Drs. Gerald DiBona and John Hall receive American Heart Association/Novartis award

ORLANDO, Sept. 18 Gerald DiBona, M.D., and John Hall, Ph.D., the winners of this year's Novartis Award for Hypertension Research, discovered two important mechanisms that link hypertension and subtle abnormalities of kidney function. Their work demonstrated that malfunctioning kidneys are important in causing hypertension, rather than occurring as a result of hypertension-induced damage. The award is given each year at the American Heart Association's Council for High Blood Pressure Research meeting to recognize major research advances.

DiBona, a researcher and clinician at the Iowa City Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center and a professor at the University of Iowa College of Medicine, investigates how nerves control kidney function. He discovered that increased nerve activity to the kidney causes the body to react in certain ways that contribute to increased blood pressure.

His research turned the medical arena's understating of kidney function upside down; until now, the scientific community had not recognized the full role of the nerves in the kidney. "Our work was challenging and it reversed many years of prevailing opinion. Rather than a blast of light or a big bang, it was more a slow accumulation of evidence that nerve activity was significant in kidney function." says DiBona, who is also foreign adjunct professor at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden.

DiBona has also received VA's prestigious William Middleton Award for his work at the Iowa City VA Medical Center, where he has served as chief of medical services and staff physician for 33 years.

Hall, while serving as the chairman of the department of physiology and director of the Center for Excellence in Cardiovascular-Renal Research at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, has focused his work on kidney function and hypertension. His research explores pressure-natriuresis in the long-term regulation of blood pressure, or how high blood pressure relates to the k

Contact: Suzanne Grant
American Heart Association

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