High Blood Pressure Research Council of Australia

E-News – November 2011

Greetings from Rob Widdop and the HBPRCA Executive


Greetings from the e-news desk. We have another great bulletin full of information for the HBPRCA community leading up to our annual scientific meeting which links in with 2 other societies. In this edition, we welcome and feature several more student and full members who have recently joined the Council. In this issue, our ‘Soundbite’ piece features another prominent Council member, Stephen Harrap, who just happens to be the current ISH President. He has some personal reflections on his association with ISH over many years. For the new members who do not know what ‘ISH’ stands for, well read on MacDuff…..Last call: please renew your membership if you haven’t done so already, via the online form. Rob Widdop, HBPRCA Secretary

In This Issue

President’s Message
2011 Annual Scientific Meeting News/ISH 2012
Membership Update
Membership Initiatives
Society Liaison News
Upcoming Meetings
President’s Message – Jaye Chin-Dusting

Chin-DustingJaye You will hopefully by now have seen a copy of our Annual Scientific Meeting Program which promises yet another exciting and stimulating few days. Jim and Anne have done a marvellous job of mixing and matching the presentations a little more than usual in anticipation of drawing an audience of varied disciplines and expertise throughout the entire meeting. We look forward to your feedback as to how this works for you, both as a presenter and as a member of the audience. The ASM dinner will be held in conjunction with ASCEPT and AUPs and promises a good time for all. Do make yourselves known to our guest lecturers Peter Rothwell, Rob Parton and Martin Ng and help us make them feel welcomed. The GP meeting has been very well received by our sponsors and we have, so far, received a reasonable response from the local clinicians. As well the Student Symposium looks to be a great ice-breaker for our younger members and we welcome your participation in all these sessions. 

I look forward to seeing all of you in a fortnight. 

2011 Annual Scientific Meeting News from Faline Howes, Anne Barden and Jim Sharman


As everyone knows, the HBPRCA Annual Scientific Meeting will be in Perth from December 4-9. December 4 is being held con-jointly with ASCEPT and AuPS. The full program for these meetings is available via their websites. 

If you’d like to attend the whole week, you do need to register for both HBPRCA and either ASCEPT or AuPS, but will receive a complimentary dinner ticket. 

Student Symposium

 The Student Symposium will be held at the Parmelia Hilton, Mill Street Perth from 4.00 – 5.30pm 

  • Amanda Sampson – The early postdoc years: tips for staying afloat
  • Jaye Chin-Dusting, Michael Stowasser, Trevor Mori – Supervisor expectations: tips to help swim rather than sink
  • Jennifer Seabrook – Career options: seas aplenty
  • Colin Johnston – Career decisions post PhD: advice from a sea captain

 A student function will follow – this is for students only – details to be provided at the Symposium.


 ISH 2012 – Hypertension Sydney

 ISH 2012 – As you are all aware, the HBPRCA will be hosting ISH 2012 in Sydney, 30 September – 3 October. As members of the HBPRCA, we would like you to advertise the Symposium, by downloading this slide and including it at the end of your presentations. Please click here to download.

• Have you included the logo in your email signature or made sure you have the slide for use in presentations? All members are encouraged to use these images whenever possible

• Abstracts open October 26 – and close March 23

• Check out the website for updates on the Satellite Meetings as they occur

Click here for the e-blast re registration and abstracts now being open.

ISH 2012

Membership News from Janna Morrison


Thank you to those of you (over 230!) who have taken the time to renew your membership in the HBPRCA. It is a great time to be part of this vibrant and growing scientific society. Don’t forget, students don’t pay membership fees – so why not invite appropriate colleagues to be a member? 

Thanks to everyone who has completed the background information – did you know around 150 members are involved in teaching, over 70 have PhD’s and at least 30 medical degrees (with most of them also having at least a PhD)? 

Member Profiles

New student member – Enayet Chowdhury

New full member – Jun Hata

I completed MBBS from Dhaka Medical College, Bangladesh in 2000 and then did Masters in Public Health (Epidemiology and Biostatistics) from the University of Melbourne, Australia in 2007. In 2010, I began my PhD at the Centre of Cardiovascular Research and Education in Therapeutics, Monash University, Australia under the supervision of Professor Christopher Reid, Professor Henry Krum and A/Prof. Christopher Stevenson. I am currently in my second year, focusing on the epidemiology of blood pressure control on clinical outcomes including development of heart failure and renal diseases. My PhD work also includes epidemiological modelling to explore the potential benefits of different interventions at the population level. Much of this work will be conducted utilizing data collected from the 2nd Australian National Blood Pressure Study. I am a medical doctor of internal medicine and stroke neurology. After four years clinical experience at hospitals in Japan, I started my epidemiological research in 2002. Since then, I have been engaged in a population-based cohort study of cardiovascular disease in Hisayama Town, Fukuoka, Japan (the Hisayama Study). In 2006, I completed my PhD at the Department of Medical Sciences, Kyushu University in Japan under the supervision of Prof. Mitsuo Iida and Prof. Yutaka Kiyohara, investigating stroke recurrence in a general Japanese population. In January 2010, I started my research at The George Institute for Global Health, the University of Sydney, as a Visiting Research Fellow, under the supervision of Prof. John Chalmers and Prof. Craig Anderson. I was awarded a Banyu Fellowship Program (Japan) in 2009 and International Society of Hypertension Visiting Postdoctoral Award (Australia) in 2010 and 2011. My research interests include prevention and treatment of stroke and heart diseases. I am currently working on statistical analysis of randomised clinical trials such as INTERACT2 and ADVANCE.
New student member – Laura Keith New full member – Denise O’Driscoll
I completed my undergraduate studies in Biomedical Science in 2009 at the University of Tasmania. In 2010 I was lucky enough to attain a co-funded scholarship from the National Heart Foundation and the Menzies Research Institute to study my honours degree in medical research. My honours project was the first of collaboration between Dr. James Sharman’s blood pressure research group and Professor Steve Rattigan’s muscle and diabetes research group. This project investigated the mechanisms by which raised central pulse pressure may contribute to microvascular damage of target organs. I am currently working as a Research Officer on a follow up project in patients with type 2 diabetes. I worked as a Senior Sleep Scientist (RPSGT) both in Australia and the UK before joining the Clinical and Academic Unit of Sleep and Breathing at Imperial College London and the Royal Brompton Hospital London in 2002. I completed my PhD at Imperial College in 2005, researching the cardiovascular mechanisms at arousal from sleep in adults. In 2006 I returned to Melbourne to join The Ritchie Centre, Monash University as the inaugural Kaarene Fitzgerald Research Fellow (2006-08). In 2008, I was a co-chief investigator on a NHMRC project grant (2008-2010) investigating the impact of sleep disordered breathing on cardiovascular, behavioural and neurocognitive function in preschool children. In 2009 I was awarded the Thoracic Society of Australia and New Zealand/Allen and Hanburys Respiratory Research Fellowship to investigate the impact of obstructive sleep apnoea on cardiovascular function in children with Down Syndrome. I am currently a Research Fellow in the Department of Respiratory and Sleep Medicine at Monash Medical Centre and Monash University, Clayton. My research focuses on the cardio-metabolic effects of sleep apnoea, and its subsequent treatment, in the setting of obesity and aging. Obesity and sleep apnoea are exceptionally common health problems which frequently co-exist, and are both associated with adverse cardio-metabolic outcomes. I am currently the National Delegate Representative for Australia at the European Society of Sleep Technologists and serve on the International Task Force for the Board of Registered Polysomnographic Technologists.

Soundbite – Stephen Harrap on the benefits of travel to Interlaken!

It was 1984 and my PhD supervisor, the remarkable Prof Austin Doyle, was the President of the International Society of Hypertension (ISH). The Scientific Meeting that year (the 10th) was in the lovely lakeside Swiss town of Interlaken. With some of my first data to present, it was a delight to be among so many others interested in blood pressure and genuinely excited to discuss data and hypotheses. The experience was an inspiration – great science, vigorous debate, a charming location, a welcoming camaraderie and a real sense that Australia was a serious player in the ISH – no better emphasised than by the Presidential Penthouse that Austin commanded at the very best hotel in town!

I joined the ISH then and 2 things changed immediately. Firstly, it crystallised my commitment to research in blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. Secondly, it was an affirmation that my research was recognised as of a standard appropriate for members of the peak international professional body in hypertension.

People often ask “why be a member of the International Society of Hypertension?” With the forthcoming 24th Scientific Meeting in Sydney, co-hosted by the HBPRCA, it would be easy to respond that you can save yourself hundreds of dollars on the Registration Fee as a member of ISH. Even better if you are a PhD student, because you can join the ISH as an ISH Research Fellow for no cost.

But from my own experience, the advantages of membership are often less tangible – the sense of a bond between like–minded colleagues, who became marvellous collaborators and great friends.

As we approach the 24th ISH Scientific Meeting in Sydney next year, I know that Austin would have been proud that his PhD student has assumed his previous role of President. At the same time, I’m sure that there are young researchers, who just like me 28 years earlier, will be thinking about their own career and research direction.

These days the ISH is investing great effort in encouraging and supporting our “New Investigators”. The webpage www.ish-world.com/Nin reveals just how rich are the opportunities and provides a forum to meet others and establish new links around the world.

The truth is that among our New Investigators are future Presidents of the ISH and I’d hope that 30 years from now they too might reflect on the marvellous experience and cherished memories that membership of the ISH can bring.

Member Initiatives – Danielle Michell and Eduardo Pimenta report on their winning trips

Eduardo Pimenta: HBPRCA nominee to BHS

Eduardo PimentaAs part of the Young Investigator Award last year, I was entitled to present my research at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the British Hypertension Society that was held in the Queen’s College, Cambridge. It is a small, but high-level meeting which is inspired by the Cambridge’s atmosphere. Attendants stay and have all meals within the college like students in a boarding school. It allows the participants to stay focused in the meeting and to have close interaction with colleagues. I was well received by all members of the Society which included a welcome gift presented to me during the conference dinner. I enjoyed the experience and thank HBPRCA/BHS for this opportunity. I strongly recommend all HBPRCA participants to submit abstracts to future HBPRCA meetings to have a chance to win the award. Unfortunately, previous winners are not allowed to apply to the award again…

Danielle Michell: HBPRCA nominee to AHA-CHBPR

Last year at the High Blood Pressure Research Council of Australia 2010 ASM I was very fortunate to win the student oral award which gave me the wonderful opportunity to attend the 2011 AHA High Blood Pressure Research Conference in Orlando, USA (September 21st – 24th). I am extremely grateful to the Council for providing me with not only the financial support but also the opportunity to present my work as an oral presentation.

This conference had a great focus on basic science and the topics interrelated deeply with my PhD project which looks at mechanisms involved in hypertension induced vascular inflammation. While I was a bit nervous presenting my work titled “Increases in Pressure Induces Leukocyte Adhesion to the Endothelium”, I was very honoured to be representing the High Blood Pressure Research Council of Australia and the feedback I received was very positive. As my first international conference it was very exciting to not only present to world renowned scientists but to also discuss my research one on one. With 3-4 sessions running concurrently over three and a half days there was always an interesting session to attend and I would highly recommend this conference to other HBPRCA members, particularly when they hold it at such great venues such as the Walt Disney World Resort!

With such a great opportunity to travel internationally I wanted to make the most of my visit and following the conference I visited five labs in the USA: Dr Alan Remaley (National Institute of Health, Washington DC), Dr Peter Libby (Harvard Medical School, Boston), Dr Filip Swirski (Harvard Medical School, Boston), Dr Charles Lowenstein (University of Rochester, Rochester) and Dr David Harrison (Vanderbilt University, Nashville). I feel very privileged to have been able to visit and present my work to such world class laboratories. They were very welcoming and it was great to share and exchange data. It was also a perfect opportunity to start discussing post-doctoral opportunities following my PhD.

I hope the Council of Australia will continue this great partnership with the AHA Council as it gives such unique opportunities to young investigators such as myself. I also highly recommend to all students and early career scientists to try out for the oral awards as it can really give you a once in a lifetime experience!

I deeply thank the High Blood Pressure Council of Australia for such a rewarding experience!

Society Liaison News from Chris Reid


International Society of Hypertension calls for proposals: up to US40,000 available

The International Society of Hypertension (ISH) established the Regional Advisory Groups (RAGS) in 2010 in order to strengthen interaction with the major regional groups representing the global constituents of the ISH.

In 2011 the ISH Scientific Council agreed to augment the relationship with the regions by dedicating up to US$40,000 annually to each of the regions to support initiatives that will be relevant and valuable to local needs.

Such initiatives are expected to be generally of educational value or to support younger people at critical times in their career development. Specific research projects are unlikely to receive funding through this mechanism. Initiatives that bring national groups together under a regional grouping are likely to receive priority.

Examples of successful prior projects include outreach educational workshops on blood pressure for health professionals in destinations without ready access to international expertise. Such workshops might be stand-alone or aligned with clinical or scientific research meetings.

The process for application involves the submission of a Proposal Outline which is a short description (maximum of 2 pages) of the proposal. The description should include the following:

  •  Title and goal of the initiative.
  •  Sponsoring organisation(s).
  •  Nature, timing and size of the initiative.
  •  Intended participants.
  •  Participant and Regional benefits.
  • Indicative budget, co-funding available and intended ISH contribution.

Proposal Outlines should be submitted via the ISH secretariat (secretariat@ish-world.com) and addressed to the Chair of the relevant Regional Advisory Group (Professor Trefor Morgan, Chair Asia and Australasia RAG).

It has been the mission of the ISH to encourage and support younger researchers, as the next generation of leaders in the BP world. Through the establishment of the New Investigator Committee (a fantastic team comprising mostly New Investigators themselves) and the New Investigator Network on Facebook/twitter, things have really been taking off.This culminated in the 1st ISH New Investigator Symposium in Orlando during the AHA-CHBPR/IASH meeting in September, where the New Investigators were given a dedicated oral session on Wednesday afternoon followed by an interactive poster session with drinks and savories. The beauty of this was in the planning, organization and running of these sessions which were run entirely by the New Investigators – right down to grading the posters and chairing the sessions. The confidence of the ISH was repaid handsomely by a really superb set of papers, presented and discussed in the highest professional manner. It was a real show-stopper and many regular attendees at AHA CHBPR meetings said (spontaneously) that the New Investigators session injected a real sense of freshness and vigor into the meeting. The ISH was also delighted to award $5000 in awards to oral/poster session winners.

Prof.Stephen Harrap, President ISH; NIC members: Dr.Fadi Charchar, Australia; Dr.Praveen Veerabhadrappa, USA and Dr.Dylan Burger, Canada

The success of this 1st ISH New Investigator Symposium is a great fillip to plans for the 2nd that will be held in Sydney on Saturday 29th September, just before the Hypertension Sydney 2012 meeting next year. At this meeting (hosted by the HBPRCA) there will be a perfect opportunity to display the great young talent in Australia. If you are a New Investigator (research higher degree student or up to 10 years postdoctoral) sign on to the New Investigator Facebook page so that you find out more and can join the growing number of people making their mark in the blood pressure world.Editor’s comment: have you seen the New Investigator section of the ISH website or joined the New Investigator Network? For anyone planning a career in the area, it’s a must!

ISH Oral and ISH Poster awardees from the New Investigators Symposium: A Global Hypertension Initiative.


Who are the Executive? Jim Sharman shimmies

Each e-news, we will highlight one or two of the Executive so that members get to know them better. This issue, Jim Sharman – Joint Program Secretary (and Senior Research Fellow – Menzies Research Institute Tasmania).

I moved back home to Tasmania with my wife, Mel, and daughter Leyla (then aged 3 years) in 2009 to pursue work at the Menzies Research Institute Tasmania. In addition to the great work opportunity at the Institute, a big reason to move home was to reconnect with friends and family – we also love the outdoors and were very much looking forward to enjoying Tasmania itself. In keeping with Jana’s very personal biography in the last e-news, I thought that I’d also include family photo’s – mostly from the beach, which is where we try to spend a lot of our spare time. Many people think it’s a bit strange to want to spend time on the crispy frozen sands of Tasmanian beaches (certainly, it’s not a place for speedo’s…. but then where is)? If you’re ‘well rubberized’ there is plenty of fun to be had and coastal Tasmania has some of the best waves in the world.

Leyla is somewhat like the battery on the energiser battery advertisement – she has unstoppable energy to burn! Mel and I take turns looking after her while she catches waves for hours. As you can see, she has somehow perfected the forward-facing, straight-knee surfing stance that you don’t see Kelly Slater using.

I recently made a hollow wooden surfboard out of local Tasmanian timber. I did a course then finished it off at home in the shed, spending many hours cutting, gluing, clamping, planing, shaping, sanding, glassing and finally varnishing the masterpiece. The pictures here, show me proudly holding the nearly finished version (with very trendy beanie, which is essential during Winter) and then lovingly waxing the final product. Waiting to try it out, I was like a little kid who couldn’t wait for Christmas. When I finally put it in the water, you can imagine my pure delight when it floated, and then the thrill when it actually surfed (amazingly) well……. and then the quiver of my bottom lip when it sank! After a bit of time, I could see the funny side (friends could see it immediately!). I’ve patched it up and will try again, but I can assure you it will not be used as a ‘really great coffee table’ or a ‘great thing to hang on the wall at the shack’ as my misguided, but well intentioned friends, have suggested.

Meetings in 2012

Please email meeting details to the Secretariat (details below)


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