UI professor wins award for hypertension research

A UI professor has been recognized for his advances in the research of hypertension and its effects on blood pressure.


©Michael Krinke Photography

One of the University of Iowa faculty members has made great advances in the science of hypertension and blood pressure.

On Sept. 28, Kamal Rahmouni was presented with the Paul Korner Award in Seoul, South Korea.

Rahmouni is a University of Iowa pharmacology professor who also teaches in the Internal Medicine Department.

He finished his postdoctorate at the UI, and he is also one of the founding members of the Center for Hypertension Research.


“Kamal is an outstanding and creative researcher using state-of-the-art approaches to study fundamental questions on the regulation of blood pressure and the role of the brain,” said Curt Sigmund, the head of the Pharmacology Department and the director of the Center for Hypertension Research.

Sigmund said Rahmouni receiving the award helps the Carver College of Medicine, because it recognizes a faculty member for excellence in her or his field.

The Korner Award, first given in 2014, is named after a distinguished Australian physiologist whose work focused on the mechanisms in the brain that control the organs related to blood pressure.

Korner is known not only for his research but also for the role he plays as a mentor to others in the field.

The award, considered among the most prestigious in the field, is given every two years by the International Society of Hypertension, which focuses on the advances of hypertension research worldwide.

“In addition to being a towering scientist, Paul Korner was a dedicated mentor and teacher of young scientists,” said Allyn Mark, a UI professor of internal medicine. “[Rahmouni] epitomizes those traditions and therefore was highly deserving of the Korner Award.”

Mark, a member of the International Society of Hypertension, nominated Rahmouni for the award. He wrote a letter of recommendation, and the international committee reviewed all the nominees.

“Professor Rahmouni has emerged as an international leader in research on brain control of blood pressure and eating behavior,” Mark said. “This is crucial for understanding the causes and new therapies for the treatment of hypertension, particularly obesity-induced hypertension.”

Rahmouni said he thinks it is important to understand that hypertension is a major factor in cardiovascular disease. Hypertension occurs when blood pressure rises above 140 mmHg and is often known as a “silent killer.” It doesn’t make you sick, he said, but it makes the heart and arteries weaker. Often, it can cause a stroke or heart failure.

Rahmouni’s work for this award includes understanding how the brain controls blood pressure and how blood pressure increases in obese patients and those with Type 2 diabetes.

This is the second major award that that Rahmouni has received. In 2015, he received the American Heart Association Council on Hypertension Mid-Career Award for Research Excellence.

“I am very honored to receive such a prestigious award from the International Society of Hypertension that honors Paul Korner, who made substantial contributions to our understanding of hypertension,” Rahmouni said.


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