American Heart Association honors scientists for excellence in groundbreaking hypertension research

Award advances Association’s focus on treating high blood pressure

September 16, 2017 Categories: Program News, Heart News, Stroke News

SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 16, 2017— Two leading hypertension researchers will be honored today at the American Heart Association’s Council on Hypertension, Council on Kidney in Cardiovascular Disease, and the American Society of Hypertension Joint Scientific Sessions in San Francisco.

This year’s recipients of the annual Excellence Award for Hypertension Research are Allyn L. Mark, M.D., professor of internal medicine-cardiovascular medicine, at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine, and Richard J. Roman, Ph.D., Billy S. Gutyon Distinguished Professor and Chair of pharmacology and toxicology at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. Both will present lectures on their work and receive their awards during a special dinner at the Scientific Sessions meeting.

Mark’s research has explored the roles of the brain and sympathetic nervous system in controlling blood pressure.

“Our research looked at two major contributors to hypertension: obesity and high salt intake,” Mark said. “We wanted to understand why some individuals are sensitive and other individuals are resistant to the hypertensive effects of high salt intake, as well as recognize the underlying causes of hypertension caused by obesity.”

Roman has devoted his career to studying how genes impact hypertension as well as determining patients’ susceptibility to kidney and brain damage. His team identified a gene that produces a compound called 20-HETE. This compound constricts blood vessels, and, in the kidney, it increases sodium excretion.

“Gene mutations that reduce 20-HETE can lead to hypertension and stroke in humans, and we have recently found that it also is associated with dementia in elderly patients.” Roman said. “This and other research lays the groundwork for much needed clinical trials looking at drugs that target 20-HETE for the treatment of stroke, heart attack and cancer.”

Established in 1966, the Excellence Award for Hypertension honors excellence in research and discoveries in the field of hypertension. Nominees are assessed by a committee on their impact in the field of hypertension throughout their careers, as well as any single discovery. All scientists with a background in hypertension research, and those who have made a meritorious scientific discovery or discoveries, either alone or with others, may be considered.

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About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke – the two leading causes of death in the world. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The Dallas-based association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-800-AHA-USA1, visit heart.org or call any of our offices around the country. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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