Hypertension and Cardiorenal Diseases Research Training Program

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Brief History and Outcomes of Hypertension and Cardiorenal Diseases Training at UMMC

There has been a long history of hypertension and cardiovascular and renal disease research and research training at UMMC. Much of this research has been directed toward developing a quantitative and integrated analysis of the basic physiology of circulatory and renal dynamics and their control and has been conducted in the Department of Physiology & Biophysics.

This research effort began several decades ago under the leadership of the world-renowned physiologist and medical educator, Dr. Arthur C. Guyton. The tradition of excellence in cardiovascular and renal research at UMMC not only continued after the appointment of Dr. John Hall as the Arthur Guyton Chair of Physiology in 1989, but significantly expanded throughout UMMC under the leadership of Drs. Richard Roman, Joey Granger, Jane Reckelhoff, Robert Hester, James Wilson and David Stec over the last two decades.

Many of our former trainees have obtained leadership positions in medical institutions throughout the world and in major scientific societies, including:

  • More than 30 departmental chairmen
  • Eight presidents of the American Physiological Society
  • One president of the American Heart Association
  • Two presidents of Inter-American Society of Hypertension
  • Four presidents of the Microcirculatory Society
  • Five chairs of  the American Heart Association Council for High Blood Pressure Research
  • One president of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology

Former trainees and current faculty have or are currently serving as editors or associate editors of major scientific journals in the cardiovascular and renal fields, including the Hypertension journal, American Journal of Physiology, Physiological Genomics, and the Microcirculation Journal.

Clinical and translational research programs in cardiovascular and renal diseases have also expanded in various clinical programs such as nephrology, hypertension, endocrinology, surgery, nephrology, emergency medicine and maternal-fetal medicine. This wide range of expertise from basic and clinical departments provides an important platform for the hypertension and cardiorenal diseases research (HCDR) training program.

Based on this expertise, UMMC has identified hypertension and cardiovascular and renal diseases as a major area for research development in its strategic research plan. Cardiovascular and renal diseases represent a major unmet health care need in Mississippi, and development of the Cardiovascular-Renal Research Center (CRRC) is a cornerstone in UMMC's research focus. The CRRC houses core facilities for hypertension and cardiorenal diseases researchers, research laboratories and administrative space. 

This effort is highlighted by the expansion of a state-of–the-art research building devoted largely to cardiovascular, renal and metabolic diseases research. With the completion of the Arthur C. Guyton Research Building, a large amount of research space (approximately 20,000 square feet) was pledged solely to the future needs of the CRRC. More than 60,000 square feet of additional research space was committed to CRRC-associated departments. Also, more than 20,000 square feet of space was committed for laboratory animal facilities and in vivo imaging of animals in addition to the space currently available.

Consolidating this state-of-the-art research space in one area has greatly enhanced the development of a strong, multidisciplinary HCDR training program that fosters interaction between basic and clinical scientists involved in hypertension and cardio-renal diseases research. Thus, the infrastructure for the success of training future cardiovascular and renal researchers is in place and operational at UMMC.

UMMC also supports student training with travel funds to attend meetings, supplementation of pre-doctoral stipends with non-federal funds, and full tuition scholarships for training grant-eligible students. Since last submission of the T32, UMMC has also provided more funds to support graduate student recruiting programs such as the Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) program and the recently implemented graduate student recruiting day.

The institution also provided financial support for an 2 administrators to assist CRRC faculty and HCDR training program faculty with clerical services. UMMC also has recently funded an Office of Postdoctoral Affairs within the graduate school to support an associate dean for postdoctoral studies, the Career Opportunities and Professional Development series that explores various career pathways, incorporation of Individual Development Plans for all trainees, and the new Trainee Careers Pathway Program Teaching.