High Blood Pressure Research Council of Australia
HBPRCA Email Newsletter
Welcome to the first e-news for the year. Hopefully everyone has recovered from grant writing and can now focus on the real world. We have a bumper issue with our new executive line up taking up their new roles in our 30th anniversary year.
There are a number of new initiatives including our new look web site, a French Australian exchange initiative, our HBPRCA 30th Birthday Celebrations, an Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitoring Initiative and a Human and Animal Devices workshop to accompany the end of year meeting.
Don’t forget that ISH is in Berlin this year, with registration and accommodation booking now open. Visit the website!
Associate Professor Geoffrey A Head
PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE from Stephen Harrap
It is an Honour to be able to continue to write under the President’s by-line and it is a delight to have a new Executive of the Council to carry on the great work of the previous. The new committee comprises:
I’d like to thank all those who put themselves forward for the Executive and welcome and congratulate Ann Goodchild, Arduino Mangoni, Bruce Neal and Markus Schlaich, who have already shown their enthusiasm and potential to contribute.
MEETING NEWS from Kate Denton
The wheels are in motion for putting together this year’s annual meeting. Invitations for the keynote lecturers have been sent out and I’m pleased to announce that the 2008 RD Wright Lecturer is Professor Carlos Ferrario (MD FAHA, FASA, FACC) from Wakefield University in the USA. His research spans basic and clinical investigations, focusing on hypertensive vascular disease with a particular interest in the vascular actions of angiotensin peptides. Professor Ferrario was honoured to accept the invitation and will I’m sure be willing to visit laboratories during his stay in Australia. Anyone interested in extending an invitation to Carlos, should contact me, as we need to establish these plans early, as it is difficult to organise after travel plans have been finalised.
The Austin Doyle lecturer is an expatriate, Associate Professor David Sinclair, Harvard Medical School. David did his PhD with Prof Dawes in Sydney. His research focuses on ways to prevent and treat the major diseases of society by manipulating genes that control how fast we age. All reports suggest that David is an engaging speaker. Certainly, his work has been recognized by many prestigious awards and invitations. We are fortunate that he has been able to accept our invitation this year.
I am also particularly please to announce that our own Assoc Prof Bruce Neal has accepted the Colin Johnston lectureship. An award that he is well suited for, having risen in a very short time to be to be head of a very large cardiovascular research group at The George Institute in Sydney, where he is now a Senior Director of Vascular Research. Bruce Neal is a cardiovascular epidemiologist with particular expertise in the conduct of large-scale studies in the field of blood pressure and cardiovascular diseases, focusing on providing new evidence to influence clinical practice. Some of his major contributions to date include being study director and member of the Management Committee for the PROGRESS and ADVANCE trials, being one of the Founders of and the Director responsible for the Blood Pressure Lowering Treatment Tribalists’ Collaboration, and accepting a major role as Chairman of the Australian Division of World Action on Salt and Health (AWASH) which he has energised to a remarkable degree. Bruce has been at the forefront of moving away from basing treatment decisions purely on the level of blood pressure per se to basing them on total cardiovascular risk. This has extended the indications for treatment to include blood pressure lowering in individuals with high cardiovascular risk, but with blood pressure in the “normal range. I’m sure that he will deliver a talk of interest to all our members.
I also have plans to try (yet again!) to energise the poster sessions. I would like to engage the help of our more junior post-doc members in awarding some smaller prizes to poster presentations. This will not replace the student poster prize. However, this will give valuable experience to our younger colleagues, be an addition to their CV’s and will hopefully involve greater participation in the poster discussions.
Human and Animal Devices Workshop
This years workshop which will be held on Wednesday 3rd of December prior to the main meeting and will be focussed on devices used in both clinical and basic (animal) research. Data Sciences International are keen to continue to sponsor the animal telemetry users component of the workshop which proved to be very successful in Brisbane. We have also had considerable interest in expanding this to include human devices. The workshop will therefore be organised as a morning and afternoon sessions focussing on each area, which will allow participants to attend either or both sessions depending on their interests.
If any members would like to contribute please contact the organising committee Geoff Head, Kate Denton, Markus Schlaich and Arduino Mangoni via firstname.lastname@example.org.
HBPRCA 30TH BIRTHDAY CELEBRATIONS
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:
PRIZES at the ASM
We have updated the “prize” definitions, to make them simpler for all. Please see below. This information is also on the website.
Early Career Investigator Oral and Poster Awards
Supported by the High Blood Pressure Research Council of Australia (oral)
Supported by Clinical Science (poster)
This award is 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
Supported by the High Blood Pressure Research Council of Australia
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 an specially convened judging panel based on the quality of the data and the presentation.
be a member of the HBPRCA by September 30 in the year of application to qualify.
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 presentation and also to the best student presentation. In each case the presentation will involve the poster and a mini oral presentation. The Early career Investigator award is sponsored by Clinical Science and includes a certificate and a year's free online access to Clinical Science.
British Hypertension Society Award
Supported by the High Blood Pressure Research Council of Australia and the British Hypertension Society (BHS)
MEMBERSHIP NEWS from Doug McKitrick
March 31st is the annual subscription due date for the HBPRCA. If you have thus far overlooked paying it’s still not too late! Simply go to the HBPRCA website (www.meetingfirst.com.au) and follow the link on the left for access to the secure payment site or to download a form for return by post. If you don’t have internet access, can’t remember if you have paid, or just need a bit of help, contact the secretariat by phone, fax or post (details below).
Don’t forget to encourage your graduate students and post docs to take out membership with the Council (free for students!). The special initiatives that have been introduced are specifically intended to benefit student and early career members. And of course participating in the vibrant Annual Scientific Meeting (particularly the 2008 30th anniversary meeting) is a tremendous opportunity for you, your post-docs, students and research associates to see and discuss the broad research interests of the council and share your own.
FRANCO AUSTRALIAN EXCHANGE PROGRAM from Geoff Head and Bruce Neal
We are delighted to announce a joint initiative of the HBRPCA and our French counterparts Société Française d’Hypertension Artérielle (SFHTA) in which we will provide financial support (for airfare and accommodation) for members wishing to spend a short (1-3 month) work in a laboratory in each other’s country. Initially the exchange program will sponsor one person each way, fostering collaborative projects between French and Australian Hypertension researchers. There are no age limits or prerequisites apart from being a member of either group, gaining the agreement of the host laboratory and making an application in writing to the French Society (for the French applicants) and to the HBPRCA for the Aussies. A description of the project to be undertaken and an indication as to how the proposed exchange program will be beneficial to the success of the research initiative should be outlined.
· Application forms are available from Meetings First, email@example.com
· The deadline for applications will be the 25th of April (Anzac day). The applications will be judged by a panel of the HBPRCA executive and notification expected to be made within 2 weeks of the application.
· The degree of support is anticipated to be AUD$2500 toward the airfare and 800-1000 euros per month towards the cost of accommodation.
· The winner will be required to write a feature article (in English) with photos for the e-news!!
AMBULATORY BLOOD PRESSURE MONITORING (ABPM) WORKING GROUP INITIATIVE 2008
At present ABPM can be used to diagnose hypertension, but cannot be used to manage hypertension because there are no ABPM equivalents for target BP. While the PAMELA (1) 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 BP’s such as 125/75, nor is it necessarily relevant to the Australian population. It is therefore important to derive a robust algorithm, which can provide relevant ABPM target blood pressures.
This HBPRCA clinical research collaborative initiative is to establish ABPM target blood pressures relevant to the Australian population. A number of Council members have expressed interest in participating in the Working Group and we would like to hear from more members who have experience in ambulatory recording and would like to contribute their data so that we can collect clinic blood pressure and ambulatory recordings throughout Australia in order to provide sufficient data to derive the Clinic- ABPM relationship which will also be able to account for ethnicity, sex or age. We are currently preparing the project outline and scope for agreement and welcome suggestions.
To indicate the feasibility of this process, we have performed an initial pilot analysis of data collected at the Alfred-Baker Heart centre. Figure below left shows the correlation between 24 hour and Clinic Systolic Blood Pressure, which has regression coefficients very close to the PAMELA study. The table (below right) indicates the equivalent ABPM values for the clinic values of 140/90 based on the regressions. Interestingly, the PAMELA study and our pilot data show for at least 24 hour measurements, almost identical results.
We are working to have this completed by the end of the year so we would expect data collection to be complete by June this year. In order to promote further participation, some details of the data to be collected is set out below.
The data will need to be de-identified and its inclusion in the analysis will need the respective Institution Ethics Committee approval for transfer. The data will include the following:
We now need to know those council members that would like to participate in this project. Now is the time to get on board! Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org by COB Friday 4 April 2008.
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.
CALL FOR SPECIAL ARTICLES for Hypertension
Professor John hall has written to members of the Council who are editors of Hypertension and asked for suggestions for invitations to write articles on specific topics and for potential authors who should be invited to write Brief Reviews, Hypertension Highlights, and other features that would be of exceptional interest to the readers of Hypertension. These features are described on the web site for Hypertension at: http://hyper.ahajournals.org/
If you are interested in contributing, please contact Stephen Harrap email@example.com or other Hypertension board members who are members of the Council.
DR RALPH READER from Paul Korner
Dr Ralph Reader (Fig 1 nearby, see legend), who was the first Director of the National Heart Foundation of Australia, died in Canberra on the 13 January 2008 at the age of 89 years. He held this position from 1961-1980 and became the undisputed national voice on all matters pertaining to heart and vascular disease. The education, rehabilitation and research programs that he developed with the Foundation helped reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and its complications. These programs also facilitated the training of many of the current researchers in HBPRCA and contributed to the high international standing of Australian hypertension research.
The Foundation provided local and overseas research fellowships and grants-in-aid for clinical and basic cardiovascular research. Each year Ralph Reader visited every applicant and spent a great deal of time to try to understand what each application was about and what new scientific question was being addressed. These searching interviews could be quite trying for each applicant, but allowed Ralph to become their champion when their grants were being considered by the National Medical and Scientific Advisory Committee.
Ralph saw to it that Australia's scientific wares were well displayed internationally. The National Heart Foundation organised a number of international scientific conferences in Canberra, which were published as supplements to Circulation Research. They included the 1967 symposium on Catecholamines in Cardiovascular Physiology and Disease of some 25 papers, and the 1970 symposium on Hypertensive Mechanisms of some 28 papers 1,2. These were held in the Shine Dome of the Australian Academy of Science and were a great success. Because of Ralph Reader and Austin Doyle's efforts the National Heart Foundation hosted the 15th Scientific Meeting of the International Society of Hypertension in the Sydney Opera House. In these ways Ralph educated all of us not to be over-diffident in exhibiting in the international scientific market place.
Ralph was born in Brisbane in 1918, but the family moved to Sydney while he was still very young. He completed his schooling at Fort Street High School and then studied Medicine at the University of Sydney, graduating in 1940 in the first year of World War 2. Then came two years as a resident at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, during which he found time to marry Hazel Scanlon, a talented singer. From 1942-1946 Ralph served as a doctor in the Royal Australian Navy. After demobilisation he worked for two years in the University's Department of Medicine on the pathogenesis of acute glomerulonephritis. Then followed a further 3 years of research at Oxford as a Nuffield Research Fellow, where he obtained a D.Phil degree. He returned to Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and helped establish its new Nephrology Department. As was the custom of those days, his public hospital work was truly "honorary" (i.e. unpaid) and he earned a modest living in half-time private medical practice downtown.
At the time of Ralph's appointment cardiovascular disease ranked Number One in the causes of death list in Australia, the USA and most other first world countries. The death rate from these disorders had been rising steadily through the greater part of the 20th century and people spoke of an epidemic of heart disease. The Foundation kept a careful eye on any changes in national mortality trends and Ralph was the first to note that cardiovascular mortality had begun to decline from 1968 onwards. By 1988 the cardiovascular death rate had fallen by ~50% of the 1968 value, though it was still the number one cause of death. It took several years before the decline was confirmed in the USA. Ralph wondered whether a possible cause for this was the treatment of a greater number of persons afflicted with hypertension, with the newly introduced anti-hypertensive drugs, e.g. b-blockers, diuretics and centrally acting drugs such as a-methyl dopa. All of these were more readily tolerated, with fewer side-effects, so that they could be given to persons with mild hypertension. In contrast, the earlier generation of anti-hypertensive drugs, the ganglion blockers, had such severe side effects that they were only given to persons with very severe hypertension, in whom they were often life-saving.
These thoughts led to The Australian Therapeutic Trial for Mild Hypertension (now often referred to as the First Australian Blood Pressure Study). Planning for this began about 10 years after Ralph Reader's appointment. It is perhaps less well known that there was much discussion within the Foundation and the wider medical research community whether it was justified to proceed with a study likely to cost $A 1 million (which now seems ridiculously modest), instead of using the money to fund research fellowships and grants-in-aid. Ralph could be very persuasive when he set his mind to it, and managed to convince the Foundation's Board and its National Medical and Scientific Advisory Committee that a well conducted study, the first in the world addressing this question, would enhance Australia's international standing, which would ultimately benefit the national effort in basic and clinical cardiovascular research. A lot of individuals contributed to the success of the study, but it would never have got off the ground, but for Ralph's persuasive and patient advocacy.
The trial began in 1973 and the data collection was completed in 1978, with the main paper summarising the findings published in the Lancet in 1980 3. The results showed unequivocally that the number of fatal and non-fatal morbid events was reduced in patients with mild and moderate hypertension whose blood pressure had been reduced by anti-hypertensive drugs in comparison to those receiving placebo (Fig nearby, see legend). The study was an Australian landmark for forging close links between public health and laboratory-based research. It is interesting that 1978, the year in which the data collection was completed, also marked the year in which HBPRCA held its first meeting in Melbourne, gradually replacing the Heart Foundation as the national voice on hypertension research.
The First National Blood Pressure study was both the high point and the swansong of Ralph Reader's work with the National Heart Foundation. He retired at the relatively young age of 62 years, but continued to maintain an association with the National Heart Foundation as a member-at-large, where he was often called to give opinions on various programs.
Ralph also had many other interests. During his spare time as director he was a farmer, living on a large property at Tuggeranong on the outskirts of Canberra, where he kept beef cattle and fine wool Merino sheep. All members of the National Medical and Scientific Advisory Committee always looked forward to an evening at the Readers' property. He and Hazel helped in the establishment of the Canberra School of Music, and Ralph became president of the ACT division of the Arts Council. Later, they spent a few years in Mossy Point on the South Coast of New South Wales, where Ralph indulged his hobbies of sailing and fishing. Hazel died in 1994, after which Ralph returned to Canberra.
In recognition of his substantial services, Ralph was made a Companion of the Order of St. Michael and St.George in 1976, and was awarded an Honorary MD degree by the University of Sydney in 2006. When he retired as Director of the National Heart Foundation,the Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand, named their Young Investigator Prize after him and there are now two Ralph Reader Prizes at each annual scientific meeting, one for clinical and one for basic science. He was a most remarkable and imaginative medical administrator, who championed young investigators, and it is very appropriate that he be remembered in this way.
Perhaps the last word should be left to Dr.Gaston Bauer in his account of the history of cardiology in Australia 4: Since 1961 research, education and rehabilitation has been greatly assisted by the National Heart Foundation of Australia. The impact of the Foundation under the wise guidance of. Dr Ralph Reader has been felt in every cardiac department and unit throughout the Commonwealth.
1 Reader R., Guest Editor, Catecholamines In Cardiovascular Physiology And Disease, Circ Res, vol.21, Supplement III, 1967.
2 Reader R, Guest Editor, Hypertensive Mechanisms, Circ Res, vol 27, Supplement II, 1967.
3 Reader et al., The Australian therapeutic trial in mild hypertension: Report by the management committee. Lancet i, 1261-1267, 1980.
4 Bauer, G.E., Four Chapters In the History of Australian Cardiology. In Cardiology in Australia and New Zealand, edited by Hickie, JB and Hickie, K.P., Sydney, The Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand, 1990.
Figure 1. Ralph Reader at about 1960.
Figure 2. Results from the First Australian Blood Pressure Study, showing the effect of active treatment with anti-hypertensive drugs and placebo on cumulative total trial end-points (All TEP) and fatal trial end-points (Fatal TEP). From reference 3.
Cardiovascular and Lipid Research Grants
Grants of up to $55,000 (incl. GST) to be awarded for 2009
The Pfizer Australia Cardiovascular and Lipid Research Grants program is looking for medical graduates who have entered the field of research (or have returned to research after an appropriate break) within the last 5 years. Applicants must be Australian citizens or permanent residents and the majority of research must be conducted within Australia.
Research funding is awarded for clinical research across the fields of (but not necessarily confined to):
- Cardiovascular Disease
- Lipid Disorders
Applications close May 23, 2008.
For more information or to obtain an application form visit: www.cvlgrants.com.au
Pfizer Australia Neuroscience Research Grants
Grants of up to $44,000 (incl. GST) to be awarded for 2009
The Pfizer Australia Neuroscience Research Grants program invites applications from medical graduates who have obtained specialist qualifications within the last 5 years, are currently in advanced training, or have returned to research after an appropriate break. Applicants must be Australian citizens or permanent residents and the majority of the research must be conducted within Australia.
Research funding is awarded for basic and clinical research across the broad field of neuroscience including:
- Pain Medicine
Applications close May 1, 2008.
For more information or to obtain an application form visit: www.nsrgrants.com.au
Pfizer Australia Pty. Ltd. ABN: 50 008 422 348, 38-42 Wharf Road, West Ryde, NSW, 2114
AUSTRALIAN SOCIETY FOR MEDICAL RESEARCH News
ASMR Research Awards
ASMR offers two Research Awards annually. These awards support a postgraduate student member of the ASMR nearing completion of their studies or a recently graduated postdoctoral member to undertake a short period of research in a laboratory outside of Australia ($5,000) or in a distal laboratory ($2,000) within Australia. The award specifically excludes support for conference attendance and travel for an extended period of postdoctoral studies. Applicants for these awards must have been members of the ASMR for at least 12 months immediately preceding the year in which the Award application is to be considered. The application form is attached or available for download at http://www.asmr.org.au/Researchfund.html
As you will be aware, the 2020 Summit is scheduled to take place at Parliament House in Canberra, April 19 - 20, 2008. ASMR is formulating a submission to the Summit and a number of individuals from the HMR community are nominating for the opportunity to attend as delegates. Information about the Summit is available from http://www.australia2020.gov.au/about/index.cfm
Australian Health and Medical Research Congress
Planning is well underway for the 4th Australian Health and Medical Research Congress to be held at the Brisbane Convention Centre, November 16-21. With 34 organisations participating, the multi-disciplinary, bi-annual Congress is going from strength to strength. Be sure to diarize this important event. Further information is available at http://www.ahmrcongress.org.au/
AMGEN MEDICAL RESEARCHER Award
An annual feature of ASMR Medical Research Week(R) is Amgen's continuing support of Australian medical research through sponsorship of the Amgen Medical Researcher Award - the 9th time for national selection. The award recognizes early career researchers with demonstrated independence, excellence, innovation and achievements in medical research, with evidence of translation from bench to potential for application, and with particular emphasis on research of the last 2 years. The winner will receive a plaque and up to $6,000 for travel / accommodation / registration expenses at an international meeting of their choice.
Criteria for selection:
· Evidence of research excellence - publications, patents, clinical trial involvement;
· Ten years maximum since qualifying for a PhD or equivalent degree (with possible concession for career break interruptions);
· Preparedness to communicate research achievements with the public and media;
· Recognition by peers of his / her interest & achievements in translational research;
· Have spent the last two years working in an Australian medical research institute or department.
The application form is available at: http://www.asmr.org.au/Awards.html
Applications from researchers who consider that they fit these criteria should be lodged, as per the form, by Thursday April 24th 2008. The award will be made at a media luncheon in Melbourne. (The presentation venue alternates with Sydney.)
Athina Patti at
t 61 3 9739 7697
f 61 3 9739 7076
HBPRCA would like to acknowledge the support of the following companies:
CEPP Journal is provided to full members by Servier
MEETINGS IN 2008
14 – 19 June 2008
Click here for meeting website
20 - 22 June 2008
Prague, Czech Republic
3 – 5 September 2008
Click here for meeting website
17 – 20 September 2008
Click here for meeting website
Click here for meeting website