Dr. A. H. J. (Jan) Danser studied pharmacy at the University of Amsterdam. In 1985, as a student, he worked at the Department of Physiology and Biophysics, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, USA, studying the role of prejunctional b1 receptors in canine bronchi. After obtaining his pharmacist’s degree, he joined the Department of Internal Medicine at the Erasmus MC in Rotterdam as a PhD student. He defended his thesis in 1992, and then joined the Department of Pharmacology at the Erasmus MC. He currently is Professor of Pharmacology and heads the Division of Pharmacology within the Pharmacology and Vascular Medicine Sector of the Department of Internal Medicine at the Erasmus MC. His research focuses on the pathogenesis and therapy of hypertension and heart failure, with special emphasis on the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system, its local function(s) and the synthesis of its components at tissue sites.
He has supervised >40 PhD students since 1993. In addition, he teaches basic and clinical pharmacology as well as pharmacotherapy at the Erasmus MC. He has published >380 papers in internationally refereed journals, and he has presented >250 invited lectures worldwide. He received several awards, including the World Heart Federation Young Investigators’ Award (1998), the Robert Tigerstedt Award (2010), the Arthur C. Corcoran Award (2011), and the Pieter A. van Zwieten Award (2015). In 2015 he was chosen as ‘’Promotor of the Year’’ by the Erasmus MC PhD students committee PROMERAS. He was president of the Dutch Pharmacological Society from 2011-2015, and he chaired the Angiotensin Gordon Conference 2014. He is the current chair of the Dutch Galien Award Committee. He has been elected Fellow of the British Pharmacology Society in in 2017. He is married and has two sons and one daughter.
Prof. Faadiel Essop is currently a professor at the Department of Physiological Sciences at Stellenbosch University (South Africa). Prof. Essop completed his under- and postgraduate studies at the University of Cape Town and was later awarded a Fulbright fellowship to further his research at the University of Texas-Houston Medical School (TX, USA). He subsequently moved to Stellenbosch University and established a research group that focuses on the so-called ‘’dual burden of disease’’ (HIV-AIDS and non-communicable diseases) that is threatening developing countries. Specifically, the emphasis is two-fold: a) the link between diabetes and cardiovascular diseases – concentrating on the damaging effects of high glucose and fatty acid availability and b) the mechanisms whereby HIV and/or highly active anti-retroviral treatment can trigger cardio-metabolic diseases. Prof. Essop is a former chairperson of the Department of Physiological Sciences and currently acts as the President of the Physiology Society of Southern Africa and the Vice-President of the African Association of Physiological Sciences. He also served as a member of the International Committee of the American Physiological Society and is an elected Fellow of the American Physiological Society (Cardiovascular). He was recently appointed to the Board of the General Assembly of the International Union of Physiological Sciences.
The aim of our work is to conduct in-depth fundamental research into the organisation and functional role of peptidergic systems involved in the control of body fluid homeostasis and cardiovascular functions in order to identify new potential therapeutic targets for the treatment of water disorders and cardiovascular diseases. We studied either the brain renin-angiotensin system (RAS) or the apelin system. These studies allowed to identify the enzymes involved in the metabolism of these peptides and the receptors on which these peptides act. By a transversal approach bringing together modelers, chemists and biologists, we designed and synthesized compounds acting on these new targets and investigated their biological effects. This work allowed to patent several molecules of therapeutic interest, one of them in clinical trial Phase IIb in hypertensive patients.
MBBCh, BSc, BSc Hons, PhD. Ad hominem full Professor in the School of Physiology, University of the Witwatersrand and honorary member of the Department of Internal Medicine, Charlotte Maxeke-Johannesburg Hospital (hypertension clinic); Director of the Cardiovascular Pathophysiology and Genomics Research Unit in the Faculty of Health Sciences, and previous Cardiovascular Block Chair of the MBBCh program, University of the Witwatersrand, where he established this teaching block. Gavin has published over 180 peer-reviewed papers in largely high impact cardiovascular journals, including a number of papers in the journals Circulation (x5), Hypertension (x15), J Am Coll Cardiol, Circ Res, Cardiovasc Res and J Hypertens (x18). Gavin’s publications have been cited 4831 times and at least40 papers have been cited 40 times (h-index=40). Gavin has supervised to completion 19 PhD and 15 MSc students. In recognition of his work Gavin has won the MRC Gold Medal (2016), Vice-Chancellor’s Research Award (1998), and the Young Researcher’s Special Award (1997-1998), University of the Witwatersrand.
In addition Gavin has won the Phillip Tobias-Convocation Teaching Award and the 2011 Service Excellence Award. Gavin is on the editorial board of the Journal of Hypertension, the official journal of the International and European Societies of Hypertension and was on the editorial board of the Journal of the American Society of Hypertension, the official journal of this Society. He is past President of the Southern African Hypertension Society (2010-2012) and currently a Board member of the Board of Directors of the Southern African Hypertension Society.
Brian Rayner is Head of the Division of Nephrology and Hypertension at the Groote Schuur Hospital and University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa, and established the Kidney and Hypertension Research Unit in 2016. He is a past President of the Southern African Hypertension Society, and is an executive member of the African Regional Advisory Group of the International Society of Hypertension. He graduated in M.B.Ch.B. from University of Cape Town in 1978, obtained Fellowship of the College of Medicine (SA) in 1986, and has a Master of Medicine and PhD from the University of Cape Town. His doctoral thesis studied salt sensitivity and salt sensitive hypertension in indigenous South African people. He received the World Hypertension League Award for Notable Achievement in Hypertension in 2014 in his work related to his doctorate.
The Division of Nephrology and Hypertension and the Kidney and Hypertension Research Unit is an active training and research centre training Nephrologists from Sub-Saharan Africa, and has active Masters and Doctoral programmes. In 2016 the International Society of Nephrology endorsed the Division as a Regional Training Centre of Excellence.
Brian Rayner’s active research interests are therapy of hypertension, mutations in the ENaC, genetic determinants of salt sensitivity, HIVAN, vascular calcification and chronic kidney disease, primary aldosteronism, assessing adherence in hypertensive patients, ethics of rationing dialysis therapy, AKI, renal anaemia, diabetic nephropathy, physiological treatment of resistant hypertension and genetics of severe hypertension in blacks. He has a major interest in hypertension guidelines, and together with Profs Seedat and Veriava wrote the 2014 South African Hypertension Practice Guideline. He has 124 publications in peer reviewed journals, is on the editorial board of the CVS Journal of Africa, Austen Hypertension and Nephron Clinical Practice, and acts as a reviewer for many peer reviewed international journals, has made over 100 presentations at local and international congresses (many of which were invited plenary sessions) and has written 6 chapters in books. He was a principal investigator in the Altitude, Coral, Award 7, Reprise, Carmelina, Tecos, Signify, Fidelio, Figaro, Delight, Protect2, ASCEND-ND and many other major international research studies.
Aletta E Schutte
Professor Aletta E Schutte is the Unit Director of the Medical Research Council Extramural Unit for Hypertension and Cardiovascular Disease. She is also the South African Research Chair (SARChI) in the Early Detection and Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease in South Africa – hosted by the Hypertension in Africa Research Team (HART) at the North-West University. She is the immediate Past President of the Southern African Hypertension Society; and President Elect of the International Society of Hypertension.
Professor Ed Sturrock is currently Head of the Department of Integrative Biomedical Sciences at the University of Cape Town (UCT). He received his PhD at UCT in 1994 working on the synthesis and metabolism of bilirubin. Following his PhD, he went on to do a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard Medical School where he started his research on angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE). In 2003 he was awarded a Wellcome Trust International Senior Research Fellowship. His research interests include: structure-function aspects of ACE; cardiovascular drug discovery; and the molecular machinery involved in the processing of membrane-anchored proteins. He has made significant contributions to the national and international scientific communities.
He is a Fellow and council member of the Royal Society of South Africa, a Fellow of the University of Cape Town, a member of the Academy of Science of South Africa, a visiting professor at the University of Bath, and has a National Research Foundation B1 rating. He has published over 100 papers in peer-reviewed international journals and four patents. Together with colleagues from the UK and USA, he founded AngioDesign Ltd, a spinout company that focuses on the rational design of enhanced next-generation drugs for proven disease targets, such as ACE.
Rhian M Touyz
Professor Touyz is Director of the Institute of Cardiovascular & Medical Sciences and British Heart Foundation (BHF) Chair of Cardiovascular Medicine, Univ of Glasgow. She also directs the BHF Centre of Research Excellence in Vascular Biomedicine. She is a clinician-scientist focusing on experimental and clinical hypertension research, and honorary consultant at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital. She was the Canada Research Chair in Hypertension at the Kidney Research Centre, Univ of Ottawa, Canada. Dr Touyz received her BSc(Hons)(1980), MBBCh(1984), MSc(1986) and PhD(1992) in South Africa. She completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the Clinical Research Institute in Montreal. She has received numerous awards, including the Dahl Award (AHA), Harriet Dustan Research Award (AHA), Robert M. Berne Distinguished Award (American Physiological Society), RD Wright Award (BP Research Council, Australia), Irvine Page Award (ASH) and the Joan Mott Award (Physiology Society).
She is a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences. Prof Touyz co-chaired the Canadian Hypertension Education Program for clinical guidelines. She is past President of the Canadian Hypertension Society, past Chair of the High Blood Pressure Research Council (AHA), and immediate-past President of the International Society of Hypertension. She is the in-coming President of the European Council for Cardiovascular Research. She is Editor-in-Chief of Clinical Science, Deputy Editor of Hypertension, and Associate Editor of Pharmacological Reviews. She has trained over 45 graduate students and published over 445 peer-reviewed papers.
Angela Woodiwiss is an ad hominem full Professor of Physiology (since 2010), the current President of the Southern African Hypertension Society, Fellow of Physiological Society of Southern Africa and Director of the Cardiovascular Pathophysiology and Genomics Research Unit, in the School of Physiology at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa. She has 180 original publications (mostly in leading international journals in the cardiovascular field), over 4800 citations and an h-index of 40.
Professor Woodiwiss’s research interests are in understanding the mechanisms of cardiovascular disease, primarily hypertension and heart failure. Her research uses epidemiological and mechanistic approaches in human subjects, as well as in animal models. In her research, Professor Woodiwiss has unraveled the critical role of the non-cross-linked collagen and excluded other factors as mechanisms of cardiac dilatation in heart failure. Professor Woodiwiss together with Professor Norton established in 2003 the African Program on Genes in Hypertension (APOGH), the first large family-based cross-sectional and prospective population study ever conducted in Africa to identify the factors that determine ALL conventional and novel cardiovascular risk factors in groups of African ancestry. Her research into the genetic basis of hypertension focuses on the importance of gene-environment and gene-gene interactive approaches. She presently has special interests in the role of aortic dysfunction as a cause of premature cardiovascular events, the best approaches to risk prediction, and the impact of obesity and HIV on the cardiovascular system.
Gian Paolo Rossi
Dr Gian Paolo Rossi is currently Chair (Tenure track) of Internal Medicine, Department of Medicine-DIMED-Internal Medicine 4 University Hospital, Padua, Professor of Medicine, Department of Medicine University of Padua, Italy, Director of The High Blood Pressure Unit in The Department of Medicine, University of Padua Italy, Director of the International PhD Program Arterial Hypertension Vascular Biology, University of Padua Italy. He trained at the Dept. Heart & Hypertension Research at the Cleveland Clinic. He was visiting Scientist at German Institute for High Blood Pressure Research, Department of Pharmacology University of Heidelberg Germany, visiting Professor at Medical Academy of Gdansk Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology Berlin and the Egyptian Society of Hypertension.
He received his MD degree from University of Padua Magna cum laude as well as Post Graduate degree in Cardiology and in Endocrinology from the University of Padua. European Hypertension Specialist by European Society of Hypertension (ESH). He is member of European Society of Hypertension, The American College of Cardiology, The American Heart Association, The International Society of Hypertension. He has served in the Executive Board of the Italian Society of Hypertension, The European Council for Cardiovascular Research ECCR, of which was President in the term 2016-2017, and the International Aldosterone Conference, of which he was Chair in 2016-17. His also served as Editor-in-Chief of Frontiers in Cardiovascular Medicine – Hypertension section; member of the Editorial Board of The World Journal of Cardiology, The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, and Hypertension. He acted as International expert for the French INSERM for onsite visits aimed establishing new ISERM units. He is known for his leadership and coordination capabilities and was coordinator of working group on Endothelins and Endothelial Factors of the ESH, Primary Aldosteronism of the Italian Society of Hypertension, Principal Investigator of the Genica Study, the PAPY study, the PAPPHY Study, the Metras Study, and the ongoing I-Padua Study. He has a Hirsch Index of 65 (Google Scholar), has published 463papers in International Journals and written 25 chapters in different Books. He was selected for the Harry Goldblatt Award of the AHA; he has been awarded The Unindustria Treviso 2003 Awards, The 2013 TalalZein Award of the European Society of Hypertension, and The 2013 International Award For Publication Excellence in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism of the US Endocrine Society.
Maria-Christina Zennaro is Research Director at the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research (Inserm), head of the team “Genetic mechanisms of aldosterone related disorders” at the Paris Cardiovascular Research Center and associated investigator at the Genetics Department of the European Hospital Georges Pompidou (HEGP) in Paris, France.
She received her MD and board certification in Endocrinology at the University of Padova (Italy) and completed her PhD in Molecular Endocrinology at the University Pierre et Marie Curie in Paris (France). Her research team has developed a genome-wide strategy to explore the genetics and genomics of aldosterone related disorders, in order to generate knowledge translatable to patient’s care.
Maria-Christina Zennaro is coordinator of the EU-funded Horizon 2020 research and innovation project ENS@T-HT aiming at the development of an omics-based approach for patients with endocrine hypertension (www.ensat-ht.eu). She is president of the European Section of Aldosterone council (ESAC)-France, member of the Executive Committee of the International Aldosterone Conference, and member of the European Society of Hypertension – Centre of Excellence for Hypertension at HEGP. She has been awarded for her work by the Italian Societies of Internal Medicine, Hypertension, Endocrinology, the French Society of Nephrology, the International Aldosterone Conference and the Society for Endocrinology European Medal 2018.
Matthew Taylor is a senior PhD Candidate in William Rainey’s laboratory at the University of Michigan. The Rainey laboratory studies the mechanisms that control adrenal aldosterone production, including factors leading to dysregulation in primary aldosteronism. Matt’s presentation will detail his dissertation research that has culminated in the creation of an inducible and reversible mouse model of aldosterone excess that provides a model for primary aldosteronism. Matt previously received his B.S. in Brain, Behavior and Cognitive Science at University of Michigan in 2008. Following graduation, he worked as a research technician at University of Michigan in Dr. Yatrik Shah’s laboratory for 4 years studying the role of hypoxia inducible factors in gastrointestinal disease. Matt plans to graduate in December of this year and transition to post-doctoral training in an academic or pharmaceutical research setting.
Stuart Nicklin is Professor of Cardiovascular Molecular Therapy in the Institute of Cardiovascular and Medical Sciences at the University of Glasgow, UK. He completed his PhD at the Bristol Heart Institute, University of Bristol UK working on targeting adenoviral gene transfer vectors for cardiovascular gene therapy. Research interests are in investigating adverse cardiac and vascular remodelling and the role of the counter-regulatory axis of the renin angiotensin system in order to develop gene therapeutic interventions. Professor Nicklin is currently Deputy Editor of Cardiovascular Research and on the Editorial Board of Hypertension, Molecular Therapy and Human Gene Therapy.
Jean Martinez was a full Professor of organic chemistry, and of medicinal chemistry at the University of Montpellier till September 2017. He is actually Emeritus Professor. He received both his PhD and his Dr Sciences Degree from the University of Montpellier, under the supervision of Professor F. Winternitz. In 1976, he joined the group of Dr E. Bricas at Orsay, University of Paris Sud, as a post-doctorate fellow, and in 1977 the laboratory of Professor M. Bodanszky at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, USA, where he stayed till mid 1979.
In 2007, he founded the « Institut des Biomolécules Max Mousseron » (IBMM), being the Director until December 2014. He stayed as Head of the department of Amino Acids, Peptides and Proteins till September 2017. He served the University of Montpellier 1 as a Member of the Scientific Council for 8 years, and as Vice-President for 6 years (2009-2014).
He is recognized for his important contributions, at the interface of chemistry and biology, to the development of methodology in organic and peptide synthesis, design and synthesis of various potent and selective GPCR ligands, as well as biomaterials containing biomolecules. He has published over 900 original papers, 53 patents, and has been editor of several books. In 2012, he was accepted into the « Académie Nationale de Pharmacie », France, and in 2014 into the « Real Academia Nacional de Farmacia », Spain. In 2015, he has been nominated Docteur Honoris causa of the Jagellonian University of Kracow, Poland. He has received various national and international awards. He served the European Peptide Society as Member of the Executive Committee (1991-1998), Scientific Officer (1998-2001), and President (2001-2010).
Ulrike Muscha Steckelings
Ulrike Muscha Steckelings is a Professor of Integrative Pharmacology at the University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark. She is a physician by training and received her MD from the University of Heidelberg, Germany. She worked as PostDoc at the Department of Pharmacology, University of Heidelberg, the Dept. of Medicine, University of Melbourne, Australia and the Dept. of Cardiovascular Research, Ciba Geigy, Basel, Switzerland. Muscha has a specialisation in Dermatology and a “habilitation” (German qualification comparable to an extended PhD) in Experimental Pharmacology from Charité – Medical Faculty, Berlin, Germany. Her research focuses on the angiotensin AT2-receptor and comprises studies ranging from receptor pharmacology and signalling to pharmacological studies in preclinical disease models to the involvement in the clinical development of the angiotensin AT2-receptor agonist C21.
Muscha is past-President of the European Council for Cardiovascular Research, member of the Women in Research Committee of the International Society of Hypertension, member of the Editorial Board of Hypertension Research and Clinical Science and of the Steering Committee of the Gordon Research Conference on Angiotensin. She has been an invited speaker at international conferences on multiple occasions and is author of more than 90 peer-reviewed publications.
Marko Poglitsch completed his PhD at the Medical University of Vienna and started his career at Apeiron Biologics in 2009, where he developed a mass spectrometry based method for quantification of angiotensin metabolites in complex biological samples and where he set up a mass spectrometry platform. In 2012, he became founder and CEO of Attoquant, a research service provider with a strong focus on the mass spectrometry based biochemical characterization of the RAAS in complex biological samples. Since then, Attoquant has been involved in many research projects worldwide, providing RAS-Fingerprint services and specific bio-analysis know-how for researchers on a global basis. Dr. Poglitsch developed novel analytic approaches to assess the RAAS in routine clinical samples and developed novel RAS-Fingerprint based clinical biomarkers that are currently validated as diagnostic tools allowing personalized approaches in the treatment of hypertension and other RAAS related diseases.
Sandrine Lecour trained as a Doctor in Pharmacy at the University of Burgundy, France (1995) and obtained a PhD in Cardiovascular Physiology (2000) under the supervision of Prof Luc Rochette.
She is a Professor at the University of Cape Town, Deputy Director of the Hatter Institute for CArdiovascular Research in Africa, Leader of the Cardioprotection group within the Institute and co-Director of the Lionel Opie Preclinical Imaging (LOPI) Core Facility in South Africa.
Her research group focuses on the delineation of novel cardioprotective signaling pathways, including high density lipoproteins, sphingolipids and melatonin. Over the past few years, part of her research has focussed on the discovery of the Survivor Activating Factor Enhancement (SAFE) pathway.
Co-Founder and Past President of the South African Society for Cardiovascular Research (SASCAR), she is currently the treasurer of the International Society for Heart Research (ISHR) – European section and an affiliated Committee Member of the European Society of Cardiology working group on cellular biology of the heart.
B rated NRF researcher, she has published over 100 papers in peer-reviewed journals (H index = 34).
Colin Sumners is a Professor of Physiology & Functional Genomics at the University of Florida in Gainesville, FL, USA. He obtained BSc. (Honors) and PhD degrees from the University of Southampton, U.K, and followed that with two Postdoctoral Fellowships at the University of Groningen, the Netherlands, and the University of Florida. Dr. Sumners joined the faculty UF in 1982. During his entire career, his research has focused on the RAAS, primarily on angiotensin II and its functional effects mediated by the brain, in particular its cardiovascular actions in health and disease. His current research focus is on the protective angiotensin AT2 receptor in the brain, as a target for developing new therapeutics for ischemic stroke and hypertension. Dr. Sumners, a Fellow of the American Heart Association (AHA) Council on Hypertension, has received continuous research funding from the National Institutes of Health since 1984, including a 7-year Jacob Javits MERIT award, with additional grants from the AHA. Dr. Sumners has served on multiple NIH and AHA review committees, including Chair positions for both, and served a 4-year stint on the Steering Committee for the Gordon Research Conference on Angiotensin.