International Society of Hypertension

Summary of the Nordic-Baltic Regional University Research Course

19-21 September 2019, Gdansk, Poland

Over the years the Hypertension societies in the Nordic countries have held bi-annual courses for young researchers and PhD students. Now we wanted to expand this to the Baltic Sea region and involve academic organisations and individuals from neighbouring countries. This resulted in a Nordic-Baltic Regional University Research Course held 19-21 September 2019, Gdansk, Poland, with Professor Krzysztof Narkiewicz, Medical University of Gdansk, as the local host, and with financial support by the International Society of Hypertension (ISH), Regional Activity Group (RAG) Europe, under the chairmanship of Professor Peter M Nilsson, Lund University in Sweden. One of the Faculty members was the President-elect of the ISH, Professor Maciej Tomaszewski, University of Manchester, UK, who lectured on the genetics of hypertension in the GWAS era. Also Professor Ulrike (Muscha) Steckelings, South Denmark University, Odense, Denmark, who is Chair, ISH Women in Hypertension Committee, lectured at the course, talking about the renin-angiotensin system and cerebrovascular disease.

The course was also endorsed by the European Society of Hypertension (ESH), Polish Society of Hypertension and the Medical University of Gdansk.  

A program committee organised the scientific programme for three days with a focus on Hypertension and Cardiovascular disease: Focus on Brain, Cognition, Stroke and Sympathetic Nervous System Activation. In total 50 young PhD-students attended the course with its Faculty of 25 lecturers. It was important to cover different aspects of epidemiology, mechanisms, clinical aspects and treatment, but also to encourage group discussions when the students could present their own projects and receive feed-back from 3-4 faculty members. A state-of-the-art lecture was provided by Professor Stèphane Laurent, Paris, on the Reversibility of Early Vascular Ageing – EVA: to what extent?

 One of the ISH New Investigators, Dr. Lyudmila Korostovtseva, St. Petersburg, Russia, summarized as follows:

I found the whole course really insightful and interesting. All the talks were inspiring and informative. A quite unexpected debate session on the SPRINT study with Professor Sverre Kjeldsen, Oslo, was brainstorming and mind opening. I believe that such a course which implies combination of lectures, interactive sessions and practical group discussions is the most efficient to receive the knowledge and to develop within the professional field. Moreover, the atmosphere was extremely warm and friendly favourable for networking, discussion, meeting mentors and supervisors which is so important for the early career researchers. I am sure that every participant has enjoyed and profited enormously from this meeting, and I would like to express the gratitude to all the organizers for the opportunity to be the part of it. Undoubtedly, the Nordic-Baltic Region University Research Course is a memorable, important and thought-provoking experience which will help the PhD participants for further research career development.

ISH New Investigator, Dr Mattias Brunström, Umeå University, Sweden, lectured on how to interpret findings from observational analyses compared to randomized controlled trials. His comment was the following:

The course offered a unique opportunity to network and interact with the most prominent hypertension researchers within the Nordic-Baltic region, as well as tomorrow’s leaders in hypertension.

 The great hospitality of our Polish hosts contributed to a friendly atmosphere and good learning. The next similar Nordic-Baltic PhD course is planned to take place in Denmark in 2021 under the leadership of Professor Michael H Olsen as the local host, and with contribution from the other countries and their hypertension societies and academic institutions.


Peter M Nilsson, ISH-RAG Europe



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