Career Objectives: My overall career plan is to expand my research interests to understanding the behavioral, psychosocial and biological processes in the pathogenesis of human hypertension, and to develop and test novel interventions to affect these processes. My short-term career goals are to (1) become a national and international leader in mechanistic research in behavioral and psychosocial aspects of hypertension, (2) to gain expertise in renal sodium excretion and its relation with blood pressure (BP) which will advance my programmatic research in examining the effect of stress on hypertension, (3) to transform my laboratory into a local, regional, and national center of excellence for ambulatory BP monitoring (ABPM) and home BP monitoring (HBPM), and (4) to implement an outstanding training program in patient-oriented research in hypertension for young investigators. Mentoring Plan: A central component of my mentoring program is an individualized approach to training, which includes a needs assessment of core research competencies and an ongoing intensive evaluation process. During the training period, each of my mentees will undergo several training modules, the content of which will be tailored to each mentee's needs: Didactics; Focused Skills Training; Applied, Hands-on Training & Team Management; Research Dissemination; and Grant Writing and Study Development. Research Strategy and Synergy with My Career Objectives and Mentoring Plan: Nocturnal hypertension (nighttime BP e120/70 mmHg) or a non-dipping BP pattern (d10% reduction in BP at night), determined by ABPM, are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular events and mortality. Using the new knowledge that I will gain from my training in psychosocial factors and behavior and clinical and biological aspects of hypertension, and training in sodium excretion, I will conduct an innovative pilot study to examine whether a novel psychosocial stress pathway, reduced urinary sodium excretion, partially explains the relation between psychosocial stress and elevated nighttime BP. The state-of-the-art study will be conducted in the laboratory setting and in the natural environment in the same participants (N=100) in Years 1-3. In addition to gathering preliminary data for a future R01 application, the study will serve as a platform for my mentees' research training. Two additional mentee-specific pilot studies will be conducted in Years 4 and 5 respectively. The overall aims of these studies are to have a mentee gain practical experience in conducting a study in a specific area of hypertension that matches his/her career goals; and to obtain preliminary data so that the mentee is able to submit a K Award or a R01 application the following year. Summary: My strong commitment to patient-oriented research in hypertension, an individualized mentorship plan, direct involvement of the mentees in the conduct of patient-oriented studies in hypertension, availability of experts in different disciplines as co-mentors, as well as outstanding institutional support are all strengths that will ensure that my mentees have strong research productivity in hypertension and also eventually become independent scientists.
Hypertension and its phenotypes are major risk factors for cardiovascular disease and mortality. The overall goals of this program are to investigate the behavioral, psychosocial and biological processes in the pathogenesis of human hypertension, as well as train the next generation of scientists in hypertension.
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