The aim of this Georgetown University Center is to undertake research to discover the mechanisms that underlie high blood pressure (hypertension), kidney and vascular (blood vessel) diseases and to train the next generation of leaders in these fields. The Center undertakes bench scientific studies on genes, cells and animal models and clinical research to translate the findings from this basic research to studies on patients. The goal is to discover new causes and treatments for these common conditions so as to benefit patients suffering from them.

Hypertension is the major preventable cause of cardiovascular and chronic kidney diseases. Cardiovascular disease is the commonest cause of death and disability in the world. Therefore, prevention or better treatment of hypertension would have a huge impact on global health. Cardiovascular diseases include heart attacks, heart failure, stroke and peripheral vascular disease. Chronic kidney disease can lead to end stage renal disease (ESRD) that requires dialysis or transplant. Currently ESRD afflicts almost half a million Americans. The commonest causes of ESRD are high blood pressure and diabetes.

The Center is directed by Christopher S. Wilcox, M.D., Ph.D. who leads a team of scientists and clinical investigators at Georgetown University. His research demonstrated that these three common conditions share a disease trigger called oxidative stress which is a malfunction of the way in which oxygen is used by cells. This leads to the production of damaging oxygen molecules. This new concept informs and unifies the research strategy in the laboratory and the clinical and translational studies. New drugs are being investigated and tested as antioxidants to provide novel preventative or treatment strategies for these diseases.

The Center encompasses a group of scientists and clinical investigators from around the world. It is centered on the Division of Nephrology (kidney disease) and Hypertension. Dr. Wilcox has developed this Center for Hypertension, Kidney and Vascular Research which will be the first in a series of new centers within Georgetown University Medical Center that will advance the full spectrum of what medical research may have to offer patients and their families.

Please click here to view our new brochure where you will find facts about unmanaged hypertension, vascular problems and kidney disease.

Christopher S. Wilcox, M.D., Ph.D.
Chief, Division of Nephrology and Hypertension