After obtaining a fellowship award from the American Heart Association, my interest in the link between diet and hypertension continued to grow. During my renal fellowship, I have presented the findings of my research as oral and poster presentations at national meetings. I have been fortunate to collaborate with experts in the fields of nutrition, epidemiology (Drs. Walter Willett and Eric Rimm) and hypertension (Dr. John Forman). Graduating with a Master in Medical Sciences from the Master's Program of Clinical and Translational Investigation at Harvard Medical School (HMS), I have continued several collaborations at Harvard facilities. These collaborations have culminated in the publishing of peer-review articles. Nearing the end of my fellowship, I was appointed as an Associate physician in the renal division at Brigham and Women's Hospital. My long-term career goal is to become an independent clinical investigator in the fields of nutrition and hypertension. To attain my academic career goal, my short-term goal is to continue my intense training in patient-oriented research. It is with an outstanding advisory committee of unique experts and detailed planned training activities, that the K23 grant will allow me to become an independent clinical investigator. Advanced coursework in nutritional epidemiology and the science of nutrition as well as leadership development workshops for physician-scientists at HMS, will ensure my development as a patient-oriented researcher. During the fellowship award, we found an 11% higher risk of hypertension with increasing potato consumption. We also found an increased cross-sectional relation between endothelial-dependent vasodilation (a test for endothelial function) and recent intake of potatoes in the Modifiable Effectors of Renin System Activation Treatment Evaluation (MODERATE) trial. Therefore, in this proposal, we intend to replicate our preliminary findings in a racially diverse prospective cohort: the Coronary Artery Disease Development in Young Adults (CARDIA; N=5,115 participants, 51.4% black) followed for more than 20 years with dietary questionnaires and physical exams. Also, we will analyze the association of potatoes intake in children and adolescents of two prospective longitudinal cohorts of children and adolescents, the Growing Up Today Studies (GUTS: N=16,882 and GUTS II: N=10,923) with the incidence of hypertension in young adulthood. To better understand the mechanism of the association of potatoes intake with hypertension, we will assess increasing intake of potatoes with inflammatory and endothelial function biomarkers in CARDIA as well as three longitudinal prospective cohorts of US women and men (Nurses' Health Study, Nurses' Health Study II and Health Professional Follow-up Study). We also propose the Potatoes, Hypertension RIsk and Endothelial function Study (PHRIES) trial, a 4-week randomized crossover feeding trial, where we will examine the effects of one additional serving of boiled or baked potatoes (as pre-made meals) per day for one week, compared with one serving/day of a non-starchy vegetable on endothelial function and biomarkers of inflammation. We will also study the temporal trends in white potatoes intake before and after their re-institution in 2015 in the cash value voucher of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC).
White potatoes have recently been allowed back in the cash value voucher of the government food stamp program after it was stated that there were no known adverse health effects of potatoes. However, the association of potatoes with heart health, especially elevated blood pressure is not known. This study will examine the effects of potatoes on blood pressure in different populations of adults and children, and assess, in a feeding trial, the effects of an additional serving of potatoes per day on the possible mechanisms that link potatoes to high blood pressure. We will also analyze the intake of potatoes in participants of the government food stamp program.