The Hypertension Center at the University of Florida was created in 1992 by the Board of Regents and Dr. Christopher Wilcox, then Division Chief of Nephrology at the VAMC, was the inaugural director. When Dr. Wilcox left in 1995, Dr. Ian Phillips took over as director until he left the University of Florida in 2002. In July of 2004, Dr. Christine Baylis was recruited to the University of Florida to serve as Center Director. The Hypertension Center benefited from the outstanding leadership and vision of Dr. Baylis for more than a decade until her retirement in 2015.
Given the strong presence that Dr. Baylis had in the field of hypertension, it is perhaps not surprising, that a multi-directorship model was needed to replace her leadership. Moving forward, the directorship will pass onto Dr. Rhonda Cooper-DeHoff (translational scientist; pharmacogenomics of hypertension), Dr. Michelle Gumz (basic scientist; renal aspects of hypertension, and Dr. Eric Krause (basic scientist; neural aspects of hypertension).
A major objective of the Hypertension Center is to serve as a scientific hub that fosters intellectual exchanges between its members as well as the mentors and trainees supported by the Multidisciplinary Training Program in Hypertension. This T32 program promotes the training of future scientists and physician/scientists in the broad area of hypertension and is sponsored by the National Heart Lung Blood Institute. The Hypertension Center supports a core telemetry facility that allows continuous recording of cardiovascular parameters in freely moving conscious rodents and large animal models. This core is available to all members of the Hypertension Center and provides a strong focal point for collaborative activities. The Hypertension Center Seminar series is very successful and attracts a broad audience from clinical and basic sciences. The cost of the seminar series is covered by the center and each lecture is available to our distance campuses in Jacksonville and Orlando via video-teleconference. Resources pooled from the center’s members are also used to support equipment purchases, tissue banks, bridge funding and seed grants that foster collaborative research in the area of hypertension.