The SWCF helps a young researcher attend a San Fransico conference

High Blood Pressure Research (HBPR) Scientific Sessions—San Francisco (September 2014)

I am a Postdoctoral Fellow working at the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology at Karolinska Institutet, Sweden. My current research projects focus on investigating the role of renal and cardiovascular functions in health and diseases.

Cardiovascular diseases are a major health problem worldwide, resulting in an enormous economic burden to the society. Hypertension is one of the most common chronic cardiovascular disorders, with a great proportion linked to renal dysfunction. The kidneys contribute profoundly to maintaining the homoeostasis of body fluid volumes and electrolytes balance, which play key roles in long-term regulation of blood pressure. Many years ago it was proposed that low nephron numbers during nephrogenesis and high salt consumption in the diet are related to subsequent development of hypertension and renal disease in the adult life. However the mechanisms underlying the pathogenesis remain unclear and further studies are urgently needed.

One of our group’s research interests is revealing the role of adenosine signalling pathways in regulating the renal and cardiovascular functions. Adenosine is a classical extracellular signaling molecule. The adenosine signaling pathway plays crucial roles in the control of circulation homeostasis via the regulation of vascular tone, in particular the resistance vessels. Moreover, adenosine is involved in modulating the kidney glomerular filtration rate (GFR) and the tubuloglomerular feedback (TGF) function through the interaction with the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system. We hypothesized that adenosine signalling is critically involved in the development of renal hypertension and the complications that follow.

Our group had established a stable model of hypertension and renal disease in rodents. Using this disease model, we demonstrated that the NADPH oxidase mediated free radical formation and the inflammatory responses may be the key mechanisms that adenosine signaling regulates the organ functions during the progress of renal and cardiovascular disorders.

The American Heart Association’s High Blood Pressure Research Scientific Sessions is an influential international conference in the field of hypertension research, which is held every year. Thanks to the support of a travel grant from the Simon Wolff Charitable Foundation, I attended this conference in September 2014 and presented one of my ongoing projects there. This premier meeting attracts outstanding experts all around the world working in the fields of hypertension and other closely related diseases, e.g. renal and cardiac disease, metabolic disorders, neurological dysfunctions etc. The conference focuses on the most recent advances in hypertension research and provides multiple opportunities to the attendees, especially junior investigators, to present and discuss their work.

The title of the work I presented at the conference was “Adenosine A3 receptors regulate oxidative stress and inflammatory responses in a model of hypertension and renal disease”. I was gratified to receive multiple questions and comments on my presentation. Talking to scientists from a variety of disciplines was a great experience for me and has helped me to advance my knowledge about the field. In addition, attending this meeting gave me the opportunities to connect with other world-leading researchers in similar fields, which was most helpful in terms of developing potential collaborations in future.

I appreciate the generous support of the Simon Wolff Charitable Foundation. Such financial contribution towards travel expenses is a very useful support for junior investigators who wish to attend international conferences to benefit from the interaction and communication of information at these excellent global events.

Ting Yang, M.D., Ph.D.
Department of Physiology and Pharmacology
Karolinska Institutet
Stockholm, Sweden

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