International Society of Hypertension

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Women In Hypertension Spotlight


Professor Margaret (Mandy) MacLean (UK)

Position: Professor of Pulmonary Pharmacology

Affiliation: University of Glasgow, Scotland, UK

1. What is your role at your work?

Currently my main roles are research, postgraduate support and public engagement.

2.     How did you get interested in your career path?

I did an undergraduate degree in pharmacology and after a couple of postdoctoral positions became interested in how hypoxia affects the cardiovascular system. Whilst I started looking at placental arteries (freshly ‘delivered’ every day!), attendance at a conference on pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) sold me on this field after listening to talks from Glennis Haworth and Tim Higgenbottam (in 1990).

3.     What are you most proud of in your career or otherwise?

I received an MBE from the Queen for ‘Services to Science’ and that was a wonderful surprise! I have seen a few of my pre-clinical studies contribute to the translation of basic science into treatments for PAH including endothelin antagonists, sildenafil and looking ahead I am hopeful for aromatase inhibitors and metformin. Recently I am proud that our work is leading to a greater understanding of why more women than men develop PAH. My daughter's graduation with a First in Pharmacology (nature, not nurture!)

Mandy Maclean receiving MBE
Receiving my MBE with my wonderful family at Holyrood Palace in 2013

Mandy Maclean
Receiving the BPS AstraZeneca Prize for Women in Pharmacology in 2013

 4.     What important career challenges have you faced and how did you overcome them?

I brought up two children on my own which presented quite a challenge. Looking back I think it was multi-tasking, good time management, working outside normal hours and a fantastic reliable childminder that saw me through! Of course keeping an active research group going required constant grant funding which is a challenge to us all. I think perseverance and a belief in your research ideas are needed to succeed.

5.     What advice would you give your younger self?

Ignore the doubts of others and believe in yourself. Aim high. Persevere. Work hard. Don’t take rejection personally. Seek out good mentors. Pamper yourself at least once a month!

6.     Highlight your most significant research contributions and publications (3-5) - if relevant to you.

1.             First to identify PDE5 a potential target in PAH. Sidenafil later approved for use in PAH.  Maclean et al., J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 1997 Nov;283(2):619-24.

2.             Earliest pre-clinical work interrogating the importance of the ETB receptor in PAH. Mixed antagonists later approved for use in PAH. McCulloch KM, MacLean MR. J Cardiovasc Pharmacol. 1995;26 Suppl 3:S169-76.

3.      Endogenous estrogen is pathogenic in pulmonary hypertension. Aromatase inhibitors are being clinically trialled for PAH. Mair K et al. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2014 Aug 15;190(4):456-67.

4.      Targeting CYP1B1 and estrogen metabolism may be a novel therapeutic approach in PAH. Circulation. 2012 Aug 28;126(9):1087-98.

5.      Decreased BMPR2 signalling in the pulmonary artery may predispose women to PAH. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2015 Mar 15;191(6):693-703.

7.     Have you had any significant career mentors? If yes, please provide further details.

Professor Glennis Haworth. Great Ormond Street.

Professor Rod Flower, Willian Harvey Research Institute.

Thank you!

8.     How can we support the next generation of women scientists?

Through encouragement, supportive work environment and provision of role models.

Receiving the BPS AstraZeneca prize for Women in Pharmacology in 2013


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