Preface to the Proceedings of the Fall Conference Publication
High Blood Pressure Research Scientific Sessions 2013
The 2013 High Blood Pressure Research Scientific Sessions (fall meeting) is sponsored jointly by the American Heart Association Council for High Blood Pressure Research and the Council for Kidney in Cardiovascular Disease. The Program Chair was Christopher S. Wilcox, MD, PhD (Figure 1). This year’s meeting was both well-attended (676 attendees) and scientifically productive. The conference was held on September 11 to 14 at the New Orleans Marriott in New Orleans, LA. The 101 platform talks and 430 poster presentations given this year covered the latest developments in our understanding of critical issues in hypertension and related disorders. These included the causes of hypertension; its relationship to stroke, cardiac disease, and kidney dysfunction; and the most effective means for detecting, evaluating, and treating high blood pressure. The conference continues to maintain its reputation among scientists and investigators as the premier meeting on hypertension in the world. This was reflected by the diversity of attendees—194 of the participants were from countries other than the United States. This good overseas representation occurred despite the fact that we had a reduced number of participants from Japan, typically one of our largest contingents from overseas, because of a conflict with their own Society’s meeting.
This year, the meeting was preceded by 2 concurrent preworkshops on special topics selected by the Program Chair and Committee. One was entitled “Recent Landmark Discoveries in Hypertension, Kidney, and Cardiovascular Disease” and was Chaired by David Harrison, MD, from Vanderbilt University and Pedro Jose, MD, PhD, from UMD, Baltimore, MD. The second was entitled “Non-invasive Methods to Study the Human Circulation and Kidneys” and was Chaired by J. Ray Townsend, MD, from the University of Pennsylvania and William White, MD, from the University of Connecticut-Hartford. Both featured excellent attendance, stimulating presentations, and wide-ranging discussions of important issues related to current issues and translational approaches. This is an example of a developing theme for the conference to program the best clinical, as well as basic science, and to include some reviews by world leaders in the field, as requested by many trainees. The regular conference program started on Wednesday evening with the Keynote Address by Dr Kathy Griendling, PhD, Assistant Dean and Professor at Emory University. Her topic was NADPH oxidase. She provided an authoritative overview of this rapidly developing field and highlighted the new science from her laboratory and others that is defining discreet roles for the different isoforms of the NOX (neutrophil oxidase) enzyme complex.
The scientific sessions commenced on Wednesday evening with a poster session composed of 159 presentations of abstracts submitted by trainees. Most gratifying was that there were more poster presentations in this trainee session than in the open session later in the meeting. This special session was one of several features of the conference designed to highlight the value of the extensive attendance and participation of trainees and young investigators at the meeting, and in our Council. Other aspects of the conference designed especially for trainees and young investigators were 4 well-attended How-To sessions, which provided practical advice on how to implement important techniques used commonly in hypertension research. Topics (and presenters) included heart rate and blood pressure variability (Harold Stauss, MD, PhD, University of Iowa), FAC (fluorescent activated cell) sorting methodologies (David Harrison, MD, Vanderbilt University), Proteomics (Christian Delles, MD, University of Glasgow), and in vivo imaging of experimental animals (Jennifer Sullivan, PhD, Georgia Regents University). Another novel feature this year was an oral abstract session with podium presentations of the top-ranked abstracts by trainees.
The General Sessions on Thursday through Saturday covered a broad array of topics concerning the causes and consequences of hypertension. As always, the renin–angiotensin–aldosterone system, vascular biology, and kidney function were especially well represented. The role of oxidative stress, inflammation, and immune mechanisms in the pathophysiology of hypertension was a common thread among many of the sessions. A new special session held on Friday morning was devoted to presentations selected by the Council on the Kidney in Cardiovascular Disease. Sessions on Friday afternoon and Saturday morning were devoted entirely to talks concerning research on the diagnosis, management, and pathophysiology of hypertension in human subjects giving encouragement to the council’s stated goal of expanding the programming for clinical, translational, and epidemiological science. These sessions generate substantial interest from basic scientists as well as clinicians.
The conference recognized outstanding hypertension investigators with prestigious awards and lectureships and travel fellowships. This year’s recipient of the Excellence Award in Hypertension Research (formerly the Novartis Award) for individuals whose research has had a major and sustained impact on the field was bestowed on Dr Murray Esler, MD, PhD, who is the Senior Director of the Baker ID Heart and Diabetes Institute in Melbourne Australia. Dr Esler’s lecture masterfully captured highlights of the discoveries of stress-related hypertension and concluded with descriptions of his paradigm making discovery that human-resistant hypertension may be controlled successfully by radiofrequency renal nerve ablation. Dr Esler is an example of several recent awardees whose research encompasses both ground-breaking basic discoveries and their translation into clinical investigation and practice (Figure 2).
The Lifetime Achievement Award, named in honor of Drs Irvine Page and Alva Bradley, was presented to Dr Clinton Webb, who is Chair and Professor of Medicine and Physiology at Georgia Regents University. The award recognizes both his service to the Council for High Blood Pressure Research (CHBPR) and a career of outstanding achievements in the field of hypertension research (Figure 3).
The Harriet Dustan Award recognizes investigator role models in hypertension. The 2013 award was given to Dr Jane Reckelhoff, Billy Guyton Distinguished Professor, Professor of Physiology and Biophysics, and Director of the Women’s Health Research Center, at the University of Mississippi Medical Center (Figure 4).
We were honored that Council member Kenneth Bernstein, MD, was elected a Distinguished Scientist of the AHA (Figure 5).
The Lewis K. Dahl Memorial Lecture was delivered by Dr David Pollock, Professor at Georgia Regents University (Figure 6). The Arthur C. Corcoran Memorial Lecture was delivered by Dr Mohan K. Raizada, the Distinguished Professor of Physiology and Functional Genomics at the University of Florida College of Medicine (Figure 7). The Donald Seldin Lecture was presented by Dr David Ellison, Professor of Medicine and Pharmacology, Head of the Division of Nephrology and Hypertension, Oregon Health Science University (Figure 8).
The Harry Goldblatt New Investigator Award is presented to a newly independent investigator doing research work related to hypertension that is judged to have already made a significant contribution to our understanding of the causes and consequences of hypertension. This year there were 3 excellent finalists: Dr Justin Grobe, from the University of Iowa, Dr Richard D. Wainford, from Boston University School of Medicine, and Dr Frederique B. Yiannkouris, from the University of Kentucky. The 2013 Harry Goldblatt New Investigator Awardee was Dr Richard D. Wainford (Figure 9).
This year the Council established a new award, the Mid-Career Award for Research Excellence to recognize a midcareer investigator active in hypertension or cardiovascular research. This year’s winner was Jens Titze, Associate Professor of Medicine at Vanderbilt University (Figure 10).
Another highlight of this year’s conference was a presentation by Kyungoon Lim, a postdoctoral fellow at the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute in Melbourne, Australia, who received the Australian High Blood Pressure Council Young Investigator Award.
The Council supported many travel awards for a large number of trainees to attend the conference. Special thanks to the Council for High Blood Pressure Research, the Council on the Kidney in Cardiovascular Disease, the CHBPR Trainee Advocacy Committee, and the Ajinomoto Company of Japan for sponsoring these travel awards. Thanks also to Daiichi-Sankyo for their generous support of the meeting, and especially to Novartis, Inc for sponsoring the Excellence in Research Award and the Award banquet.
I thank the members of the Program Committee for all their efforts in putting together an outstanding and truly integrated scientific conference. I also acknowledge with pleasure the tireless assistance and excellent council of Dr Greg Fink, Chair of the CHBPR, in shaping all aspects of the planning and conduct of the conference, of Dr Moshe Levi, Chair of the Council on Kidney in Cardiovascular disease, and Dr Rhian Touyz, past chair of the CHBPR. My sincere appreciation goes out to all who contributed to the success of this meeting, but special thanks are owed to Susan Kunish, Melissa Ariate Jarvis, Veronica Zamora, and other American Heart Association staff members. It goes without saying that there would be no meeting without their efforts at the conference and throughout the year. This year’s conference was considered by many to have run especially smoothly thanks to their diligent and experienced planning skills.
The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the editors or of the American Heart Association.
- © 2014 American Heart Association, Inc.