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News & Recognitions


Several of our PREP (Post-baccalaureate Research Education Program) students within  Hypertension and Vascular Research have been accepted to various Universities upon completion of the PREP at the end of July.  Congratulations to the following students: 

Ashley Smith working with Dr. David Soto Pantoja has been accepted into the PhD Programs at Vanderbilt University and Wake Forest University; Sierra Nance working with Dr. TanYa Gwathmey has been accepted into the PhD Program at the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor; Sierra Patterson working with Dr. Tina Brinkley has been accepted into a Masters of Science in Public Health at Emory University; Lillian Zerihun working with Dr. TanYa Gwathmey has been accepted into the MD/MPH Program at Columbia University.

Congratulations to Dr. Andrew South, who has received a Pilot Award funded by the Cardiovascular Sciences Center (CVSC) Pilot Fund Committee.  The title of the proposal is “Role of the Renin-Angiotensin System in Pediatric Essential Hypertension”. 

Anya Brown, Clinical Research Coordinator with Hypertension and Vascular  Research, organized a blood pressure screening booth for the “Share the Health” health fair run by WFSM Medical Students that was held in January.  Dr. Hossam ShaltoutOmar Shaltout, Anya Brown, Sara Arenas DeLeon (PREP Student) and IPP student Erica Ortiz provided blood pressure screenings for over  100 participants with 20% being referred to Physicians for follow-up on their blood pressure and possible diabetes.

IPP Graduate Student Marianne Collard, working withDrs. Ann Tallant and Patricia Gallagher, has been selected to present her poster,“Mechanisms of Action and Molecular Targets of Dietary Bioactive Components” for the American Society for Nutrition’s Emerging Leader Poster Competition at the upcoming 2017 Experimental Biology Conference in Chicago in April as well as present her studies at a podium presentation at the Experimental Biology Conference. 

IPP Graduate Student Omeed Rahimi, working withDrs. Ann Tallant and Patricia Gallagher, has co-founded a company (Encepheal Therapeutics) that received a Phase 1 SBIR (Small Business Innovation Research) Grant for 300K to fund the preclinical development of a therapeutic for cocaine addiction.

Neuroscience Graduate Student Alexa Hendricks, working with Dr. Debra Diz, will have an oral presentation and a poster for the “Perinatal Therapeutics and the Programming of Adult Cardiometabolic Disease” symposium at the 2017 Experimental Biology  Conference in April in Chicago.  She will be participating in the ASPET Student/postdoc poster competition and was awarded a travel award from the ASPET Mentoring Network: Coaching and Career Development Program.  Her titled abstract is “Fetal Betamethasone Exposure Markedly Attenuates the Protein Expression of Angiotensin Converting Enzyme 2 but not Dipeptidyl Peptidase 3 within the Brain Dorsomedial Medulla of Adult Female Sheep”.

Marianne Collard, Jessica Mackert and Alexa Hendricks all received Alumni Travel Awards for their presentations at the upcoming 2017 Experimental Biology Conference in Chicago in April.

Dr. Liliya Yamaleyeva will present studies on photoacoustic imaging of placental oxygenation as podium oral presentations at two upcoming meetings:  Society for Reproductive Investigation’s 64th Annual Scientific Meeting in Orlando, Florida and a Symposium at the 2017 Experimental Biology Conference in Chicago in April.

Dr. David Soto-Pantoja was selected as the Mid-Atlantic Research Program Symposium (MAPRS) Outstanding PREP Alumnus.  The MAPRS is held annually among regional institutions who offer Post-baccalaureate Research Program (PREP) or Initiative for Maximizing Student Development (IMSD) Programs.  WFSM PREP alumni have won 3 of the past 5 annual alumni awards.

Dr. Katherine Cook was invited to speak at the ACEA Biotechnologies Biosciences Immunotherapy Symposium at the end of March in Washington DC.

Dr. Katherine Cook has co-authored  “Lifetime Genistein Intake Increases the Response of Mammary Tumors to Tamoxifen in Rats”  for the February 2017 Clinical Cancer Research manuscript.

Hypertension and Vascular Research celebrated Women’s Heart Month with the “Buy a Heart, Give a Heart”.  With every $1 donation, a Red Heart was displayed in the hall of 6 Hanes.  An $87 donation to the American Heart Association in Honor of Dr. Bridget Brosnihan’s research in Women’s Health was made.  Great Job Amy Sharpe for leading this effort for Hypertension!!

Hypertension and Vascular Research held their Annual Go Red: Women’s Health Symposium on Tuesday, February 14th, 2017.  This year         the event honored Dr. Bridget Brosnihan’s dedication to Women’s Health Research.  Guest speakers included Dr. Katherine Sandberg             (Georgetown University), Dr. Lauren Anton Farrington(University of Pennsylvania), Dr. Liomar Neves (CorDynamics, Inc.) Dr. Lisa Cassis (University of Kentucky). 

Academic Journeys Seminar Series  with Dr. Carlos Rodriguez was held Thursday, 2/9/2017 (4-5) followed by cheese and wine reception at Biotech Place.  Dr. Rodriguez provided an overview of his career choices that put him on the path to his current position.  The presentation was well attended by trainees at various stages of their careers.

Dr. Patricia Gallagher was the invited speaker for the March Hypertension & Vascular Research Seminar series.  She updated us on the progress of studies on the effect of a muscadine grape extract on prostate/breast cancer and associated morbidities supported by a large donation from an anonymous donor.  Both preclinical and clinical investigations are progressing, as planned.  The Phase 1 clinical trial continues to accrue patients, to provide data on dosing and safety, and Phase 2 protocols are in development, with plans to open trials in breast and prostate cancer in the coming year.  Preclinical studies are providing support for the clinical trials, by demonstrating safety and efficacy in rodent models, defining mechanisms of action, and identifying novel responses to treatment with the extract in chronic disease models.  Data have been presented at meetings in the spring and fall of 2016 and will be presented at several national meetings this spring, with manuscripts to follow.  She expressed appreciation for the team contributing to the progress of the project, including clinical colleagues and their staff for participating in the clinical studies and basic research colleagues and their teams for continuing research efforts.  Finally, she expressed appreciation to the generous donor, who provides the support for these translational studies out of a personal interest in knowing whether these products are effective and who has no affiliation with the company that manufactures the investigational extract.

 Podcast Available: Associate Editor, Dr. Debra Diz, American Journal of Physiology: Heart and Circulatory Physiology, interviews Dr. Tatiana Baranova about her article on the genetics of vascular responses to the diving reflex in humans.  This is a first-ever podcast recorded in both Russian and English. Debra I. Diz (Wake Forest University School of Medicine), lead author Tatiana I. Baranova (St.-Petersburg State University, Russia), her translator Vladimir Boykov, and content expert Charles E. Wood (University of Florida) participate in the podcast about the influence of polymorphisms in the bradykinin and renin-angiotensin systems on hemodynamic responses to the diving reflex. What is the relevance of the potential functional implications of the mutations of the genes ADBR2, ACE, AGTR1, BDKRB2, and REN during transient hypoxia and how might this apply to personalized medicine? Listen to the podcast @


Liliya Yamaleyeva’s abstract titled “Hemodynamic and Renoprotective Actions of (Pyr1)-Apelin-13 in Preeclampsia” was selected for oral presentation at the Society for Reproductive Investigation’s 63rd Annual Scientific Meeting. Yamaleyeva LM, Brosnihan KB, McGee C, Shi S, Varagic J, Bader M, Dechend RShaltout HA, “Hemodynamic and Renoprotective Actions of (Pyr1)-Apelein-13 in Preeclampsia”, Society for Reproductive Investigation’s 63rd Annual Scientific Meeting, March 16-19, 2016, Montreal, Canada.

Podcast Available: please listen to a recent podcast where Dr. Debra Diz interviews Dr. Marc Reitman about his findings that the brain Bombesin receptor 3 may play a role in blood pressure regulation.  Dr. Amy Arnold, former IPP graduate student, serves as the content expert for the podcast.  You may listen to the podcast here:

A note from AJP-Heart and Circulatory Physiology.  "We ensure every AJP-Heart and Circ podcast is discoverable through multiple channels. Not only do we link the podcast to the article, but we also post on our Facebook page (AJPHeartandCirc) and Twitter feed (@ajpheartcirc), as well as prominently feature the podcast and article on our journal homepage ( in addition to our podcast website ( As well, every AJP-Heart and Circ podcast is downloadable on iTunes."

 Bryan Wilson has been selected to receive the 2016 Mid-Atlantic PREP/IMSD Research Symposium Distinguished PREP Alumni Award and has been invited to give a talk and receive the award at the 4th Annual MAPRS meeting May 25th and 26th 2016 at Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA  

Bryan was also selected by the local chapter of the American Heart Association to give a talk in June for the 1st Annual AHA Emerging Leaders’ Summit in Greensboro.  

Alexa Hendrick’s abstract was selected for an oral presentation and poster session at the ASPET Annual Meeting at Experimental Biology 2016, in San Diego, CA, April 2-6, 2016.  

Alexa Hendricks and A’ja Duncan were accepted into the Future Leaders Advancing Research in Endocrinology (FLARE) program, run by the Endocrine Society. A workshop was held Feb 4-6 in Los Angeles with a  two day training session teaching participants the “business of research” and establishing themselves as independent researchers. They will also have the opportunity to interview and serve on one society governance committee. 

A’ja Duncan’s abstract “Beneficial Cardiovascular Effects of Muscadine Grape Extract in Normotensive Female Rats” was selected for a poster session at the ASN Annual Meeting at EB 2016, in San Diego CA, April 2-6, 2016.  Abstract was selected for ASN Emerging Leaders in Nutrition Science Poster Competition.

Bryan Wilson’s latest publication titled, “Evidence for a Mitochondrial Angiotensin-(1-7) System in the Kidney” was selected to be a part of the February 2016 APSselect featured articles and was acknowledged with a certificate for distinction in scholarship in the American Journal of Physiological-Renal Physiology

TanYa Gwathmy-Williams was awarded the AHA Council for Epidemiology and Lifestyle Young Investigator Travel Award and the NIDDK – National Minority Research Investigators Travel Award to attend the Southeast Regional Workshop

Nancy Pirro (20 years) and Sarah Smith (30 years) received Service Awards for their contribution to the Wake Forest Health Sciences over the many years!

Several members of the Hypertension Center presented their work at the AHA High Blood Pressure Research Scientific Sessions Meeting in September of 2015. There were 12 abstracts presented with 3 oral presentations by Bryan WilsonDr. Hossam Shaltout, and Dr. Liliya M. Yamaleyeva; 4 abstracts were selected to be presented at the AHA Scientific Sessions in November.

Mark Chappell, PhD has been invited to the Gordon Research Conference Angiotensin 2016 Conference in Tuscany, Italy in February 2016.  The title of his presentation is “Evidence for an Intracellular Angiotensin-(1-7) Axis”.

Mark Chappell, PhD has been invited to the National AHA meeting in Orlando FL.  He will be presenting “Fetal Origins of Adult Cardiovascular Disease (Control#: 10309) in a Cardiovascular Seminar entitled Early Childhood Influences on Adult Cardiovascular Disease: Can We Intervene Successfully?” He will also present “Update on Angiotensin Converting Enzyme 2-angiotensin (1-7)-MAS receptor axis: fetal programming, sex differences and intracellular pathways (Control#: 1644) in a Hybrid entitled Sex Differences in Hypertension”.

Drs.Patricia Gallagher and Ann Tallant were featured in the September edition of Winston-Salem Magazine, along with some other investigators who work with Wake Forest Innovations.  The article is focused on thier studies on angiotensin-(1-7) and stroke prevention in women.  Please follow the link to view the full article:

The Hypertension Core Laboratory has changed names as well as moved its location.  Now called The Biomarker Analytical Core, the new address is Biotech Place:  575 N. Patterson Avenue, Suite 134 Winston Salem, NC 27101.  You may reach the lab by phone at 336-716-3553 or by fax at 336-716-2295

The annual Tanglewood Heart and Stroke Walk was held Saturday, October 17th at Tanglewood Park.  This year the amount raised for the American Heart Association has totaled $459, 475 and still counting.  Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center has raised $62,256 to date, with the Hypertension and Tallant Girl Scout Teams raising $2,707 to date. GREAT JOB!!!!!!!!  


 Katherine L. Cook, Ph.D. Assistant Professor in the Comprehensive Cancer Center
Hypertension and Vascular Research Center, received a 2-year (01/2016-01/2018) "Living in Pink/Prevent Cancer Partnership Award” from the Prevent Cancer Foundation titled "Prevention of Obesity-induced Breast Cancer and Tamoxifen Drug Resistance." This project investigates the impact of various obesity-inducing diets enriched in differing fatty acids compositions (e.g. saturated vs. unsaturated vs. polyunsaturated fats) on breast tumorigenesis and chemotherapy responsiveness. The studies are focusing on how dietary fats may promote cellular stress pathway signaling to favor cancer development. Moreover, we aim to develop a metabolomic profile from mammary glands of mice on varying diets.

Hossam Shaltout, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in the Hypertension and Vascular Research Center and the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology was awarded a 4-year (01/1/16 to 12/31/19) American Heart Association Scientist Development Grant titled “Comprehensive Assessment of Vascular and Autonomic Function in Children with Low Vitamin D” The goals of this project are to determine the role of vitamin D deficiency in the autonomic impairment seen in children with orthostatic intolerance and whether vitamin D supplementation can improve the autonomic function in these children.

 Dr. David Soto-Pantoja received NIH/NCI K22 grant September 1 titled, “Therapeutic targeting of CD47 regulates tumor cell bioenergetics and mitophagy”. The objectives of this work is to find novel mechanisms to reduce tumor growth, overcome the development of resistance to chemotherapy and reduce metastasis of breast cancer which is responsible for over 40,000 deaths every year in the U.S. Also many chemotherapeutic agents have harmful side effects particularly in the cardiovascular system. Novel pathways that can be used as targets to overcome cardiotoxicity and protect vascular tissue while simultaneously sensitizing the tumor to chemotherapy will be studied in this project.

Dr. Liliya M. Yamaleyeva received an R21 grant titled: “Longitudinal assessments of placental oxygenation and perfusion using ultrasound and photoacoustics” by NICHD. This proof of concept study will provide a validation of photoacoustic imaging for the assessments of placental oxygenation/hypoxia during pregnancy and will offer an avenue for future clinical application of this technology. A multidisciplinary team includes: Dr. Aaron Mohs, an Assistant Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, Dr. Yao Sun, a Research Associate at the Department of Radiology of WFSM. Professors K. Bridget Brosnihan, (General Surgery/Hypertension), Jim Rose, and Robert Taylor, (Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology) of WFSM will serve as an Internal Advisors on this project.  For more information on the Human Placental Project that funded this research, please go to: NIH invests $46 million in technologies to monitor placental health



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