Richard Wainford, Ph.D.


Assistant Professor of Pharmacology

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I have successfully established my fully independent R01 funded research program in the Department of Pharmacology & Experimental Therapeutics and the Whitaker Cardiovascular Institute at the Boston University School of Medicine. Owing to the substantial health risks and financial costs associated with high blood pressure (hypertension) the goal of our research program is to investigate the central neural counter-regulatory mechanisms that prevent dietary salt-induced elevations blood pressure (salt-resistance) and potential impairments in these brain systems that result in the development of salt-sensitive hypertension. Specifically, we are defining the role(s) of Gαi2-subunit protein-gated pathways located within the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus in the endogenous anti-hypertensive sympathoinhibitory, natriuretic and diuretic mechanisms activated in salt-resistant versus salt-sensitive subjects during high salt challenge.

My background in neuropharmacology and neurophysiology and my specific expertise in the area of central neural control of blood pressure and fluid and electrolyte homeostasis has enabled my rapid development as an independent researcher in the field of brain control mechanisms. Our research program has significant translational implications via 1) the potential for stimulating the development of new anti-hypertensive medications through enhancing our understanding of the central GPCR mechanisms operating to prevent the development of salt-sensitive hypertension and, 2) potentially providing a new biomarker of hypertension susceptibility – a fact highlighted by my invited talk at Experimental Biology 2012 in the Translation Biomarkers of Hypertension: Insights from Animal Models Session. My research program has led to numerous awards (see below) including the 2012 American Physiological Society Dean Franklin Young Investigator Award.

In summary, I have a demonstrated track record of successful and productive research projects in the area central neural control of blood pressure regulation which is a field of high significance for both the US and world populations.