Project Title: Sympathetic Nervous System Regulation of the NCC in Salt Sensitive Hypertension.
How would you sum up your research in one sentence?
My project investigates the regulatory mechanisms by which the sympathetic nervous system modulates renal sodium excretion and blood pressure via the sodium chloride cotransporter or NCC.
Provide a brief overview of the research you will conduct with help from the grant.
The mechanisms governing the development of salt sensitive hypertension are not fully understood; however the sympathetic nervous system is thought to play a key role in salt sensitive hypertension by driving renal sodium retention and long term increases in blood pressure. Using animal models as well as human kidney samples I will investigate the regulatory pathways that promote salt resistance versus salt sensitivity in hopes of providing novel therapeutic targets for the treatment of salt sensitive hypertension. More specifically, this project will examine the regulation of the sodium chloride cotransporter (NCC) in response to increased dietary sodium.
What impact do you hope your research will have on patients?
Approximately 50% of hypertensive patients and 25% of normotensive individuals are salt sensitive. The excess dietary sodium found in the typical wester diet underscores the need for research into the mechanisms of salt sensitive hypertension. This program has the potential to reveal new therapeutic targets to combat the development of hypertension in individuals that demonstrate the salt sensitivity of blood pressure.
What are your short and long-term career goals?
I hope to successfully defend my dissertation at the end of the grant period and apply for post-doctoral fellowship training positions. Within the five years, I aim to have a faculty position as independent investigator. Ultimately, within ten years, I would like to be the head of my own research laboratory consisting of undergraduates, graduate students, and post-docs alike.
What inspired you to focus your research on the kidney?
The kidney is a complex organ and I was extremely interested in the delicate balance between sodium reabsorption and blood pressure control. The kidney’s ability to modulate blood pressure via small alterations in sodium retention is quite fascinating. As result, I choose to enter the kidney research field to achieve a greater understanding of renal physiology.
In one sentence, please describe the importance of having grant funding available through the ASN Foundation.
The grant funding through the ASN Foundation provides critical funding that allows me to pursue multiple project aims that would otherwise be difficult to conduct due to costs.
What advice would you give to others to encourage them to apply for this grant funding?
Grant writing is a skill that one achieves with time and many rejections. Understanding your weaknesses and being critical of your work may not result in grant funding however, it will make your grant applications better with each try.