International Society of Hypertension

New Investigators Network

New Investigator Network
Member Spotlight


June 2012 Spotlight - Anna-Clara Collén

Anna-Clara Collén

Department of Medicine,
Sahlgrenska University Hosptial/Östra,
Gothenburg, Sweden

How did you become interested in research relating to Hypertension?

My supervisor enthusiastically involved me in the Hypertension Clinic when I started working at Sahlgrenska University Hospital/Östra in 2003. I started research within the field a few years later. 

Describe your research & the program/lab (info of your supervisor) that you are in?

We do mainly clinical research on different aspects of hypertension and its connection to neurohumoral system and effects on cardiovascular structure and function. My research project focuses on women with previous hypertensive pregnancies.

What do you consider to be your substantial scientific contribution so far (provide Pubmed PMID if possible)?

‘Sympathetic nerve activity in women 40 years after a hypertensive pregnancy’

J Hypertens. 2012 Jun;30(6):1203-1210, PMID: 22473021

What is your favourite manuscript from a lab other than your own (provide Pubmed PMID if possible)?

Manuscripts from the well-known labs doing research in sympathetic nerve activity are always interesting, for example ‘Sympathetic neural activity in hypertension and related diseases’ G Grassi Am J Hypertens. 2010, PMID 20651696; ‘Gender-selective interaction between aging, blood pressure, and sympathetic nerve activity’ K Narkiewicz et al. Hypertension 2005, PMID 15767469 and ‘Relation between cardiac sympathetic activity and hypertensive left ventricular hypertrophy, Schlaich et al. Circulation 2003, PMID 12847071

What facilities are essential for your research?

While examining the women in our follow-up study after hypertensive pregnancies, availability to laboratories at Sahlgrenska University Hospital/Östra and Sahlgrenska were essential. We used validated methods for blood pressure measurements and examinations of cardiovascular and sympathetic structure and function at these sites.

Not facilities, but still essential, are professional and supportive supervisors and co-workers. When you have help and support from a team of research fellows and from your family almost anything can be done!

Where do your research strengths lie? Why? What are your research weaknesses? How will you improve?

My strength in research is my ability to get things done, a good mood and that I enjoy writing. You need self-discipline while doing research which – at times – can be quite lonely.

My weaknesses are a lack of patience and the tendency to hurry through tasks without trying to solve problems before they appear.  I try to become more patient, think through and discuss upcoming work before starting something new.

Describe your unforgettable (proudest) moment in science, and the most challenging situation that you have had to overcome (lessons learnt) so far?

Receiving an e-mail from the editorial office at Journal of Hypertension with acceptance of the article ‘Sympathetic nerve activity in women 40 years after a hypertensive pregnancy’ was a proud moment!

It is challenging to try to get together all your data and see the results in a perspective and what it means – both to your own research as well as to the population you study.


At which conference did you first present? How was your experience?

My first oral presentation was at European Stroke Conference in Stockholm in 2009. It was on a follow-up study of stroke patients and it was a challenging and fun experience!

At ESH 2010 in Oslo I first presented preliminary results from our study of sympathetic nerve activity in women with hypertensive pregnancies 40 years earlier.

What upcoming conferences will you be attending, and what is the furthest distance that you have traveled for a conference?

I will be attending American Society of Hypertension annual scientific meeting in New York City, May 2012. I hope to be able to go another ESH meeting within the next year or two. New York City in the US is the furthest I have travelled so far.

How did you learn about ISH/NIN and its activities?

I first learned about ISH at the ESH meeting in Milan in 2007. Associate professor Bo Carlberg has made me aware of the different activities in ISH/NIN.

What area(s) do you wish to specialize in the future?

I wish to learn more about the connection between sympathetic activity and dysfunction and metabolic disturbances. Also, I enjoy doing clinical research where you get to see connections between the subjects you study and the patients almost right away.

Who is your role model in Science? Why?

My supervisor associate professor Karin Manhem always has encouraging and valuable advice and she is never out of ideas regarding new approaches to our research. 

I admire everyone who is able to get their life situation with research, clinical work and family together!

What are your scientific goals? Advise for talented emerging scientists?

My present goal is to finish my PhD and then continue to combine clinical research with patient related work at the Department of Medicine at Sahlgrenska University Hospital/Östra.

When doing research – work hard, be patient, keep an open mind and listen to advice and all knowledge among people around you.


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