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Cardiovascular Pathophysiology and Genomics Research Unit

The Cardiovascular Pathophysiology and Genomics Research Unit (CPGRU) is a unit within the School of Physiology, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa. 

The mandate of the CPGRU is to research the pathophysiology of heart failure and the single-most important determinant of cardiovascular events in sub-Saharan Africa, namely hypertension, and the effects of exercise on the heart. 

The laboratories of the CPGRU are located on the 6th floor in the School of Physiology. Collaborative research is conducted with researchers in the University's Faculty of Health Sciences, and with colleagues at other universities in South Africa and abroad.


The members of this research unit study the pathophysiology of heart failure and the single-most important determinant of cardiovascular events in sub-Saharan Africa, namely hypertension. The team s members also study the effects of activity and regular exercise on the heart, blood pressure and large vessels. 

With regards to heart failure, the Units members are interested in; the importance of increases in the size of cardiac chambers in heart failure, the structural, cellular, molecular and genetic mechanisms responsible for chamber enlargement or pump dysfunction in heart failure, the mechanisms of heart failure where pump function is maintained, and the development of novel therapeutic strategies in heart failure. 

With respect to hypertension, the Unit s members are interested in studying; the genetic determinants of blood pressure, the degree to which environmental, phenotypic and genetic factors determine blood pressure, the modifying effects of genetic variants on environmental and phenotypic determinants of blood pressure, the degree to which hypertension influences target organ damage (cardiac hypertrophy and large artery dysfunction) in hypertension, the impact of cardiac hypertrophy on cardiovascular disease, and the importance of specific antihypertensive approaches in subjects of African ancestry. 

With regards to exercise effects on the heart, members of the Unit are interested in the impact and mechanisms of regular exercise on heart structure and function in both health and disease, as well as the influence of activity on blood pressure and large artery function. 

The Unit is unique in that it complements human with animal-based studies and is proficient in haemodynamic, demographic, epidemiological, genetic, cellular, and molecular techniques and often utilizes a range of approaches to answer specific questions.


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