The overall goals of this longstanding program in Hypertension remain the training of highly dedicated and talented young investigators capable of performing high quality biomedical research in the area of hypertension and the diseases and organs associated with this common medical condition. We focus upon the preparation of postdoctoral investigators for a career in academic research. We have added new faculty to expand to a Program Faculty of 14 scientists and new sources of cooperative funding extending beyond the confines of UCSD in terms of new NIH funded Center Grants. The additional faculty constitute younger but well funded faculty with specific talents and accomplishments in translational and clinical research. We also designate a group of secondary junior faculty that add to the mentoring process. We have additional institutional support by UCSD at the School of Medicine and Department levels. UCSD has also been awarded a recent NIH Clinical and Translational Science Award. The program will provide a range of interests, skills and approaches, ranging from basic, translational to clinical research. We have added oversight with an internationally recognized External Advisory Committee and appointment of an internal Associate Program Director. We have also added a Career Development course to assist trainees in academic skills including selection of initial faculty appointment. The final common pathway of hypertension is a complex, multifactorial process which not only produces end organ damage, but hypertension is also generated by organ processes, e.g., sympathetic nervous system, metabolic and endocrine factors, and, critically influenced by the response of the kidney. This is a competitive continuation application which has successfully trained young investigators that have been placed in academic positions at a high rate over the past cycle of grant funding. We have decided to eliminate the predoctoral training program and focus upon postdoctoral training, a program that has enjoyed outstanding record of academic placement of M.D.s and Ph.D.s over many years. Postdoctoral trainees are selected from an excellent pool of well qualified applicants from the competitive Nephrology- Hypertension fellowship program and from applications to members of the Program Faculty. We are requesting an increase in postdoctoral positions from 4 to 5 per year. The recruitment of faculty representing new disciplines have strengthened the program. We have emphasized the diversity of recruitments and have emphasized the formal coursework requirements and opportunities including courses on the proper conduct of ethical research activities. San Diego is a rich research environment and provides a wide spectrum of educational opportunities in basic, translational and clinical investigation. Thus, this training program has been expanded and has enjoyed major success in placing trainees in academic careers throughout the USA and continues to provide a wide variety of research disciplines and fields of investigation pertinent to the broad area of hypertension.
Hypertension or significantly elevated blood pressure is a relatively common clinical problem affecting at least 25% of the population of the USA, and this percentage becomes higher with aging and in certain ethnic groups. Hypertension increases the risk of several adverse cardiovascular events including heart attacks, heart failure and stroke, and also contributes to kidney injury especially in those patients who already have some form of kidney disease. Therefore understanding of the basic physiologic mechanisms and genetic/genomic factors leading to high blood pressure and the best approaches to effective control of blood pressure should greatly reduce the morbidity and mortality from this common disorder.
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