Professor Michael Stowasser

Professor

SOMSouthern - Medicine - Princess Alexandra Hospital
Faculty of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences
m.stowasser@uq.edu.au
+61 7 3176 2176
0412 190 038

Overview

MS has 24 years of clinical research experience in pathogenesis and management of hypertension (HT) and especially of endocrine varieties including primary aldosteronism (PA). Working within the Greenslopes Hospital Hypertension Unit (GHHU), he played a significant role in the demonstration that PA is much more common than previously thought, and in the description of a new familial form (FH-II). MS has made key contributions to understanding of steroid and BP regulation in another familial form (FH-I). The combined GHHU/Princess Alexandra Hospital HT Unit (PAHHU, which MS set up in 2000) has the largest series (>1600) worldwide of patients with PA who have been thoroughly documented and meticulously studied, helping MS to become internationally recognized as an authority on pathogenesis (including genetics), diagnostic workup and management of PA, including its familial forms. In 2006, he was invited to be a member of an international Task Force sponsored by the US Endocrine Society to develop clinical guidelines for the diagnosis and management of PA.

MS has published over 150 scientific papers in peer-reviewed journals, 13 chapters for textbooks of medicine (including DeGroot's Endocrinology, the foremost Endocrinology Textbook worldwide) and a chapter on primary aldosteronism for Harrison's Online. He has been invited to speak at major meetings 91 times (61 international, 30 national) since 1998 including a debate with Norman Kaplan on the prevalence of PA (ISH, Prague 2002). He was invited by the University of WA to give the Robert Vandongen Memorial Lecture for 2002 and by the Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand to deliver the Gaston-Bauer Lecture in 2012. MS has collaborated with researchers in 14 international Units and all Australian states. In 2002, he was named as a Chief Investigator within a newly established Clinical Centre of Research Excellence (CCRE) in Cardiovascular Disease and Metabolic Disorders at Princess Alexandra Hospital, funding for which was renewed by the NHMRC in 2006 for 2007-11. Has served on Editorial Boards for J Hypertens, Clin Exper Physiol Pharmacol, Nephrology (Subject Editor), J Clin Endocrinol Metab and J Hum Hypertens (Co-Editor) and assessed manuscripts for >20 major international journals. Has served as written grant application assessor for six major international and five major national funding bodies, on NHF Grant Interviewing Committees in 1997, 1998, 1999, 2001 and 2002, and on NHMRC GRPs in 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2011. MS is a member of the International Society of Hypertension (ISH), American Society of Hypertension and US Endocrine Society. He was elected into the Executive Committee of the High BP Research Council of Australia in 1998 and as Secretary in 2001. He was a Member of the NHF BP and Vascular Disease Advisory Committee from 1998 until 2012.

Other Awards and Honours:

NHMRC Postgraduate Medical Research Scholarship, 1992-94 John W.H. Tyrer Prize for Research in Internal Medicine, 1992 NHF Clinical Research Fellowship, 1995-97 NHF Postdoctoral Fellowship, 1998-99 Honorary Professor to the Xinjiang Institute of Hypertension, 2005 Member, Primary Aldosteronism Guidelines Task Force, US Endocrine Society, 2006 Visiting Professor, Tung Wah Eastern Hospital, Hong Kong, 2008 Honorary Professor of the Hypertension Department at Henan Provincial People’s Hospital, the Hypertension Control and Research Center of Henan Province, and the Hypertension Diagnosis and Treatment Center of Henan Province, 2009 Gaston Bauer Lecturer, Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand, 2012

Research Interests

  • Determining the genetic basis for FH-II and other forms of primary aldosteronism
  • Improving methods of detection, diagnostic workup and management of primary aldosteronism
  • Validating a highly accurate method of measuring aldosterone using tandem mass spectrometry developed within the EHRC
  • Determining genetic factors which may modify phenotypic expression in FH-I, and thereby explain the wide spectrum of hypertens
  • Determining the extent to which aldosterone excess in humans is capable of causing cardiovascular and other organ dysfunction in

Research Impacts

Hypertension (high blood pressure) affects around 30% of Australian adults, and is a leading risk factor for stroke. Treatment usually means lifelong medications, potentially costly and poorly tolerated. However, when the cause can be identified, and reversed or specifically treated, the outcomes are often dramatic with patients being able to come off many or all antihypertensives and enjoying markedly improved quality of life, while at the same time reducing their stroke risk.

The Endocrine Hypertension Research Centre (EHRC), a University of Queensland School of Medicine Centre based at Greenslopes and Princess Alexandra Hospitals, conducts internationally acclaimed research into the causes and management of various forms of hypertension, with a major focus on curable and specifically treatable varieties. It is the only Centre of its kind in Queensland and one of only a few internationally recognized Australian groups dedicated to hypertension-related clinical management and research. An important area of our work, for which the Centre has attracted much attention, has been our detailed studies into epidemiological, biochemical, morphological, pathophysiological and genetic aspects of a potentially curable form of hypertension known as primary aldosteronism (PA), in which the adrenal glands produce excessive amounts of salt retaining hormone (aldosterone). The EHRC demonstrated 20 years ago that PA is approximately ten times more common than previously thought, and accounts for as many as 10% of patients with hypertension. This finding has led to the identification of thousands of patients around the world who would otherwise have gone undetected, and in whom hypertension has been cured or markedly improved following surgical or specific medical treatment. More than 1600 thoroughly studied and documented patients with PA (probably the largest series worldwide) in our Centre provide a unique resource for further research into causes, diagnosis and treatment, and have led to important collaborations with first-class overseas investigators.

Research at the EHRC and elsewhere has shown that aldosterone excess in unrecognised PA is associated with significant cardiovascular morbidity which exceeds that due to hypertension alone. For example, the risk of stroke in PA is over four times higher than that for other forms of hypertension. In one rare familial form of PA, detectable by a genetic test developed in our Centre, hypertension can be particular severe and of early onset, leading to death at ages as young as 30 from hypertensive, haemorrhagic stroke. Because this increase risk is completely reversed by specifically treating the PA condition, it is vitally important that as many patients as possible with PA be identified among the hypertensive population. Major challenges exist in accurate diagnosis of PA, prompting our Centre to research better ways to achieve this, including through genetic testing and enhanced clinical and biochemical approaches, so that more people will be detected and given the opportunity to receive superior, highly effective treatment.

Among its many other projects, the Centre is actively involved in unlocking the genetic and molecular code of another form of hypertension known as Gordon syndrome (named after the Centre’s founder, Richard Gordon) which results in excessive retention of salt and potassium by the kidney. This work has the potentially to greatly enhance our understanding of how the kidney regulates salt balance and blood pressure, and to lead to the development of new drugs to treat hypertension and thereby prevent stroke.

Qualifications

  • PhD, The University of Queensland
  • FRACP
  • MB, B.S (1st Class Honours), The University of Queensland

Publications

View all Publications

Publications

Book Chapter

  • Stowasser, Michael and Ahmed, Ashraf (2014). Quality-of-life aspects of primary aldosteronism. In Per Hellman (Ed.), Primary Aldosteronism: Molecular Genetics, Endocrinology and Translational Medicine. (pp. 197-207) New York, NY, USA: Springer. doi:10.1007/978-1-4939-0509-6_13

  • Edwards, Christopher R. W. and Stowasser, Michael (2006). Primary mineralocorticoid excess syndromes. In L. J. DeGroot and J. L. Jameson (Ed.), Endocrinology 5th ed. (pp. 2461-2490) USA: Elsevier Saunders.

  • Stowasser, Michael and Gordon, Richard D. (2006). The hypertensive accountant. In G. M. Scott, A. M. Gronowski, C. S. Eby and N. W. Tietz (Ed.), Tietz's applied laboratory medicine 2nd ed. (pp. 175-182) Hoboken, N.J.: Wiley-Interscience.

  • Gordon, Richard D. and Stowasser, Michael (2005). Overview of mineralocorticoid excess syndromes. In Dimitrios Linos and Jon A. van Heerden (Ed.), Adrenal glands: Diagnostic aspects and surgical therapy (pp. 115-126) Berlin: Springer.

  • Marwick, T. H., Mottram, P. M. and Stowasser, M. (2004). Commentary: Effect of aldosterone antagonism in hypertensive patients with diastolic heart failure. In Braunwald's Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine 7 ed. (pp. x-x) New York, USA: Saunders.

  • Stowasser, M. (2004). Primary Aldosteronism. In Luciano Martini (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Endocrine Diseases (pp. 76-83) Amsterdam, The Netherlands: Elsevier Academic Press.

  • Stowasser, Michael (2004). Primary aldosteronism. In Robert E. Rake and Edward T. Bope (Ed.), Conn's current therapy 2004 56th ed. (pp. 678-681) Philadelphia: W. B. Saunders Company.

  • Stowasser, M. and Gordon, R. D. (2003). Diagnosis of primary aldosteronism. In E. Braunzrald, A.S. Fauci and et al. (Ed.), Harrison's principles of internal medicine 15th ed. (pp. 1-6) New York: McGraw-Hill.

Journal Article

Conference Publication

Grants (Administered at UQ)

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

Completed Supervision