High Blood Pressure Research Council of Australia



HBPRCA Email Newsletter

September 2006


The important reminder this month is the call for Abstracts for the ASM which is coming up very shortly (October 6) see Jaye’s section. The Annual Scientific Meeting of course will be held this year in Brisbane this December (7-8), preceded by a full day workshop on “Radio Telemetry applications for animal research” which I hope many members of the council will attend.  Our feature piece this time is the first of a 2 part serial from the Department of Physiology, Melbourne University. Thanks to Stephen Harrap, Andrew Allen and Lea Delbridge for their article. Stay tuned for part 2 in the next issue, which will be just prior to the ASM.  





PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE from Stephen Harrap

This spring edition of e-news has some important items, much of it around the plans for our Annual Scientific Meeting in Brisbane. We are really keen to make this meeting as strong as any meeting in Melbourne and your active participation will make it a reality. As always, we want to support our student members and we shall be offering travel support to assist as many young investigators to attend as possible. The other student benefits are the student informal dinner (in part sponsored by the Council) and the range of valuable prizes available at the meeting. Also worth noting is Kate Denton's section on our developing links with other societies including the British Hypertension Society, the Council for High Blood Pressure Research of the American Heart Association and the Canadian High Blood Pressure Research Council. Kate is facilitating some very positive interactions for the mutual benefits of our members.


Finally, many thanks to all those people for the thoughtful comments on the Position Statement in relation to the replacement of mercury manometers. I was delighted by the warm support the general concept of such statements received and also for the very useful specific suggestions. On the basis of these we have edited the Statement to emphasise the need for regular maintenance and calibration of automated and semi-automated blood pressure machines. With these changes we shall now mount the Statement on our website.



MEETING NEWS from Jaye Chin Dusting

We have now called for abstract submissions for the 2006 Annual HBPRCA. Please click here to submit an abstract.  The deadline is October 6th. Please note that there will maximal free oral sessions and that we have chosen 2 Focus Areas: Vascular Biology and Cardiovascular Imaging. This is to encourage wider participation amongst our many colleagues who are involved in there areas of research. There is ample opportunity for our student and post-doctorate members to shine in award-related, showcase sessions and we have 3 excellent invited speakers in Frederich Luft, John Mattick and Kristopher Kahle.  Suitable abstracts will be published in the top-ranked journal in our field Hypertension and the social scene is set with our Brisbane committee having selected a lovely riverside venue for our annual dinner.


The meeting promises to be a really spectacular event once again and not to be missed. Your participation is anticipated and I am putting out a special plea that you and members of your team will respond to all our hard work with your attendance.  So…

Submit those abstracts and submit them now !!



3rd Australian Telemetry Users Group Meeting at the HBPRCA ASM from Geoff Head, James Armitage & Dmitry Mayorov

The 3 rd Australian telemetry users workshop will be held this year on December the 6th 2006 in Brisbane adjoining the High Blood Pressure Research Council of Australia Annual Scientific meeting (7th-8th December). It will be an official workshop of the HBPRCA as well. We hope therefore to capture a wider audience including those who may be considering using telemetry. The plans so far are for a full day workshop with state of the art lectures from International speakers highlighting new developments in the technology. There will also be specialized sessions for the main areas of interest. We will also include a basic information "how to" session aimed at newcomers to the technology. As per last time we will have the opportunity for poster presentations from those members that prefer this form of communication. We will also provide the opportunity for some hands on live demonstrations of software and hardware. There will be a small registration fee.


What:    "Telemetry in animal research : New Directions and Developments"

Where:    Carlton Crest Hotel Brisbane

When:     Wednesday 6th December


Full day workshop, including

State of the art presentations from the USA, Canada and New Zealand.

Sessions including, Telemetry for cardiovascular research, Telemetry and the mouse Telemetry for drug research, Behavioural applications of telemetry, Basic "how to" information session for beginners. Free communications and posters.

Sponsored by Data Sciences International and the HBPRCA

Dinner at a local restaurant on the 6th of December.


We look forward to seeing you there!



STUDENT MESSAGE from Jennifer Irvine

As your student representative on the High Blood Pressure Research Council of Australia Executive, I would once again like to invite you to a Student Dinner at the 2006 Annual Scientific Meeting.


Given that the meeting runs from December 7-8, the Student Dinner will be held on the evening of December 6th, at a venue to be determined later.


It should be an enjoyable and casual affair and the Council has generously offered to contribute to drinks on the night.


Further information will be given and RSVPs called for closer to the date of the ASM.


If you are interested in attending please respond via email, to assist us with making the arrangements.





With the HBPRCA Annual Scientific Meeting (7-8 December, Brisbane) coming up we once again remind supervisors that your graduate students can enjoy free membership in the HBPRCA and your post docs and research assistants are equally welcome. On top of that your graduate students can put themselves in the running for a variety of awards and prizes. This year promises to be a feature packed meeting with something for just about everyone.


As we are starting to strengthen our clinical ties, we again remind you to start thinking about whom of your clinical colleagues might be interested in membership with Australia’s premier society for hypertension-related research and information.


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.



SOCIETY NEWS from Kate Denton

Early Career Investigator Award

Supported by the High Blood Pressure Research Council of Australia and the British Hypertension Society

Our first winner of this award, Enzo Porrello (Physiology, Melbourne) will shortly be making his appearance at the Annual Meeting of the British Hypertension Society (18 - 20 Sep 2006) to be held at Churchill College, Cambridge.  Enzo, has been given a prominent position in the program, with his talk scheduled immediately before the Sir George Pickering Lecture, which is the main keynote presentation of the meeting.  The audience will consist of 250 members and guests of the British Hypertension Society, together with members of the Nurses Hypertension Association.  All delegates have a research interest in hypertension, approximately two-thirds clinical and one third non-clinical.


I think that this is prestigious opportunity not only for Enzo, but also to advertise the strengths of our Society internationally.  For those of you intending to apply for this award at our December meeting in Brisbane this year, the Annual Scientific Meeting of the British Hypertension Society in 2007 will be held from Monday 24th – Wednesday 26th September 2007 at St. John’s College, Cambridge.


American Council for High Blood Pressure Research (CHBPR)

I have been invited to attend the CHBPR Leadership Committee meeting as a representative of HBPRCA.  This meeting in conjunction with their annual scientific meeting is being held San Antonio, Texas in October this year.  The following item has been added to the meeting agenda:


The HBPRCA is strengthening its ties with other like societies internationally.  We would like to explore possible initiatives with the CHBPR with this aim in mind. Including:

·         Young investigator and student travel awards.

·         A joint exchange to promote early career researchers

·         Reciprocal information on websites; including advertisement of the FHBPR International Fellowship.

·         Potential joint satellite meetings as part of ISH 2012 Australia


Canadian Hypertension Society (CHS)

Discussions, with the similar intention of developing closer ties with CHS, are in progress.  An invitation has also been extended for me to attend the CHS executive meeting in October this year.  With the ISH2010, taking place in Vancouver and ISH2012 in Sydney, we are exploring the possibility of initiating some collaboration between our societies before these events.



Faculty of Medicine, School of Medical Sciences, University of New South Wales
REF. 4560NET

Applications are invited for appointment to the position of Senior Lecturer (Physiology) in the School of Medical Sciences.  In addition to maintaining an active research program, the appointee will be involved in teaching physiology to medical and science programs offered by the School.


The salary range for Senior Lecturer is A$80,958 - A$92,880 per year (Package value A$95K - A$109K).  This is a full time, fixed term position for 2 years. 


Enquiries may be directed to Professor Margaret Morris on telephone (61 2) 9385 1560 or email. For more information, click here to visit the website.

Applications close 9 October 2006.




Cardiovascular Research in the Department of Physiology at Melbourne University

Physiology at Melbourne has always had a strong commitment to cardiovascular research with names such as Trefor Morgan and the late Sandy Skinner just 2 outstanding examples. Today, Cardiovascular Health is one of 3 Research Clusters in Physiology (the others being Neurophysiology and Muscle & Exercise). The Cardiovascular Health cluster is characterised by the diversity of research across molecular genetics, cardiomyocyte electrophysiology, central cardiovascular regulation, perinatal origins of adult disease and clinical trials. This diversity facilitates active collaborations here and abroad and provides a strong foundation for competitive funding and research training. The following paragraphs and photographs briefly describe the details of cardiovascular research in Melbourne Physiology. You can learn more about the Department and its research at http://www.physiology.unimelb.edu.au. This edition we highlight 2 laboratories and will complete the set next time. Happy reading, Stephen Harrap.


Central Cardiovascular Regulation: Dr Andrew Allen

The group has an overarching interest in how the central nervous system modulates cardiovascular function via the autonomic nervous system. This encompasses an interest in neuroscience, particularly how neural groups interact in vivo to generate specific motor patterns (in this case sympathetic activity to vascular smooth muscle), as well as the cardiovascular physiology.


Juxtacellular-labelling, with Neurobiotin, of an electrophysiologically characterized RVLM neuron (green). Subsequent immunohistochemistry demonstrates that this is a catecholaminergic neuron (red = tyrosine hydroxylase).


The specific research questions being addressed: How does the renin-angiotensin system in the brain function? Is upregulation of this system in the brain involved in the generation or maintenance of cardiovascular diseases? What are the neural mechanisms involved in the generation of sympathetic nerve activity to the cardiovascular system? Is increased sympathetic vasomotor activity sufficient to induce an increase in blood pressure?


These specific research questions are being addressed by recordings of neuronal activity in vivo and in vitro, measurement of gene and protein expression from defined brain regions, measurement of cardiovascular parameters using radiotelemetry in vivo and viral transduction approaches to modulate gene expression in vivo.


Green fluorescent protein expression in astrocytes (green) in the region of RVLM presympathetic neurons (red) following adenoviral microinjection in vivo.


Staff and students

Dr Andrew Allen (Head of Laboratory), Jaspreet Dosanjh (Research Assistant), Lisa Hazelwood (Research Assistant), Charles Sevigny (PhD Student), Erin O’Callaghan (B.Biomed.Sci.(Hons) student).



Dr W.G. Thomas (Baker Heart Research Institute), Prof. B.J. Oldfield (Department of Physiology, Monash University), Prof. I. Llewellyn-Smith (Department of Medicine, Flinders Medical Centre), D. J. Phillips (Department of Health Science, Murdoch University), Prof. M.J. McKinley (Howard Florey Institute), Prof. R.A.L. Dampney (Department of Physiology, University of Sydney), Dr. T. Le and Prof. T. Coffman (Department of Medicine, Duke University, North Carolina, USA), Associate Prof. S. Kasparov and Prof. J.F.R. Paton (Department of Physiology, University of Bristol, UK).


Recent publications

Montanaro M, Allen AM, Oldfield BJ. Structural and functional evidence supporting a role for leptin in central neural pathways influencing blood pressure. Experimental Physiology 2005; 90:689-696.


McAllen RM, Allen AM, Bratton BO. A neglected ‘accessory’ vasomotor pathway: implications for blood pressure control. Clin. Exper. Pharmacol. Physiol. 2005; 32: 473-477.


Richardson RJ, Grkovic I, Allen AM, Anderson CR. Separate neurochemical classes of sympathetic postganglionic neurons project to the ventricle of the rat heart.  Cell Tissue Res. 2006; 324: 9-16.


Allen AM, Dosanjh J, Dassanayake S, Tan G, Thomas WG. Baroreceptor reflex stimulation does not induce cytomegalovirus promoter-driven transgene expression in the ventrolateral medulla in vivo. Auton. Neurosci. 2006; 126: 150-155.


Allen AM, Dosanjh J, Erac M, Dassanayake S, Hannan RD, Thomas WG. Expression of constitutively active angiotensin receptors in the rostral ventrolateral medulla increases blood pressure.  Hypertension 2006; 47: 1054-1061.


Steinberg GR, Watt MJ, Fam BC, Prioetto J, Andrikopoulos S, Allen AM, Febbraio MA, Kemp BE. Ciliary neurotrophic factor suppresses hypothalamic AMP-kinase signaling in leptin resistant obese mice. Endocrinology 2006; 147: 3906-3914.



Cardiac Phenomics Laboratory: Associate Professor Lea Delbridge



Our goal is to understand how genes and environmental factors interact to shape heart growth and function. We use unique genetic models of hypertrophic cardiac disease to probe the molecular and cellular abnormalities associated with hormonal disturbances (eg diabetes, renin-angiotensin system dysfunction, estrogen withdrawal). We investigate how pharmacological and dietary interventions can both exacerbate and alleviate cardiomyopathic conditions. In pursuing these studies, we have developed and patented novel microscopic techniques for measuring myocyte morphology and growth responses.





Recently we have demonstrated that elevated production of angiotensin II in the heart, even when systemic hormone levels and blood pressure are normal, can induce growth and excitation-contraction coupling abnormalities.  At a cellular level we have characterized the links between abnormal growth and defective cellular Ca2+ flux.  Our studies of the effects of omega-3 dietary interventions have revealed a beneficial influence of these lipids in suppressing excessive heart growth and arrhythmogenesis. The role of reactive oxygen species in mediating abnormal cardiomyocyte growth responses in insulin resistant hearts is emerging as an important theme in our research. We have characterized the extent to which the heart relies differentially on glycolytic and oxidative energy supplies in a compromised metabolic environment.


Staff and students

A/Prof Lea Delbridge (Head of Laboratory), Dr Claire Curl (Post Doctoral Fellow), Ms Kate Huggins (PhD Student), Mr Enzo Porrello (PhD Student), Ms Ruchi Patel (PhD Student), Ms Wendy Ip (Honours Student), Ms Sarah Miller (MSc Student), Ms Belinda Howard (Honours Student), Ms Kim Mellor (Honours Student), Ms Beata Zoltkowski (Research Assistant), Mr Bill Meeker (Research Assistant), Ms Greta Meredith (Research Assistant)



Associate Professor Igor Wendt (Department of Physiology, Monash University), Dr Salvatore Pepe (Baker Heart Research Institute), Dr Rebecca Ritchie (Baker Heart Research Institute), Dr Walter Thomas (Baker Heart Research Institute), Professor Joe Proietto (Austin Repatriation Hospital), Dr Gordon Smyth (Walter and Eliza Hall Institute), Associate Professor Thierry Pedrazzini (University of Lausanne), Associate Professor Peter McLennan (University of Wollongong), Associate Professor Robert Widdop (Department of Pharmacology, Monash University), Professor Keith Nugent (School of Physics, University of Melbourne), Associate Professor Ann Roberts (School of Physics, University of Melbourne), Associate Professor Michell Gee (Department of Chemistry, University of Melbourne), Professor Peter Harris (University of Melbourne), Dr Brendan Allman (Iatia Ltd, Australia), Associate Professor Alastair Stewart (Department of Pharmacology, University of Melbourne), Professor Margaret Morris (Department of Pharmacology & Physiology, University of New South Wales)


Recent publications

Ritchie RH & Delbridge LMD. Cardiac hypertrophy, substrate utilization and metabolic remodeling: cause or effect? Clin Exp Pharmacol Physiol 33:171-178, 2006.


Curl CL, Bellair CJ, Harris PJ, Allman BE, Roberts A, Nugent KA, Delbridge LM. Single cell volume measurement by quantitative phase microscopy (QPM): a case of erythrocyte morphology. Cell Physiol Biochem. 2006; 17: 193-200.


Domenighetti AA, Wang Q, Egger M, Richards SM, Pedrazzini T, Delbridge LMD. Angiotensin II-mediated phenotypic cardiomyocyte remodeling leads to age-dependent cardiac dysfunction and failure. Hypertension. 2005 Aug;46(2):426-32.


Curl CL, Bellair CJ, Harris T, Allman BE, Harris PJ, Stewart AG, Roberts A, Nugent KA & Delbridge LMD. Refractive index measurement in viable cells using quantitative phase-amplitude microscopy and confocal microscopy. Cytometry 65A:88-92, 2005.





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 ongoing support of the following sponsors:





11th Annual Meeting of the European Council for Cardiovascular Research (ECCR)

29 September – 1 October 2006

Nice, France

Click here for meeting website


British Geriatrics Society Autumn Meeting

4 – 6 October 2006


Click here for meeting website

Primary Care Cardiovascular Society Annual Scientific Meeting

5 – 7 October 2006

Newcastle, Gateshead

Click here for meeting website

60th 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

4 – 10 October 2006

San Antonio, Texas

Click here for meeting website


Atrial Fibrillation 2006 – All Change!

10 October 2006

Royal College of Physicians, London

Click here for meeting website


International Conference on Healthy Ageing and Longevity (3rd Annual Meeting)

13 –15 October 2006

Melbourne, Australia

Click here for meeting website


International Society of Hypertension
21st Scientific Meeting

15 - 19 October 2006

Fukuoka, Japan

Click here for meeting website

Click here for International Society of hypertension web page


Comprehensive Cardiovascular Conference

20 – 21 October 2006

Florida, USA

Click here for meeting website

Canadian Cardiovascular Congress (27th Annual Meeting)

21 – 25 October 2006

Vancouver, British Columbia

Click here for meeting website


1st World Congress on Controversies in Obesity, Diabetes and Hypertension (CODHy)

26 – 29 October 2006

Berlin, Germany

Click here for meeting website

Hypertension Update XVIII

30 – 31 October 2006

Holiday Inn Hotel, Stratford

Click here for meeting website

Cardiovascular Medicine - Turning people into patients: Has modern medicine gone too far?

31 October 2006

Queen Mother Conference Centre, Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, Edinburgh

Click here for meeting website


6th BHS Clinical Education Meeting for Primary Care

10 November 2006

East Midlands Conference Centre, Nottingham

Click here for meeting website


American Heart Scientific Sessions 2006

12 – 15 November 2006

Chicago IL, USA

Click here for meeting website

Hypertension and the Kidney (Joint Meeting between the BHS and the Renal Association)

28 November 2006

Royal College of Physicians, London

Click here for meeting website









UK Consensus Conference on Early Chronic Kidney Disease

6 – 7 February 2007

Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh

Click here for meeting website


Society for Endocrinology BES 2007

5 – 8 May 2007


Click here for meeting website

8th International Conference of Nuclear Cardiology - ICNC8

29 April – 2 May 2007

Prague - Czech Republic

Click here for meeting website


American Society of Hypertension

19 – 23 May 2007

Click here for meeting website

Heart Failure 2007

9– 12 June 2007

Hamburg - Germany

Click here for meeting website

Europace 2007

24 – 27 June 2007

Lisbon – Portugal

Click here for meeting website


ESC Congress 2007

1 – 5 September 2007

Vienna – Austria

Click here for meeting website