January 2017 spotlight of the month
First Assistant Manager, Department of Nephrology, Yokosuka City Hospital; Visiting Researcher, Department of Medical Science and Cardiorenal Medicine, Yokohama City University Graduate School of Medicine; Director, The Kobayashi Medical Clinic, Japan.
- How did you become interested in research relating to Hypertension and Cardiovascular Disease?
When I was a PhD student in the Graduate School of Medicine at Yokohama City University, Dr. Satoshi Umemura (Former president of the Japanese Society of Hypertension) provided me with the research project: “To clarify the relationship between hypertension and its candidate gene, ATP2B1, using conditional knockout mice.” This study led me to the world of hypertension research.
- Describe your research & the program/lab (info of your supervisor) that you are in?
Our research projects are mainly focused on the genetics of hypertension and cardiovascular disease. We are currently doing studies on both humans and animal models. Dr. Nobuhito Hirawa (Associate Professor, Yokohama City University Medical Center) and Dr. Keisuke Yatsu (Assistant Professor, Yokohama City University Hospital) are leading our research team.
Furthermore, I conduct my original research of orthostatic blood pressure regulation, arterial stiffness and autonomic function in patients with life-style related diseases at the Kobayashi Medical Clinic, supervised by Dr. Tetsuya Fujikawa (Associate Professor, Yokohama National University) and Dr. Hideo Kobayashi (Chief Director, the Kobayashi Medical Clinic).
- What do you consider to be your substantial scientific contribution so far (provide Pubmed PMID if possible)?
I would like to introduce the manuscript “Mice lacking hypertension candidate gene ATP2B1 in vascular smooth muscle cells show significant blood pressure elevation” (published in Hypertension, 2012; PMID: 22311909) as my substantial scientific contribution. It was the first report that confirmed the relationship between ATP2B1 and hypertension in an animal model.
- What is your favourite manuscript from a lab or mentor other than your own (provide Pubmed PMID if possible)?
As I often use cardio-ankle vascular index (CAVI) for the index of arterial stiffness, the paper by Dr. Noriko Satoh-Asahara et al. that firstly confirmed the relationship between CAVI and the incidence of cardiovascular disease (published in Atherosclerosis, 2015; PMID: 26295798) is one of my favourite papers.
- Where do your research strengths lie? Why? What are your research weaknesses? How will you improve?
My father works as a cardiologist at his own clinic - the Kobayashi Medical Clinic. This fortunate environment enables me to accumulate enormous longitudinal data and conduct research.
The weakness of my research is the limitation in scale because this is single clinic research. Thus, we have to cooperate with other clinics or hospitals in order to enlarge the scale for the next step of the research project.
- Describe your unforgettable (proudest) moment in science, and the most challenging situation that you have had to overcome (lessons learnt) so far?
My proudest and most unforgettable moment has to be when I won the Austin Doyle Award at the 26th Scientific Meeting of the International Society of Hypertension (Hypertension Seoul 2016).
My most challenging situation was when I decided to accept the offer of changing my presentation in a poster session to the Austin Doyle Award (oral) session. At first I thought that I should not choose the oral session because I am not good at speaking in English. However, I thought “If I don’t risk anything, I won’t gain anything” and finally decided to accept the offer.
Then I prepared and tried hard to make the best presentation at the conference. Overall, I learned from the experience that the saying “Nothing ventured, nothing gained” is true.
- At which conference did you first present? How was your experience?
My first time presenting at an international conference was the 23rd Scientific Meeting of the International Society of Hypertension (Vancouver, 2010). I was nervous about my first English presentation and debate in public; on the other hand, it was a nice opportunity for me to recognize how important it is to debate with foreign researchers and gain new knowledge.
- How did you learn about ISH/NIN and its activities?
I learned about ISH/NIN when I attended the 23rd Scientific Meeting of the International Society of Hypertension.
- What area(s) do you wish to specialize in the future?
I would like to specialize in preventive and preemptive medicine of life-style related diseases such as hypertension using genetic research.
- Who is your role model in Science? Why?
Dr. Nobuhito Hirawa is my role model in science. He is a great generalist of internal medicine as well as a researcher of hypertension and nephrology.
- What are your scientific goals? Advice for talented emerging scientists?
I would like to be a generalist of internal medicine and also a clinical researcher of preventive and preemptive medicine to perform appropriate personalized medicine for all patients.
My advice for all emerging scientist is to keep the passion for your research and never give up!