Research environment in the Hypertension and Vascular Research Division at Henry Ford Hospital
The Henry Ford Health System (HFHS) is a major research and teaching institution in southeastern Michigan. Currently we are conducting approximately 1700 basic and clinical research projects that bring in more than $50 million ranking us 20th among independent research hospitals within the U.S. and fourth in the state of Michigan among all academic institutions, including the major public research universities (University of Michigan, Wayne State University and Michigan State University). Here 80 full-time research scientists have formed an established core of basic and translational science in 5 centers of excellence. Altogether the wet bench lab space for basic research exceeds 100,000 sq. ft. divided among 45 separate laboratories. HFHS has several core research facilities including MRI, electron microscopy, fluorescence-activated cell sorting, statistical, confocal/imaging (offering a variety of whole animal imaging modalities and laser scanning and two photon confocal microscopes). The system also provides more than $11 million a year from an endowment to support funded investigators and their laboratories.
Henry Ford's AAALAC-approved research facilities are staffed by a full-time licensed veterinarian and trained veterinary technicians. All research models are approved by the health system's Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee in accordance with federal guidelines and policy. This standing committee meets once a month to evaluate research applications.
HFHS also has both Safety and Institutional Recombinant DNA Biosafety Committees. Information Technology including hardware and software is supported by the HFHS "Helpdesk," which is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to resolve any computer problems investigators may have.
HFHS is affiliated with Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit. The medical campus of Wayne State is less than 3 miles from the Henry Ford Hospital main campus. HFHS faculty may hold appointments in basic or clinical departments in the School of Medicine, and thus are eligible to train graduate (Ph.D.) and medical science training program (M.D., Ph.D.) students. Dr. Garvin is a full Professor in the Physiology Department and also sits on the departmental graduate committee. Drs. Beierwaltes, Ortiz, Rhaleb and Yang also hold appointments in the department of physiology and graduate school. The hypertension research faculty currently mentors graduate students, teach in the departmental curriculum, and are involved in numerous research collaborations with the faculty at Wayne State. The HFHS faculty also have open access to the medical library and many research core facilities available at Wayne State University.
The Hypertension and Vascular Research Division
The Hypertension and Vascular Research Division is part of the Department of Internal Medicine and the Heart and Vascular Institute. Its members have no clinical responsibilities and conduct only basic research on the mechanisms that regulate blood pressure and their involvement in the pathogenesis of hypertension and end organ damage. The division currently brings in more than $8 million annually in federal and agency support for its research programs, including a Program Project Grant and multiple RO1s from the NIH. The division's laboratories occupy more than 15,000 sq. ft. and are dedicated to: in vivo and in vitro physiology; biophysics; biochemistry; and molecular biology. Core facilities include imaging (fluorescence, confocal and TIRF microscopy), analytical, histology, darkroom, cell culture and BS-2 level facilities, plus mutant mouse and telemetric blood pressure cores. There are common rooms for scintillation counters, freezers, freeze driers, RT-PCR machines, centrifuges, and other necessary equipment. All laboratories are located on the seventh floor of the Benson Ford Education and Research (E&R) Building.
The division has 9 full-time senior staff investigators (W. Beierwaltes, Ph.D., O.A. Carretero, M.D., J. Garvin, Ph.D., P. Harding, Ph.D., P. Ortiz, Ph.D. N.-E. Rhaleb, Ph.D., E. Shesely, Ph.D., and X.-P. Yang, M.D.). In addition, there are 7 junior faculty (Y.-H. Liu, M.D., Y. Ren, M.D., H. S. Palaniyandi, Ph.D., H. Wang, M.D., L Zhu, Ph.D., and J. Xu, M.D.), 13 fellows and 17 technical staff. Thus, it has a critical mass of investigators with extensive expertise in the critical areas under study. In particular, Drs. Carretero and Beierwaltes each have more than 30 years of experience in whole-animal physiology and renal function. Drs. Harding and Rhaleb have extensive expertise in cellular signaling, while Dr. Ortiz is an expert in transport, cell physiology and trafficking of intracellular proteins as well as fluorescence and confocal microscopy. The division supports two broad regions of interest. The first is the role of the kidney in the regulation of blood pressure (incorporating the interests and expertise of Drs Garvin, Beierwaltes, Carretero and Ortiz). The second is the mechanisms of end-organ damage associated with hypertension and heart disease, with particular emphasis on the heart and cardiac function (incorporating the interests and expertise of Drs Carretero, Harding, Rhaleb, Shesely, Palaniyandi and Yang). For additional information, see the description of research interests for each of the senior staff. An administrative staff of 5 provide secretarial, grant management, editorial support and personnel oversight for the entire division.
The members of Hypertension and Vascular Research also participate in the research and educational activities of the Nephrology and Hypertension and Cardiology Divisions of the Department of Internal Medicine. Because these divisions are primarily concerned with clinical care, such interactions provide necessary information concerning the needs and concerns of clinicians. Currently, the division has a special Clinician Scientist program jointly sponsored by the Hypertension and Vascular Research and Nephrology and Hypertension Divisions in which exceptional candidates combine a year of bench research with their clinical nephrology fellowship (see "training opportunities" on this web site). The division also supports a weekly continuing CME-accredited seminar series and a journal club for all of its members as well as interested clinical staff. Emphasis on training fellows and students in analyzing and presenting the current literature, optimizing presentation of their own data, preparing for scientific meetings and writing grants are part of the continuing education process. All of the senior staff shares a rich history of mentoring fellows and students.