Dr. R. Clinton Webb, Herbert S. Kupperman Chair in Cardiovascular Disease in the Department of Physiology at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University, has been selected for the top award from the American Heart Association’s Council on Hypertension.
Webb will receive the 2018 Excellence Award for Hypertension Research for his contributions to greater understanding and improved treatment of this major risk factor for heart disease and stroke that is listed among the top 15 causes of death by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Webb will be honored at the AHA’s Joint Hypertension 2018 Scientific Sessions Sept. 6-9 in Chicago.
Dr. Paul K. Whelton, Show Chwan Health System Endowed Chair in Global Public Health at Tulane University, whose research focus includes the prevention and epidemiology of cardiovascular and renal diseases, and who has led numerous hypertension intervention trials, also will be honored by the AHA with the hypertension excellence award.
“Dr. Webb is a prolific investigator who more than 40 years after giving his first presentation on the dilation of blood vessels, remains passionately immersed in the field of vascular biology and hypertension,” said Dr. David C. Hess, MCG dean. “His tremendous body of published, pertinent work and his unique style of mentoring the next generation of vascular physiologists make him an icon in the field of hypertension research.”
Webb’s research interests include a focus on the vascular smooth muscle cells that give blood vessels contractility, and changes that impact their function in hypertension, diabetes and male and female sexual dysfunction, as well as the mechanisms for normal contraction and relaxation of blood vessels.
He is principal investigator on a $9.4 million Program Project grant from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute exploring the vicious cycle of how high blood pressure damages cells which causes them to spill their contents – called damage associated molecular patterns, or DAMPs – which further fuels inflammation and high blood pressure.
Webb is associate editor of the American Journal of Hypertension and Pharmacological Research. He is serving his second term as a member of the editorial board of the AHA journal Hypertension, and is a member of numerous other editorial boards including the Journal of the American Society of Hypertension, Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology, Vascular Pharmacology and Cardiovascular Diabetology.
He has been corresponding author or coauthor on nearly 350 published scientific studies and nearly 120 additional reviews, book chapters and other publications. Webb has helped mentor 48 postdoctoral fellows, 73 PhD students, 89 graduate students, 13 medical students and 16 international students.
Five years ago, Webb was honored with the AHA Council on High Blood Pressure Research’s Irvine Page-Alva Bradley Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions to the field of hypertension and for serving as a role model through service, research, teaching and training. His other top honors include the Carl J. Wiggers Award from the American Physiological Society in 2012 for a lifetime of outstanding and lasting contributions to cardiovascular research, and the AstraZeneca Award from the International Society of Hypertension that same year for his work in clinical pharmacology and therapy of hypertension. In 2004, he was the inaugural recipient of the Bodil M. Schmidt-Nielsen Distinguished Mentor and Scientist Award from the Women in Physiology Committee of the American Physiological Society.
Webb has twice chaired the Fall Conference Committee of the AHA Council on Hypertension, and currently serves on the Scientific Sessions Program Committee. He has been an abstract reviewer for the AHA for more than 30 years, and is a member of its Scientific Sessions Program Committee, International Mentoring Program and Ethnicity and Gender Working Group.
He chaired the Association of Chairs of Departments of Physiology in 2009, and since 2013 has served as that group’s representative to the Council of Faculty and Academic Societies of the Association of American Medical Colleges.
Webb is a member of the Fellowship Committee of the American Physiological Society’s Cardiovascular Section. He has served on numerous Special Study Sections/Special Emphasis Panels for the National Institutes of Health, including co-chairing the National Institutes of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases Developmental Centers in Benign Urology last year and serving as an ad hoc member of the NIDDK Program Project Review Committee this year. He also served as an ad hoc member of the NHLBI Program Project Review Committee in 2017.
Webb earned a doctorate in anatomy from the University of Iowa in 1976. He completed postdoctoral work at the University of Michigan and the Universitaire Instelling Antwerpen Department of Medicine in Belgium. He joined the University of Michigan faculty in 1979 as an assistant research scientist, was named assistant professor the next year, associate professor in 1983 and professor in 1986. In 1996, he was a visiting professor at the University of New Mexico Department of Physiology and visiting research scientist at the Lovelace Institutes in Albuquerque.
He served as chair of the physiology department at MCG from 1999-2018, was named Kupperman Chair in 2006 and Regents’ Professor in 2011.