UI researchers advocate for women’s health research on Capitol Hill

A team of preeclampsia researchers from the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine visited Washington D.C. on Tuesday, May 12, to advocate for congressional support to increase funding for medical research and research on women’s health. The team, comprised of Justin Grobe, PhD, assistant professor of pharmacology, Gary Pierce, PhD, assistant professor of human physiology, Mark Santillan, MD, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology, and Curt Sigmund, PhD, professor and chair of the Department of Pharmacology, spoke personally with Reps. Dave Loebsack and David Young and Sen. Charles Grassley. Legislative assistants for Reps. Rod Blum and Steve King and Sen. Joni Ernst were present as well.

In addition to meeting with legislators on Capitol Hill, the team spent Monday, May 11, engaging division and program directors at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

Discovering a cure for preeclampsia — a cardiovascular disorder generally occurring late in pregnancy and often resulting in early delivery — has been an ongoing research emphasis for UI. The university’s status as a decades-long leader in cardiovascular research led to a spot in a four-center Strategically Focused Network on Hypertension, created by the American Heart Association. The AHA awarded the UI Strategically Focused Hypertension Research Center a four-year, $3.7 million grant to participate in the network’s study of causes and potential cures for high blood pressure.

The AHA grant was the first major external award given to the Center for Hypertension Research, which opened last year and is directed by Sigmund.