July, 2005


This month we announce the Foundation for High Blood  Pressure lecturer who will present one of the keynote lecturer at the Annual Scientific meeting in December (see Jaye’s section). Our intrepid program secretary has been in the thick of things while on sabbatical in Britain (see meeting news).  We also have this month’s feature article from the Pharmacology Department at Monash University which was skilfully compiled by Rob Widdop. We have updated our list of future meetings of interest to members, particularly those coming up in 2006 (see below). This years Queen’s Birthday Honours list included two notable persons. Congratulations indeed to our Clinical Liaison executive  member Professor Lindon Wing who has received the OAM (general Division) for service to medicine, particularly in the areas of clinical pharmacology and hypertension. We would also like to congratulate Emeritus Professor Saxon WHITE, who received an AM in the General Division for service to medicine and to medical education, particularly through the planning and development of innovative curriculum, as a researcher in the field of human physiology, and to the Hunter Valley community. Our heartiest congratulations  to corporate liaison executive member Louise Burrel for her recent promotion to Professor of Medicine! On a rather sadder note we note the passing of Patricia Dorward well known to many and long time member of the society in the 1980’s (see below).




PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE from Stephen Harrap


Doug McKitrick has being doing a terrific job drumming up membership for the Council. I'd like to add my support by asking all of you to look around for colleagues and students who are working the blood pressure and cardiovascular fields and encourage them to join. We'd like to see the Council grow in strength and a healthy membership list is crucial to that goal.

I mentioned last time that there would be more news regarding the generosity of the Foundation for High Blood Pressure Research who are not only supporting a new lecture, but will also will be sponsoring a prize for New Investigators. More details will follow.

In the meantime, the British Hypertension Society has responded encouragingly to our plan for a reciprocal visit by our top student presenters at our respective meetings.

All of these new initiatives are designed to support and develop the careers of our up and coming students and early postdoctoral researchers - and they are excellent reasons to join the Council!

I should like to particularly congratulate Geoff Head for establishing the Feature Articles section in eNews. These are fantastic opportunities to learn more about the fascinating members of the Council and their work. Thanks to Sydney, WA and Victoria, so far. We shall collate these so that we can paint the picture of the Council in greater detail on our website (that we are redeveloping).


Finally, the Annual Scientific Meeting approacheth. Expect your invitation and call for abstracts soon!





MEETING NEWS from Jaye Chin Dusting


Dear all,


 I am writing this from sunny Edinburgh where I am seconded for the next 3 months on study leave with David Webb at the New Royal Infirmary.  En route to Edinburgh I had two days in London the first of which coincided with the "first" of the London bombings.  With a son in each hand, I had just turned into Travistock Sq (where the bus exploded), to come face to face with the disaster.  We worked out later that we must have arrived about 1 min after the bomb went off.  At that point in time, no one knew what was happening - we saw the bus - except it bore no resemblance to the much loved London double-decker.  We were rapidly ushered away from the area when the crowd (loads of people - as buses were all off-loading their passengers mid-road) broke into a mild panic when some female screamed (she had her mobile phone) - 'omigod, they are targeting Russell Sq' - (which of course was exactly where we were).  People started running full pelt away from the area. We kept very calm but indeed too moved rapidly towards Covent Garden.  I managed to catch what must have been the last free cab in central London (I think the driver, bless his soul, felt sorry for the kids) and holed up in a friend's home for the rest of the day.  By this time people (officials and otherwise) were yelling for everyone to get off the streets.  Fun it was not; but memorable for my boys, who don't seem to have been too traumatised by the events.




While in Edinburgh, the wheels continue to grind with our plans for the Annual Scientific Meeting.  This month, we are delighted to announce that the  Foundation for High Blood Pressure Research lecturer for our annual scientific meeting will be A/Prof Shaun Jackson (see photo at left hand side of page).  He is currently a NH&MRC Research Fellow at the Australian Centre for Blood Diseases and was the Co-founder, Board Member and Principle Scientist for Thrombogenix Pty Ltd. He is the President-Elect for the Australian Vascular Biology Society and has been elected to the council of the Australian Society for Thrombosis and Haemostasis. Dr Jackson is also a member of the Victorian State Government¹s Strategic Health Research Investment Committee.


Last month we are announced that the 2005 Annual Scientific Meeting will be held at the Bio21 Institute from the 7th to 9th of December, the latest University of Melbourne show-case building at the Parkville Precinct.  The venue is well serviced by public transport, has a state-of-the-art 200 seat lecture theatre, an atrium which is ideal for Posters and Trade Displays and a lovely court-yard for catching up with colleagues and friends. That's all

from me for now, tune in next month to hear a review of the Edinburgh International Festival. 


Cheers – Jaye

  Click here for information about other scientific meetings of interest.






Don’t forget to also come to the Beilin Symposium which will be held on December 6 and 7th this year.  The program for the Beilin Symposium has just been finalised and all members of the HBPRCA will be emailed the invitation brochure with an early-bird registration opportunity shortly. Keep an eye on your emails!  Also for further information please click here





MEMBERSHIP NEWS from Doug McKitrick


Just a little more friendly coercion to remind supervisors that your graduate students can enjoy free membership in the HBPRCA. It might be the first important scientific society membership for a research student just starting out or an important additional contact group for someone who has been around for a little while. For either group demonstrated membership in relevant scientific societies factors into outside assessments for positions, awards and funding. Similarly membership for post-docs or even senior laboratory staff might provide a benefit well beyond the direct social and scientific benefits of HBPRCA membership. If you’re not sure if someone you know qualifies for membership feel free to contact us for advice.


As we are starting to strengthen our clinical ties, perhaps too its time to start thinking about who of your clinical colleagues might be interested in membership with Australia’s premier society for hypertension-related research and information. More information on clinical membership will follow in the coming months.


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.





Hypertension Research at Monash Pharmacology in 2005


This months Hypertension feature article focuses on hypertension-related research carried out within the Department of Pharmacology at Monash University that is performed by four main groups.  In addition to the cardiovascular research, as featured in this article, the department performs research on a number of fronts including G-protein coupled receptors and relaxin (Professor Roger Summers), confocal microscopy and placental function (Associate Professor Roger King), Australasian venom research (Associate Professor Wayne Hodgson), neuropharmacology and neurodegeneration (Dr Richard Loiacono) and methods of pharmacological teaching (Dr Elizabeth Davis).


 In 2005, Professor Harald Schmidt was appointed Head of Pharmacology, which complemented existing research within the department.  Professor Schmidt was previously Head of the Department of Pharmacology at the Justus-Liebig-University in Giessen, Germany, and his research interests are nitric oxide, cyclic GMP and reactive oxygen species in vascular biology and disease. Professor Schmidt brings a molecular and biochemical focus and an ideal fit to the classical pharmacological approaches that are already well-established at Monash for studying in vitro and in vivo cardiovascular function. He will be joined by several German fellows moving with him from Gießen, Frankfurt and Magdeburg. As a former co-head of a Vascular Centre of Excellence at his home university and a Max-Planck-Institute, he is working on setting up several European-Australian research links, including postgraduate research training programs and program grants.


This newly formed international team of vascular pharmacologists at Monash aims at establishing a Centre for Vascular Biology and Medicine in Melbourne, with a distinct focus on vascular disease mechanisms, early diagnostics and innovative mechanism-based therapeutic approaches. Such research endeavours will be headed by the Department of Pharmacology at Monash and its international and Industry links and shall include other high-profile cardiovascular groups within Monash University (notably groups within the Department of Physiology, Biochemistry and Clinical Departments) as well as Greater Melbourne researchers from other workplaces with a similar research focus. Intense collaborations of this Centre with Australian groups and related Centres is also encouraged in order to help making Australian high blood pressure research in general a big player in the world-wide scene.

As a first initiative, the Departments of Pharmacology and Physiology will be hosting a meeting entitled

‘Frontiers in Vascular Medicine’ which will bring together a range of outstanding international and national

speakers on August 26-28, 2005. For more details or to register for this event.  Please see the following

                                                                                                                website: http://www.conferences.monash.org/fvm


Free Radical signalling Laboratory

Professor Schmidt heads this laboratory which consists of 4 post doctoral fellows who will be arriving at the end of 2005, and he is expecting to develop an active postgraduate student base as well as international exchange programs and bi-national and international program grants. Projects include genetic models of vascular signalling enzymes, subcellular protein-protein interaction and protein trafficking, target validation in vascular oxidative stress, modulators of cGMP and early diagnostics. In all these projects, tight links with clinical scientists are essential in order to validate findings in a medical relevant setting.


Vascular Pharmacology Laboratory

Dr Barbara Kemp-Harper and Dr Joanne Favaloro head this laboratory. Dr Kemp-Harper’s research focuses on the control of vascular tone by the nitric oxide/soluble guanylate cyclase (NO/sGC) signalling pathway under physiological and pathophysiological conditions. She is particularly interested in the function of resistance vessels and oxidative modification of sGC under disease conditions such as hypertension.  Recent studies in the laboratory have examined the role of different redox species of NO in the modulation of vascular smooth muscle function.  Together with Dr Joanne Favaloro, she identified for the first time an ability of the nitroxyl anion (NO-) to modulate vascular tone via mechanisms distinct to those of the uncharged form of NO (NO.).  Dr Joanne Favaloro combines her expertise in small vessel myography and electrophysiological techniques to explore the ability of NO to regulate vascular function via sGC-independent pathways such as the activation of K+ channels.

The laboratory currently comprises a PhD student, Ms Jennifer Irvine, and several Honours students who are investigating the role of endogenously and exogenously generated NO- in the control of vascular function both in vitro and in vivo. 

The laboratory has collaborative links with Professor Chris Triggle, Dr Karen Andrews and Mr Mike Hashem at RMIT University, studying the endogenous production of distinct redox forms of NO in the resistance vasculature and alterations in vascular function in diabetes.


Vascular Oxidant Mechanisms Laboratory

Dr Grant Drummond heads this laboratory that consists of a postdoctoral fellow, Dr Courtney Judkins, and several Honours students.  Dr Drummond is a newly-appointed Monash University Fellow who has NHMRC funding with both Dr Chris Sobey in the Department of Pharmacology, University of Melbourne, and Associate Professor Greg Dusting at the Bernard O’Brien Institute of Microsurgery, as well as commercial funding via his role as Senior Scientist and stake holder in the start-up company, Radical Biotechnology  Dr Drummond’s research is focussed on identifying the major sources of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in the vasculature, not only during disease states (e.g. hypertension, atherosclerosis) where excessive production of these molecules leads to oxidative stress, but also during normal physiology, when tightly controlled production and removal of ROS allows them to be utilised as important signalling molecules.  To this end, Dr Drummond’s team has recently identified a family of enzymes called NADPH oxidases (Nox) as major contributors to vascular oxyradical production.  The team is now attempting to determine which isoforms of Nox (Nox1, Nox2 or Nox4) are most important for physiological (i.e. beneficial) ROS production, and which are responsible for the excessive ROS production that occurs in pathophysiological settings.  The ultimate goal of these studies is to identify a drug target for therapeutics aimed at preventing oxidative stress and the ensuing vascular remodelling and inflammation associated with diseases like hypertension, diabetes and atherosclerosis.


Integrative Cardiovascular Pharmacology Laboratory

Associate Professor Robert Widdop heads this NHMRC-funded laboratory that consists of two postdoctoral fellows (Gaspari & Jones), a research assistant, Iresha Weungoda, and several PhD and Honours students. Associate Professor Widdop’s research is focused on the functional roles of angiotensin (Ang) receptor subtypes in normal and pathophysiological settings such as hypertension, atherosclerosis, stroke and aging.  In particular, the potential role of the AT2 receptor subtype as a novel target in its own right is being studied, as well as its complementary role in the actions of ‘sartan’ compounds.  As part of this research, the physiological effects of a number of Ang peptide fragments, including Ang-(1-7), Ang III and Ang IV, are also being examined as they appear to contribute to some of the counter-regulatory mechanisms that oppose the effects of the classical effector peptide, Ang II.  A variety of in vivo (regional haemodynamics, telemetry in rats and mice), in vitro (vascular reactivity) and ex vivo (hypertrophy, fibrosis, histology) techniques are used.

 Dr Tracey Gaspari has been studying the role of the renin angiotensin system (RAS) in the development and progression of atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is a multifactorial disease in which one of the earliest symptoms to become apparent is that of endothelial dysfunction.  Ang II has a number of pro-atherogenic actions. Clinically AT1 receptor antagonists and ACE inhibitors have been found to significantly lower total mortality and incidence of stroke in patients with high risk for cardiovascular disease.  Importantly, the ‘mix’ of Ang peptides may change substantially during chronic RAS inhibition, therefore the focus of this research is to delineate the roles the various angiotensin peptide fragments and receptors. Currently, a PhD student, Antony (Bill) Vinh, is investigating the role of Ang IV in the prevention of endothelial dysfunction and on the development of atherosclerotic lesions in the apolipoprotein E-deficient mouse model of atherosclerosis.  With Dr Anthony Dear at AMREP, we are also examining novel treatments for abdominal aortic aneurysms in the Ang II-infused apolipoprotein E-deficient mouse model.

Dr Emma Jones has been studying the role of the AT2 receptor during chronic AT1 receptor blockade in aged rats.  It is hypothesised that stimulation of unblocked AT2 receptors by raised levels of endogenous Ang II, during AT1 receptor blockade, may contribute to some of the beneficial effects of sartans.  Indeed, this appears to be the case in aged normotensive rats since the AT2 receptor antagonist PD123319 could reverse the beneficial remodelling (anti-hypertrophic and antifibrotic effects in heart and vasculature) effects of sartans.  Future studies will be performed on anaged hypertensive cohort.  In addition, a PhD student, Claudia McCarthy, is examining analogous functional interactions between AT1 and AT2 receptors in an experimental model of stroke, in collaboration with Dr Jenny Callaway at the Howard Florey Institute. Associate Professor Widdop has a number of overseas and local collaborations, including role of AT2 receptors in the renal medullary circulation (NHF-funded, Dr Roger Evans et al, Dept Physiology Monash University) and human arteries obtained at coronary artery bypass grafting (NHF-funded, Associate Professor David Hare, Dr Anthony Zulli et al, Austin Repat Hospitals).



A Tribute to Pat Dorward

by Sandra Burke


It is with great sadness that we report the death of Pat Dorward, on 21st June after an 18 month battle with cancer. In a moving service in Melbourne, she was farewelled by family and friends, among them a number of colleagues from her days at Monash University and the Baker Heart Research Institute.

Pat was born in Poona, India in 1940 where her father, a medical officer in the British Army, was stationed. She spent her formative years in India and Singapore but there were periods when she and her sister attended boarding school in Australia. As well as excelling academically, in her younger years Pat was an accomplished ballet dancer, champion swimmer and keen sailor. She graduated from Cambridge University and later returned to Australia to undertake a PhD with Archie McIntyre at the new Monash University, her thesis on the electrophysiology of vibration sensors in the feet of birds. There she met and married Doug Dorward, an ornithologist, and they brought up their two daughters, Fiona and Emma, on a lovely property by the Yarra at Warrandyte.

In 1976, Pat took up a position with Paul Korner at the Baker Institute to set up a neurophysiology laboratory where she remained for 13 years. With her experience in electrophysiology, Pat initially worked on renal sympathetic nerves in anaesthetised rabbits. However, lack of stability of the recording system, electrical noise and the effects of anaesthesia set her on the path to developing an electrode which could be implanted chronically and used in conscious animals. This was a difficult problem which had been abandoned by many before her, but Pat had an adventurous streak and was not afraid to tackle a new challenge. Over several years, she worked at designing and refining the chronic recording electrode which many laboratories around the world now use routinely. She applied the new electrode to a number of landmark studies characterizing the renal sympathetic baroreflex, as well as important work on resetting of baroreceptors, haemorrhage and angiotensin. Her 1985 paper on “The renal sympathetic baroreflex in the rabbit” published in Circulation Research has been cited 189 times. Her 1982 paper “Rapid resetting of the aortic baroreceptors in the rabbit also published in  Circulation Research has been cited 149 times to date. During this time Pat was an active member of the High Blood Pressure Research Council of Australia. Pat collaborated with many overseas visitors - Masami Iriki from Japan, Walter Riedel from Germany, Len Bell and Mike Andresen from the US (during Mike’s visit in 1980, he and Pat helped established the first data recording computer at the Baker), Marta Weinstock (Israel), and Wilfrid Jänig in an important study on renal single neurons. Pat left the Baker in 1991 and continued to pursue her interests in physiology first at Monash University and also at the Royal Melbourne Hospital with Professor John Ludbrook. In 1994 she changed direction and began 3 years of study in Financial Planning, working in that area until recently.

Those of us who worked closely with her remember her as being warm, open and full of energy. She was also a dedicated and disciplined scientist who was respected by her peers and friends and will be greatly missed.   




Clinical & Experimental Pharmacology and Physiology (CEPP) is Free to HBPRCA members

CEPP aims to make a substantial contribution to effective and productive communication between scientists throughout the world who are working in these interrelated disciplines. The journal provides a medium for the rapid publication of original research papers, short communications, rapid communications and theoretical articles (hypotheses) on the results of clinical and experimental work in pharmacology and physiology. Invited review articles are published occasionally.


To access the journal online visit http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/ and log in or register if you are a new user. Once you are logged in follow the three simple steps below:

       Click on the blue ‘My Synergy’ tab and the top of the screen and then click the blue ‘Access’ tab in the middle of the screen.

1.       Enter CEPHBPTRIAL2005 in the ‘Access Token’ box exactly as it appears here. You will only need to enter this code the first time you use Blackwell Synergy

2.       Now click ‘Continue’


You will have access to all content in CEPP every time you log in until 31st of December 2005.


Manuscripts can be submitted to CEPP via http://cepp.manuscriptcentral.com/






Monash University are still running workshops in microscopy techniques.   If you are interested in attending, find out more by contacting the organisers or downloading a copy of the brochure.






Call for Abstracts : Hormones Fertility and Cancer, ASMR National Scientific Conference.


The Australian Society for Medical Research is delighted to announce that the 44th National Scientific Conference will be held at the beautiful location of Couran Cove in Queensland from November 20th to 23rd 2005. This will be a focussed meeting on "Hormones, Fertility and Cancer".


We have an exciting line up of international and national speakers discussing topics such as

       Hormone Action, Disease and Infertility

       Molecular Regulation of Development

       Transcriptome Regulation and its Consequences

       Cell Signaling in health and disease


Abstract deadline is the 19th of August. Additional information on abstract submission, program and registrations is available at http://www.asmr-nsc.org.au/


Please click here for a copy of the conference brochure




Please click here to view the july edition of their newsletter.







ASMR needs your help during 2005, to ensure that medical research in our country remains competitive and translates to better health and economic outcomes for all Australians. You need to act now:

¨       Visit your local member twice in 2005.  Once before June and again before October.

¨       Before September, write to: your local member; the Health Minister; the Treasurer; the Prime Minister


Points of focus: (use examples from your field) Medical research is vital to Australia’s future, it,

®    underpins the health of all Australians

®    delivers exceptional returns on investment

®    creates knowledge-based jobs


Please click here to view information on the ASMR Campaign to increase Health and Medical Research Funding.





With best wishes,


A/Professor Geoffrey A. Head

HBPRCA Secretary






HBPRCA Secretariat

Meetings First

t           61 3 9739 7697

f           61 3 9739 7076

e          hbprca@meetingsfirst.com.au





International Society on Thrombosis & Haemostasis

Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre, Sydney, AUSTRALIA

Saturday, August 6 – Friday, August 12, 2005

Click here for meeting website

Click here for society website


Frontiers in Vascular Medicine

August 26-28th 2005

Monash University, South 1 Lecture Theatre

Click here for the meeting website

European Society of Cardiology

Annual Scientific Meeting

Stockholmsmässan, Stockholm, SWEDEN

Saturday, September 3 – Wednesday, September 7, 2005

Click here for the meeting website

Click here for the society website


Canadian Cardiovascular Society

Annual Scientific Meeting

Quebec, CANADA

Saturday, October 22 – Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Click here for meeting website

Click here for society website

American Heart Association

59th Annual Fall Conference and Scientific Sessions of the Council for High Blood Pressure Research in association with the Council on the Kidney in Cardiovascular Disease
Omni Shoreham Hotel - Washington, DC
Sep 21-24, 2005

Click here for the meeting website

Click here for the society website


American Heart Association

Scientific sessions
Dallas Convention Center - Dallas, TX
Nov 13-16, 2005

Click here for the meeting website

Click here for the society website


High Blood Pressure Research Council

27th Annual Scientific Meeting

Wednesday 7th December 2005 for the Clinical Workshop starting at 4:30 pm.

Thursday-Friday 8-9th December for the Main Scientific meeting

Bio21, 30 Flemington Road, Carlton Victoria 3053 Australia.

Click here for Meeting website and Society Web Page


ASMR National Scientific Conference

On Hormones, Fertility and Cancer

Couran Cove, Queensland

November 20-23 2005


Click here to view the Conference notice

Click here for society website

The Beilin Symposium

December 6-7, 2005

Alan Gilbert Building

University of Melbourne, Melbourne

Click here for Meeting website

Click here for the flyer

Asian Pacific Society of Nuclear Cardiology
Annual Scientific Meeting

Annual scientific meeting

Mumbai, INDIA

Thursday, December 1 – Sunday, December 4, 2005

Click here for meeting website

Click here for Asian Pacific Society of Nuclear Cardiology website





International Conference on Healthy Ageing and Longevity

3rd Annual Meeting

Friday, April 28 – Sunday, April 30, 2006

Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre – Melbourne, AUSTRALIA

Click here for meeting website


International Society of Hypertension

21st Scientific Meeting

Saturday, October 15 – Wednesday, October 19, 2006

Fukuoka International Congress Centre – Fukuoka, JAPAN

Click here for meeting website

Click here for International Society of hypertension web page

American Heart Association

Obesity, Lifestyle, and Cardiovascular Disease Symposium.

Grand Hyatt Washington - Washington, DC

Jan 18-20, 2006

Click here for the meeting website

Click here for the society website

American Stroke Association
A Division of American Heart Association

International Stroke Conference, Gaylord Palms, Kissimmee, Florida

February 16-18 2006

Click here for the meeting website

Click here for the society website


American Society of Hypertension

Annual meeting

New York City, Hilton Hotel
May 17-20, 2006

Click here for the meeting website

Click here for the society website

European Society of Cardiology

Heart Failure 2006

17 June 2006 - 20 June 2006
Helsinki, Finland
Click here for the meeting website
Click here for the society website


World Congress of Cardiology 2006  
2-6 September 2006 “Bringing together the European Society of Cardiology Congress 2006 and the World Heart Federation's XVth World Congress of Cardiology.”
Barcelona, Spain 
Click here for the meeting website
Click here for the society website