The Hypertension Research Laboratory
Integrating microbes and molecular biology to prevent cardiovascular disease
Welcome to our lab!
The purpose of our laboratory is to build exceptional scientists that help to improve cardiovascular health.
We develop multidimensional approaches to examine the mechanisms that regulate blood pressure and how it leads to cardiovascular disease, while creating a productive and friendly environment where we can educate the next generation of scientists. We work in multi-disciplinary teams that reflect the complexity of blood pressure regulation to facilitate advancing research and translation of our findings.
First evidence that the gut microbiome of patients with heart failure with preserved ejection fraction is altered
Evidence that the gut microbiome has a distinct profile in human hypertension and blood pressure variability
Want to learn everything about gut microbiota in hypertension?
Check out our latest review published in Nature Reviews Nephrology.
Our guidelines paper published in Hypertension
The STORMS guidelines for reporting human microbiome studies we contributed to, published in Nature Medicine
Evidence that gut microbial substances lower blood pressure in patients published in Nature Cardiovascular Research.
The last few years have been very successful for our team! In 2021, Francine won the prestigious Australian Academy of Science Gottschalk Medal, the International Society of Hypertension Mid-Career Award, and the Women's Agenda STEM Award.
In 2022 alone, our team members were finalists or recipients of 29 awards across the International Society of Hypertension, High Blood Pressure Research Council of Australia, 10x Genomics, Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand, EMBL and others - just WOW. Photos of some of our awards can be seen here
Our diversity statement
"We understand that scientific excellence depends on creativity, that creativity emerges from diversity, and that the advantages of diversity are realized through inclusion." - David Asai
Our lab members acknowledge that diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) are key foundations for excellence in science. However, discrimination and unconscious biases continue to perpetuate in research. DEI is important to us and it aligns with our team's values:
Integrity and teamwork: We acknowledge that institutionalized discrimination persists in science. We are committed to fostering an environment where everybody has the same opportunities.
Innovation: We understand that innovation emerges from curiosity and creativity, and that these emerge from diversity, so we strive to promote a diverse and inclusive workplace for all.
Respect: We understand and challenge our unconscious biases on a regular basis and hold each other accountable. We amplify the voices of under-represented groups. We respect and embrace diverse opinions and create a safe work environment.
Unlocking the Mysteries of Blood Pressure Regulation
There is emerging evidence that the microbes that inhabit our colon, also known as the gut microbiota, might have a role in the regulation of blood pressure. Consumption of a diet high in fibre increases gut microbiota populations that generate short chain fatty acids (SCFAs). We have determined that a diet rich in fibre or SCFA modulates gut microbes and prevents the development of cardiovascular disease. We are now trying to understand the mechanisms involved, how the gut and its microbes communicate with other key tissues, as well as performing clinical trials to decrease the burden of cardiovascular disease through prevention of hypertension.