breakage, and previously silenced genes become expressed. Further-more, the team found similar changes in gene-expression patterns in brains of elderly mice. “This could be the key to understanding how sirtuins could be beneficial during ageing,” says Jan Vijg of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. Sinclair now aims to find out whether increas-ing SIRT1 expression in old mice can revert gene expression to a more youthful pattern — effect-ively reversing the effects of ageing. 

Heidi Ledford



JOBS available

RMIT, School of Medical Sciences

Lecturer Pharmacology

Continuing Level B Academic

Closing date 20/2/09


For further details, please click here.



ISH2012 Congress

We are delighted to share the October edition of the “ISH Hypertension News – An Electronic Newsletter” with you and your society.


Please click here to view a copy.


This issue includes amongst other things:

o                                   An update from the new ISH President, Tony Heagerty

o                                   Profiles of our 5 new ISH Council members

o                                   An interesting report on the fantastic hypertension meeting in Berlin with comments ”from the floor” made by John Chalmers (Sydney), Thomas Kahan (Stockholm), and Stuart Spencer (The Lancet, London).

o                                   A report on the second ISH Teaching Seminar in Douala, Cameroon, held in French


Of particular interest to Forum Members; updates from national societies of hypertension sent to us from France, Australia, Israel, Italy, Japan, and Sri Lanka


We would also like to ask you to ‘save the date’ for next ISH Biannual Scientific Meeting, which will take place from 26 - 30 September 2010 in Vancouver, Canada.


Further details of this meeting can be found by viewing the following link http://www.vancouverhypertension2010.com


For your reference we have also attached a promotional slide for the Vancouver meeting, which we would appreciate if you could distribute to your society members or include in any relevant communication material.


Kind Regards


Schula Byrne

Association Manager

International Society of Hypertension Secretariat




November 2008 Newsletter

Please click here to view


Message from the new President

I write to introduce myself as your new President and share with you our plans for the coming year.

Firstly I want to update you on the largest multidisciplinary meeting in Australia; The ASMR-initiated Australian Health and Medical Research Congress at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre held at the end of November. The week proved to be a thrilling array of national and international stars including the recent winner of the Nobel Prize for Chemistry, Roger Tsien, which set the scene for a highly stimulating and lively meeting.

Enormous homage goes to the immediate past President, Dr Mark Hulett, he was heroic in this quest to take ASMR's cause to a whole new level and he has handed the society to me in great shape.  

In respect of our short-term agenda - our immediate concern is the next 18 months (2009-10 Budget) - a critical period for the future of health and medical research and now more than ever we must campaign for sustained support of health and medical research. We have enjoyed solid economic growth and support of our sector by the Federal Government over the past decade. However the recent global economic 'softening' presents many challenges for Australia and will almost certainly produce budgetary constraints. To protect the sector from these constraints we need to ensure that the exceptional value of health and medical research is clearly articulated and fully justified by a metric-based approach to not only the public but politicians and policy makers. To this end we are preparing a pre-budget submission for budget 2009-10 and we will intensify our lobbying efforts to ministers, advisors and departmental staff early in the New Year.

Our long-term agenda is to define and develop sustainable funding strategies incorporating realistic and achievable mechanisms allowing government dependent and independent investment in health and medical research to flourish. The short and long range-funding forecast will remain the same - cyclical and unpredictable - unless we do something about it! Key investments in research and researchers can lead to economic and knowledge-based loss if funding is not sustained. In 2007 ASMR launched a long-term goal for the future of medical research in Australia. As part of this goal we have and will continue to explore other models used internationally.  One which may be appealing to Australia and possibly the Asia-Pacific region is the 'value added' European 7 Framework Programme. I have recently returned from Europe meeting with scientists and government officials instrumental in the development of the innovative policy reform programme, where R&D investment in science is committed to investment of 3% of GDP by 2010; with some countries already exceeding this level of investment thereby creating a dynamic research community which is building in momentum. In 2009 an even more concentrated effort will be undertaken to create a well researched, clearly articulated, metric-based and justified platform for long range, innovative reform of funding policy to safeguard the health of all Australians and our sectors workforce!

ASMR supports an open, transparent and consultative process on all research policy issues, notably the proposed changes to the Research Fellows Scheme for 2009. To address these concerns we will submit recommendations by open application process to the NHMRC this month and we will participate in the proposed forum in April 2009.

In the New Year I look forward to updating you on our progress and keeping you informed on our up and coming events for 2009, including activities for ASMR Medical Research Week®, the Mid Career Professional Development Program and the National Scientific Conference to be held in Hobart.

It is with great pride and honour I take the Presidency role - serving you and leading ASMR's charge to continue our core business and conquer new ground.

A final friendly reminder to those whom have not renewed their membership. Please visit http://www.asmr.org.au/membership.html to renew online or download the hardcopy version.

Click here to view the Annual Report.

With best wishes,

Dr Sarah Meachem

ASMR President



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:










Asian Pacific Society of Hypertension Congress

19 – 22 February 2009
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Click here for meeting website


1 – 3 December 2009
Luna Park Sydney

Further details coming soon!



The 2nd International Conference on Fixed Combination in the Treatment of Hypertension, Dyslipidemia and Diabetes Mellitus

10 - 12 December 2009
Valencia, Spain
Click here for meeting website