November, 2005



Only one month to go until our annual Scientific meeting (see Jaye’s section below). Don’t forget to register. Please click here to register.


HYPERTENSION LATEST NEWS: We would like to hear from members with items of particular news interest to members. However, in the meantime there are a number of internet sites which feature the latest hypertension news such as


·         Medical News Today


·         Medline Plus: High Blood Pressure


Some are commercial such as the AstraZenica  site.

·          Incirculation


This month’s feature article is from Monash University Physiology which has been collated by Our own Kate Denton. Due to the large number of groups involved in Hypertension research at Physiology we have decided to present the article in 2 parts, so stay tuned for part 2 in December. 







PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE from Stephen Harrap


We are all looking forward to getting together in Melbourne for our Annual Scientific Meeting in a month's time. It will be a special event for many reasons. Expect to see lots of new things this year. These will be evident not only through the innovative scientific program organised by Jaye (see her section below), but also through the announcement of several new exciting initiatives including the redevelopment of our web-site for which we owe Geoff and his son Ben a sincere debt of thanks. To top it all off we have our Gala Dinner at the Museum of Victoria to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the Foundation for High Blood Pressure Research. It should be a hoot! See you there!






I am back in Melbourne with a vengeance.  Thank you to all those who sent their good wishes following my London Bomb experience; all I can say is - it is good to know that some one out there is reading all this blurb!


This is our last newsletter before the HBPRCA Annual Scientific Meeting. If you haven't already registered; do so.  We received close to 100 abstracts with 35 applications for our Young Investigator Awards. 

All abstracts were scored by at least 3 (and some 4) judges across the nation and the Final Program has been confirmed. 


Two of my personal aims for our Annual Scientific Meetings  are

a) to highlight the work of those I think are the key players in pushing the envelope for our science - the Post-doctoral Fellows and

b) to engineer the Poster Sessions such that they become a vibrant hub for scientific exchange. 

Towards this end, new prize categories have been initiated especially targeted for Post-Docs; the first of which will be awarded this year for the best poster from a post-doc "New Researcher" (see below for details) and the second of which will kick in from 2006.  These have been made possible through generous support from Clinical Science and the Foundation respectively.  To oomph up the Poster Session; the Overall TOP 6 Abstracts from RO/SROs were short-listed for competition of the Clinical Science New Investigator Award and will be show-cased in a "Moderated Poster Session": selected presenters will be asked to give a 2 min description of their work followed by a Q and A session led by a senior member of the Council.   Similarly a "Moderated Poster Session" has been scheduled for the Young Investigator (Student) Poster Prize.   


So, if you have missed the key details: let me regurgitate them for you:


Where:                                       Bio21 Molecular Science and Biotechnology Institute, 30 Flemington Rd, University of Melbourne

When:                                        Dec 7-9 (Dec 7th - Wednesday evening: Clinical Workshop: NB: No Saturday Workshop))

Invited Speakers                     Anna Dominiczak (Glasgow), Terry Dwyer (Melbourne); Shaun Jackson (Melbourne)

Special Appearance:             Our 13 Foundation Fellows

Also Featuring:                        the British Hypertension Society Young Investigator Winner

And, of course:                        Yourselves!


Dinner:                                      Thursday 8th December at the Melbourne Museum "Celebrating 10 Years of The Foundation"


Awards:                                     Young Investigator Award (Oral): the winner will be sent to UK to present their work to the British Hypertension Society.

                                                     Young Investigator Award (Poster): ($1,000)

                                                     *New" Clinical Science New Investigator Poster Prize (for post-docs within 8 years of receiving their PhDs; $500 + 1 year subscription to Clinical Science)


Please click here to register.






It is still not too late to register to attend the HBPRCA meeting in December. However, even if a trip to the HBPRCA annual general meeting isn’t on for this year your students, post-docs and research associates can still benefit from HBPRCA membership throughout the year. And perhaps you have colleagues that really should be part of the HBPRCA. Membership never closes.


As we are starting to strengthen our clinical ties, we again remind you 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.


MEMBERSHIP COMPETITION: We are running a competition to see who can nominate the most new members. The target to beat is Jaye with 4 so far. The prize will be awarded at the AGM.




Society News from Kate Denton


 The British Hypertension Society Young Investigator Award Winner for 2005 is Dr Carmel McEniery


 Dr Carmel McEniery is a British Heart Foundation Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Clinical Pharmacology Unit, University of Cambridge, U.K. Carmel is the first recipient of the new initiative to establish closer links between the BHS and HBPRCA. As winner of the young investigator prize at this years BHS meeting, Carmel has been invited to present at our upcoming meeting. Our student prize winner will be extended a similar opportunity to present at the BHS meeting in September, 2006.


 Carmel's main area of current research is arterial stiffness, and in particular, the mechanisms driving the changes in arterial stiffness with ageing. She is also involved in research into the mechanisms underlying systolic hypertension in young people, this work forms part of The Enigma Study, a long-term follow-up study investigating the origins of hypertension. In addition Carmel has an interest in endothelial function, and particularly, the role of the vascular endothelium in the regulation of arterial stiffness.


HBPRCA members are encouraged to introduce themselves to Carmel at the meeting and I hope that all will give her a warm welcome. Any members that would like to take the opportunity to invite Carmel to visit their laboratory during her visit should in the first instance contact our Society Liaison Dr Kate Denton (





New Positions Available


Associate Lecturer, Human Physiology and Pharmacology

Faculty of Sciences, University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba

Applications are invited from suitably qualified persons for the position of Associate Lecturer in Human Physiology/Pharmacology. The successful candidate will teach into the Bachelor of Biomedical Science, Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Nursing Programs. Appointment is available on a fixed term basis for three years.

Applications close: 11th November 2005. For full details got please click here.







November Feature Article


Cardiovascular Research at Monash Physiology (Part 1)


 Cardiovascular Research at Monash University is represented by a group of over 50 research staff and students and is lead by Professor Warwick Anderson; Head of the Department of Physiology, and of Monash’s School of Biomedical Sciences (see photo left).  This month part I features the integrative renal and cardiovascular laboratories. Next month part II features other aspects of vascular disease, including diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.

Cardiovascular research at Monash Physiology focuses on the causes of the primary cardiovascular disease processes of hypertension and vessel wall dysfunction and damage. Given the prevalence of cardiovascular disease and hypertension world-wide, it is remarkable that more than 100 years since the introduction of the sphygmomanometer, we still have only a rudimentary understanding of how the body regulates arterial blood pressure.  It is essential to understand this if we are to understand what causes high blood pressure and thus how it can be prevented or targeted more effectively. For vessel dysfunction, much more progress has been made in recent years, mainly through advances in our understanding of endothelial cell and vascular smooth muscle biology; but the voyage of discovery has only just begun.  What seems clear is that the integrative biosciences and the approaches known as systems biology will play increasingly important roles.






Our primary focus is on the kidney in hypertension, including the study of neural regulation of renal function and neural plasticity, on genetic and environmental factors affecting renal development, on the roles of local paracrine factors, and on the filtration/vessel interface. We take as our underlying hypothesis that long term blood pressure levels depend in a major way on the kidney, with its ability to quickly raise or lower pressure through the powerful pressure-natriuresis mechanism. Whatever else changes as hypertension develops, there must be some alteration to this relationship for the pressure to remain elevated while blood fluid balance is maintained. This question can really only be addressed fully in vivo.  Some of our specific projects are described below.


Figure: Scanning electromicrograph of a cast of the renal vasculature. (scale 1mm). Denton et al CEPP, 2004




Renal medullary mechanisms

Roger Evans, Gabriela Eppel, Michelle Kett, Kate Denton

The renal medullary circulation has emerged as a major factor in long-term control of arterial pressure.  Our work has focussed on understanding how hormonal and neural factors interact in the control of medullary perfusion. 

Our major recent findings include:


Students and Collaborators: Dr Niwanthi Rajapakse (Medical College of Wisconsin), Dr Erika Boesen (Medical College of Georgia), Dr Lisa Duke (Melbourne law firm), Assoc Prof Rob Widdop (Pharmacology, Monash), Dr John Haynes (Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Biology, Monash), Prof Kerry Hourigan and Dr Greg Sheard (Mechanical Engineering, Monash University); Prof Arthur Lowery and Dr Malin Premaratne (Electrical Engineering, Monash), Assoc Prof Geoff Head and Sandra Burke (Baker Heart Institute,), Assoc Prof Simon Malpas (Auckland).


Pictured: Cardiovascular Research Group at Monash representatives

Left Back: Chai Ling Leong, Amelie Dinsdale, Gavin Dyson, Sarah Richerson, Jessica Cox, Dr Roger Evans, Assoc Prof Helena Parkington, Hommira Bashari.

Left front: Dr Sharyn Fitzgerald, Leah-Anne Ruta, Dr Michelle Kett, Dr Amany Shweta, Dr Gabriela Eppel.


Renal regulatory mechanisms in glomerular pressure and tubulo-glomerular feedback control

Kate Denton and Warwick Anderson

A key factor in long-term blood pressure regulation via the pressure natriuresis mechanism is control of glomerular filtration pressure within precise limits, achieved by the physiological regulation of pre- and post-glomerular vascular resistance. However, this is a difficult area to study, since it can be studied only in vivo, and by micropuncture measurements of the glomerular capillary pressures.  Kate Denton's lab is one of only a handful in the world that has mastered the technically demanding methodologies and, as well, she has maintained a colony of rabbits with glomerular accessible on the surface of the kidney (the only such colony world-wide). Her work has made major contributions to our understanding of differential afferent/efferent regulatory mechanisms, to the role of angiotensin II and renal nerves, and to tubulo-glomerular feedback regulation of GFR.


Students and Collaborators: Amanda Sampson, Professor Jurgen Schnermann (NIH, USA), Dr Russell Brown (Uppsala University, Sweden).



Renal nerves

Kate Denton, Amany Shweta, Helena Parkington, Harry Coleman, Gaby Eppel, Warwick Anderson

Kate, Helena, Warwick and their teams, with Susan Luff, have made several major new findings that redefine our understanding on the role of nerves in the kidney. In brief, these findings are:

Two different types of sympathetic nerves innervate renal effectors

One type runs almost exclusively to the pre-glomerular resistance vessels, the other (Type II) is distributed to both pre-and post-glomerular vessels.  The neurotransmitter NPY is only present in Type II renal nerves.

This allows differential regulation of glomerular filtration pressure.  Kate has shown that, for example, mild hypoxia activates only the latter nerves, and this helps maintain GFR even during quite strong renal vasoconstriction. Severe hypoxia, however, activates also the nerves that supply only pre-glomerular vessels, causes a profound vasoconstriction and falling GFR.

The innervation of the renal vasculature is plastic – changes in the renin-angiotensin system affect the density of innervation of the kidney. This has important functional consequences.  We have shown that renal nerve stimulation causes a markedly more pronounced vasoconstriction of renal resistance vessels in rats with prolonged angiotensin II infusion.

NPY contributes to vascular responses to electrical stimulation of the renal nerves in both the cortex and medulla, not only directly via Y1-receptor mediated vasoconstriction, but more profoundly by modulating α1-adrenoceptor mediated vasoconstriction.

A novel pro-constrictor ion channel has been identified in arterioles. The spasm-like constriction evoked by neurotransmitters may involve this channel, and be altered in disease. We are in the process of characterizing the properties of this channel.


Students and Collaborators: Amelie Dinsdale, Dr Susan Luff (Monash Micro-imaging), Assoc Prof Geoff Head (Baker Heart Institute).


Fig. 4 Schema of the distribution of the 2 populations of nerves innervating the glomerular arterioles (Denton et al, CEPP 2004).


Renal oxygenation

Rogers Evans, Paul O’Connor, Warwick Anderson

We recently demonstrated that reduced blood flow in the renal cortex could decrease tissue PO2 in the renal medulla, even when medullary perfusion is maintained.  We believe this finding has important implications for the prevention and management of acute renal failure, which is primarily a condition of hypoxic damage in the outer medulla.  It seems likely that the dependence of medullary PO2 on cortical perfusion results from the shunting of oxygen from arteries to veins in the kidney.  This, in part, led Paul O'Connor to develop the novel hypothesis that preglomerular arterial-venous oxygen shunting is a structural antioxidant defence mechanism in the kidney.

Students and Collaborators: Dr Paul O’Connor (Medical College of Wisconsin), Dr Grant Drummond (Department of Pharmacology, Monash University).
Recent Papers from Cardiovascular research at Monash Physiology

1.    Denton KM, Shweta A, Flower RL, and Anderson WP. Predominant postglomerular vascular resistance response to reflex renal sympathetic nerve activation during ANG II clamp in rabbits. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol 287: R780-786, 2004.


2.    Evans RG, Eppel GA, Anderson WP, and Denton KM. Mechanisms underlying the differential control of blood flow in the renal medulla and cortex. J Hypertens 22: 1439-1451, 2004.


3.    O'Connor P M, Kett MM, Anderson WP, and Evans RG. Renal Medullary Tissue Oxygenation is Dependant on both Cortical and Medullary Blood Flow. Am J Physiol Renal Physiol, 2005. In Press


4.    Parkington HC, Dodd J, Luff SE, Worthy K, Coleman HA, Tare M, Anderson WP, and Edgley AJ. Selective increase in renal arcuate innervation density and neurogenic constriction in chronic angiotensin II-infused rats. Hypertension 43: 643-648, 2004.





With best wishes,


Associate Professor Geoffrey A. Head


HBPRCA Secretary








HBPRCA Secretariat

Athina Patti at

Meetings First

t           61 3 9739 7697

f           61 3 9739 7076






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, October 13 – Sunday, October 15, 2006

Melbourne Exhibition and ConventionCentre – 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


Experimental Biology 2006  

1-5 April 2006

Moscone Convention centre, San Francisco, CA, USA

Click here for the meeting website

Click here for the society website