Dr. Heddwen Brooks Wins $1.53M NIH Grant to Study Post-Menopausal Hypertension in Women

Heddwen Brooks, PhDHeddwen L. Brooks,  PhD, a professor of medicine and physiology, associate professor of pharmacology and chair of the Graduate Interdisciplinary Program at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson, has been awarded $1.53 million from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) to study postmenopausal hypertension. The NHLBI is a unit of the National Institutes of Health.

Heddwen Brooks, PhD, in lab at BIO5 InstituteDr. Brooks in her lab at the UA BIO5 Institute.

Hypertension is the number one risk factor for cardiovascular disease in postmenopausal women, with severity and incidence of hypertension increasing after menopause. In addition, use of anti-hypertensives (ACE inhibitors and Beta-blockers) in postmenopausal women is less efficacious than in men—with 64 percent of women with this condition left without adequate blood pressure control.

As mechanisms responsible for post-menopausal hypertension and renal injury are unknown, there is a significant need to identify genetic signaling mechanisms that induce hypertension in females—focusing on T cell-mediated hypertension that occurs in females once in menopause. The combination of these issues make this a clinically important area of research

Janko Nikolich-Zugich, MD, PhD, and Frank "Chip" Brosius, MDDr. Brooks and Janko Nikolich-Žugich, MD, PhD (on left at right), chair of the Department of Immunobiology at the UA College of Medicine – Tucson, will examine how the immune system is activated to increases in blood pressure across the transition from perimenopause to menopause.

Dr. Nikolich-Žugich also is co-director of the UA Center on Aging, Elizabeth Bowman Professor in Medical Research at the UA College of Medicine – Tucson, and a member of the UA BIO5 Institute

They are joined in their research by a collaborator from the UA Division of Nephrology, Frank C. "Chip" Brosius, III, MD (above right), who joined the UA faculty last year after serving as chief of the same division at the University of Michigan.

Dr. Brooks received her PhD from Imperial College, University of London and did her post-doctoral training at NIH with Mark Knepper, MD, PhD, an NHLBI senior investigator, studying the role of vasopressin in regulating renal function and with Andrea Yool, PhD, of the University of Adelaide, Australia (formerly UA faculty), identifying novel inhibitors for aquaporins. She is a member of the UA Sarver Heart Center, UA Center on Aging and UA BIO5 Institute. In 2007, she was the winner of the Lazaro J. Mandel Young Investigator Award of the American Physiological Society, for which she now serves as Women’s Health Research chair.

The name of this study is, “T Cell-Mediated Regulation of Blood pressure In Postmenopausal Hypertension.” The research is supported by the NHLBI under Award No. 1R01HL131834-01A1. The content solely is the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NIH.

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Release Date: 
06/30/2017 - 6:45pm
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