OneFlorida Researcher Receives NIH K01 Grant to Study Resistant Hypertension

Caitrin Wheeler McDonoughOneFlorida researcher Caitrin W. McDonough, Ph.D., received a K01 Mentored Research Scientist Career Development Award from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute to identify patients with resistant hypertension using big data analytics.

McDonough is a research assistant professor in the Department of Pharmacotherapy and Translational Research in the College of Pharmacy at the University of Florida (UF) and a master’s student in the Department of Health Outcomes and Biomedical Informatics (HOBI).

Resistant hypertension is blood pressure that remains elevated even when the patient is being treated with optimal doses of at least three different classes of blood pressure medications, including a diuretic, or blood pressure that requires treatment with four or more different classes of blood pressure medication. Recent estimates show that more than 12 million Americans could have resistant hypertension, putting them at an increased risk of having a heart attack or stroke.

With support from the 4-year, $502,987 grant, McDonough will examine electronic health records,  and prescription claims data for about 15 million individuals from the OneFlorida Data Trust and REACHnet to identify characteristics in the data that are associated with the disease. Both clinical data research networks are part of the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research network (PCORnet).  Additionally, McDonough will examine genetic data on a small subset to identify biomarkers associated with resistant hypertension.

“By looking at prescription claims, it may be possible to distinguish between patients with hypertension who simply don’t use the medications prescribed by their provider and those whose hypertension doesn’t respond to medication,” said McDonough, an investigator in the UF Center for Pharmacogenomics.

McDonough will also use the data to identify risk factors that could predict which patients will develop resistant hypertension.

The National Institutes of Health established the K01 awards to support early-career research scientists seeking advanced research training and additional experience. The program provides support and protected time for an intensive, supervised career development experience in the biomedical, behavioral, or clinical sciences.

The K01 Mentored Research Scientist Career Development Award will help McDonough build upon her background in human genetics and pharmacogenomics to focus on the discovery and prediction of factors associated with cardiovascular disease risk and drug response.

McDonough will work closely with a multidisciplinary mentorship team throughout the duration of her award: William Hogan, M.D., M.S., professor in HOBI, director of biomedical informatics at UF’s Clinical and Translational Science Institute, and director of informatics for the OneFlorida Clinical Research Consortium; Rhonda Cooper-DeHoff, Pharm.D., M.S., associate professor in the Department of Pharmacotherapy and Translational Research and associate director of the UF Center for Pharmacogenomics; George Michailidis, Ph.D., director of UF’s Informatics Institute and professor of statistics and computer science; Dana Crawford, Ph.D.; and Francois Modave, Ph.D., director of the Center for Health Outcomes and Informatics Research at Loyola University in Chicago.