September 20, 2019
2019 Excellence Award in Hypertension Research

2019 Excellence Award in Hypertension Research

(gentle music) – I’m here with Dr. Touyz today, and Dr. Touyz will be receiving the Excellence Award in
Hypertension Research. And this award is the highest award given by the Council of Hypertension. So Rhian, congratulations, and tomorrow you’ll be giving a lecture
on your outstanding research. In addition, we’ll be
recognizing you with the award at our awards banquet tomorrow evening. So could you tell us a little bit about what you’re going to be speaking
about during your lecture? – Sure, Joey. Firstly, let me say how
absolutely delighted I am to be the recipient of the 2019
Award of Research Excellence in Hypertension from this council. It means a lot to me knowing
who’s been previous recipients, and also, I feel very
honored and very humbled to be the recipient of this award. I have spent my professional career studying the mechanisms of
hypertension, and in particular, I’m interested in the molecular
mechanisms of hypertension, and related especially
to the vascular changes that occur during the
development of hypertension. For many years, we’ve been
studying signal transduction, looking at various
potential signaling pathways that become abhorrent with respect to vascular changes in hypertension. And I started my research
many, many years ago, looking initially at the role of cations in the regulation of
vascular cell function. In the 1970s, 1980s changes
in intRAcellular calcium and sodium were implicated
as being very important in the regulation of vascular function. And then I started to
look at another cation called magnesium, which,
for various reasons has actually been
considered a neglected ion. But, what we didn’t know about magnesium were the mechanisms
that actually regulated vascular intracellular magnesium levels. And over the past few years,
we and many other labs have focused on understanding
the cation channels. Particularly the transient
receptor potential, melastatin sixth and
seventh cation channels that regulate magnesium. So, I’ll be talking a little bit about the contributions that we have made in terms of magnesium
homeostasis and the role of TRPM7 in vascular pathobiology in hypertension. Now, we know that there are many different signaling pathways that
regulate vascular function. And something that’s
been quite interesting is that many of the signaling molecules, whether they regulate
contraction, dilation, map kinases and cell growth;
are regulated in large part by changes in the redox
millieu of vascular cells and so, a large part of
my research is focused on understanding the oxidative changes that regulate signaling,
vascular function, with a particular interest
on energy pH oxidizers that generate reactive oxygen species. – Well, Rhian, in addition to your outstanding
research contributions, you’ve been an outstanding
mentor to many graduate students. I think you trained over
60 graduate students. And I think you also play
an important role model for clinician scientists. Now, do you have any
advice to our aspiring clinician scientists within
the Council of Hypertension? – Yes, I feel very privileged
to be a clinician scientist where I can go from the clinic, looking at or consulting with patients
who have real problems with respect to their health and particularly in my field
with respect to hypertension, and then being able to go from the clinic and ask questions that I
have observed or generated from the clinic to the bench. For me, this is an absolute
privilege and an honor to go from the clinic to the bench. And it’s been a tremendously
rewarding career for me, personally, to
understand very fundamental mechanisms of disease and
then try and understand them in a clinical context. So, a lot of my research, I
guess is actually what we call reverse translational research because a lot of my research has been from observations in the clinic and then going to the bench and dissecting out some
potential mechanisms that hopefully we’ll
take back to the patient in a translational way. As I said, being a clinician
scientist is a privilege and I would absolutely
encourage any clinician who has any interest
in discovery, science, in wanting to understand
more about pathophysiology and mechanisms; to not be afraid
and to ask those questions by delving into some of
the fundamental science. It’s not easy being a
clinician and a scientist and one’s got to manage
one’s time very carefully, but I think today with
a tremendous emphasis on clinical research,
on clinician scientists, and especially as we move
forward to wanting to apply pre-clinical discoveries to the clinic; we need clinician scientists. And if you are passionate
about what you do and you enjoy asking questions, then going for both the
clinical and the basic science is the perfect combination. – Well, I’d like to close by again, congratulating you
again for being the 2019 Excellence Award in
Hypertension Research awardee. Congratulations.
– Thank you so much, Joey. (gentle music)

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