American Heart Association funds MCW epigenetic hypertension research

Diet and other lifestyle and environmental factors can change your genes, which could make you susceptible to high blood pressure or hypertension, both of which could be inherited. Now, researchers and physicians at the Medical College of Wisconsin are working to determine exactly how that happens—and why.

MCW received a four-year, $3.7 million dollar award from the American Heart Association to create a Strategically Focused Hypertension Research Center that will focus on the epigenetics and epigenomics of hypertension.

The research team at MCW will conduct multiple projects concurrently as part of this initiative.

  • David Mattson, professor of physiology, will study epigenetic modification of immune mechanisms in salt-related hypertension and affiliated kidney damage in disease models.
  • Dr. Srividya Kidambi, assistant professor of medicine (endocrinology) and a practicing physician at Froedtert Hospital, will study the epigenomics of high blood pressure in twins and as it relates to salt intake in human subjects.
  • Dr. Theodore Kotchen, professor of medicine (endocrinology) and a practicing physician at Froedtert Hospital, will focus on epigenomic modifications in hypertension and hypertension-related cardiovascular diseases in an African American population.

“This is a highly integrated, translational research program.  I am excited about the possibility of making important discoveries that will advance science and benefit patients,” said Mingyu Liang, professor of physiology and director of the Center of Systems Molecule Medicine at MCW, and the primary investigator who will lead the MCW Center.

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