I completed my medical degree at the University of Melbourne in 1978 and qualified as a Specialist Renal Physician in 1985. My medical research career began with a PhD completed in 1986 under the supervision of the late Professor Austin Doyle, after which I spent 3 years in the Medical Research Council Blood Pressure Unit in Glasgow as an NHMRC Neil Hamilton Fairley Traveling Fellow. I returned to the Department of Medicine at the Austin Hospital in 1989 and became an NHMRC R D Wright Fellow until 1995 when I was appointed as Professor of Physiology. I was Head of Physiology for 13 years until taking a sabbatical in Paris in 2009. My research interests are in the genetics of common conditions and I am also involved in international clinical trials. I retain a clinical role as a Consultant Physician at the Royal Melbourne Hospital. My favorite pastimes are fishing, tennis, surfing and golf.
Departmental Curriculum Coordinator
Lecturer in renal and cardiovascular subjects to undergraduate Biomedicine students and students in the Graduate degrees in Medicine and Physiotherapy. Clinical tutor for Medical Students at the Royal Melbourne Hospital.
Service to the University, discipline
or community and recent presentations
I am a member of the University Council.
I serve on the editorial boards of the following journals:
Journal of Hypertension
Clinical and Experimental Hypertension
Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology and Physiology
I regularly review research applications for national and international funding bodies.
I am closely involved with cognate professional societies and with meeting organization.
I am a founding trustee of the Foundation for High Blood Pressure Research that was formed after the 1994 International Society of Hypertension meeting and has funded numerous research fellowships to outstanding young scientists in the field.
I was President of the High Blood Pressure Research Council of Australia from 2007-2010.
I am President of the International Society of Hypertension.
Profile, Interests and Recent Publications
My research is the genetics of common conditions. This largely done through family studies but also involves animal-breeding work as well.
In 1990 I established the Victorian Family Heart Study (VFHS) and after 6 years we successfully recruited approximately 3000 healthy adults who comprised about 800 families (each of mum, dad and at least 1 natural offspring). These families were enriched by the inclusion of families with twins. For this we are indebted to Professor John Hopper and the Australian Twin Registry. The result is a unique resource for studying the genetic and environmental factors that determine simple traits such as blood pressure, heart rate, weight, height, cholesterol, baldness and fibrinogen. To do so we have taken advantage of the most modern technology and brought together a team with skills in molecular biology and genetic biostatistics.
The VFHS is renown internationally for its discoveries in relation to blood pressure and the Y chromosome, baldness and the androgen receptor gene, the genetics of height and ongoing studies of cardiovascular risk factors.
I work closely on these studies with Dr Justine Ellis, at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, and Dr Katrina Scurrah in our group. Justine is the molecular biology expert in our team and Katrina is the biostatistical expert.
To complement the VFHS focus on risk factors, I established the Acute Myocardial Infarction Genetic Origins (AMIGO) Study looking at the genetics of heart attack (acute coronary syndrome). This was one of the first studies in the world to report genome wide linkage for this condition that remains the single most common cause of death.
To understand the genetic basis of heart size (which after age is the single most important cardiovascular risk factor), I initiated series of breeding studies in rats in 1989. This resulted in the first identification by genome wide scanning of a gene that controls heart size independent of blood pressure. Our more recent studies are homing in on the precise gene and mutation that explain this action.
The breeding continued down a parallel track to produce a new strain of rat that has normal blood pressure but a big heart. These Hypertrophic Heart Rats (HHR) have very greatly enlarged heart muscle cells and the challenge now is to understand the exact developmental and physiological mechanism. We collaborate with Associate Professor Lea Delbridge (Department of Physiology) and Professor Walter Thomas (University of Queensland) in these studies that are revealing some very interesting features regarding the origins of big hearts.
The funding for the family and breeding studies has been generously provided from a variety of sources including the National Health and Medical Research Council, the Victorian Health Promotion Foundation, the Australian Research Council, the National Heart Foundation, the Cabrini Medical Education & Research Foundation and the Clive & Vera Ramaciotti Foundation.
I have also been closely involved in 2 large clinical trials � the PROGRESS and ADVANCE Studies. These trials have examined the prevention of cardiovascular disease in those at high risk as a result of either a prior stroke (PROGRESS) or type 2 diabetes (ADVANCE). The George Institute in Sydney leads these trials that are worldwide and have involved over 17,000 patients in all. The results of these trials have been published in the Lancet and New England Journal of Medicine. They are changing the international guidelines regarding the prevention of cardiovascular disease in high-risk individuals.
Beauchamp A, Peeters A, Wolfe R, Turrell G, Harriss L, Giles G, English DR, McNeil J, Harrap SB, Hunt D, Tonkin A. Inequalities in cardiovascular disease mortality: the role of behavioural, physiological and social risk factors. J Epidemiol Comm Health. 2010;64:542-548
Ellis JA, Lamantia A, Chavez R, Scurrah KJ, Nichols CG, Harrap SB. Genes Controlling Postural Changes in Blood Pressure: Comprehensive association analysis of ATP-Sensitive Potassium Channel Genes KCNJ8 and ABCC9. Physiol Genomics. 2010;40:184-188.
Clarke PM, Glasziou P, Patel A, Chalmers J, Woodward M, Harrap SB, Salomon JA. Event rates, hospital utilization and costs associated with major complications of diabetes: multi-country comparative analysis. PloS Med. 2010;7:e1000236.
Fagard RH, Grassi G, Hall J, Harrap S, Lindholm LH, Schiffrin E,L, Heagerty AM. International Society of Hypertension Low and Middle Income Countries Committee review of the goals of the Committee and of 5 years of ISH activities in Low and Middle Income Countries. J Hypertens. 2010;28:635-636
Ninomiya T, Zoungas S, Bruce Neal B, Woodward M, Patel A, Perkovic V, Cass A, Cooper M, Grobbee D, Hamet P, Harrap S, Liu L, Giuseppe Mancia G, Mogensen C-E, Poulter N, Rodgers A, Williams B, MacMahon S, Chalmers J. Efficacy and safety of routine blood pressure lowering in older patients with diabetes: results from the ADVANCE trial. J Hypertens. 2010;28:1141-1149
Harrap SB. The Genetics of Blood Pressure – At The Crossroads. Journal of the Korean Society of Hypertension. 2010;16:1-6
Zoungas S, Chalmers J, Kengne AP, Pillai A, Billot L, de Galan B, Marre M, Neal B, Harrap S, Poulter N, Patel A. The efficacy of lowering glycated haemoglobin with a gliclazide modified release-based intensive glucose lowering regimen in the ADVANCE trial. Diabetes Res Clin Practice. 2010; 89:126-133.
Williams AD, Anderson MJ, Selig S, Carey MF, Febbraio MA, Hayes A, Toia D, Harrap SB, Hare DL. Differential response to resistance training in CHF according to ACE genotype. Int J Cardiol. 2011;149:330-4.
Batty GD, Qiang L, Czernichow S, Neal B, Zoungas S, Huxley R, Patel A, de Galan BE, Woodward M, Hamet P, Harrap SB, Poulter N, Chalmers J. Erectile dysfunction and later cardiovascular disease in men with type 2 diabetes: prospective cohort study based on the ADVANCE trial. JACC. 2010;56:1908-13.
Lee C-T, Stolk RP, Adler AI, Patel A, Chalmers J, Poulter N, Harrap S, Woodward M, Marre M, Beulens JWJ. Association between alcohol consumption and diabetic retinopathy and visual acuity – the AdRem Study. Diabetic Medicine. 2010;27:1130-37.
Brugts JJ, Isaacs A, de Maat M, Boersma E, C.M. van Duijn CM, Akkerhuis KM, Uitterlinden AG, Witteman JCM, Cambien F, Ceconi C, Remme W, Bertrand M, Ninomiya T, Harrap S, Chalmers J, MacMahon S, Fox K. Ferrari R, Simoons ML, Danser AHJ. A pharmacogenetic analysis of determinants of hypertension and blood pressure response to angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor therapy in patients with vascular disease and healthy subjects. J Hypertens. 2011;29:509-19
Cobb JE, Zaloumis SG, Scurrah KJ, Harrap SB, Ellis JA. Evidence for two independent functional variants for androgenetic alopecia around the androgen receptor gene. Exp Dermatol. 2010;19:1026-28
Chalmers J, Harrap S, Narkiewicz K, Issues in the development of new combinations of blood pressure lowering drugs. J Hypertens. 2010; 28: 2494-6
Cobb JE, Wong NC, Yip LW, Martinick J, Bosnich R, Sinclair RD, Craig JM, Saffery R, Harrap SB, Ellis JA. Increased DNA methylation of the androgen receptor gene in occipital hair follicles from men with androgenetic alopecia. Br J Dermatol. 2011;165:210-213
Chalmers J, Mancia G, Narkiewicz K, Harrap S, Redon J, Poulter N. Issues in the development of new combinations of blood pressure lowering drugs. J Hypertens 2010;28:2494-6
Harriss LR, Ajani A, Hunt D, Shaw J, Chambers B, Dewey H, Frayne J, Beauchamp A, Duvé K, English DR, Giles GG, Harrap SB, Magliano DJ, Liew D, McNeil J, Peeters A, Stebbing M, Wolfe R, Tonkin A. Accuracy of national mortality codes in identifying adjudicated cardiovascular deaths. Aust NZ J Pub Health. 2011;35:466-476
Büsst CJ, Bloomer L, Scurrah KJ, Ellis JA, Barnes TA, Charchar FJ, Braund P, Hopkins PN, Samani NJ, Hunt SC, Tomaszewski M, Harrap SB. The epithelial sodium channel γ-subunit gene (SCNN1G) and blood pressure: family-based association, renal gene expression and physiological analyses. Hypertension. 2011:58:1073-1076
Stokes L, Scurrah K, Ellis JA, Cromer BA, Skarratt KK, Gu BJ, Harrap SB, Wiley JS. A loss-of-function polymorphism in the human P2X4 receptor is
associated with increased pulse pressure. Hypertension. 2011:58:1086-1092
Yip L, Zaloumis S, Irwin D, Severi G, Hopper J, Giles G, Harrap SB, Sinclair RD, Ellis JA. Association analysis of Estrogen Receptor Beta gene (ESR2) polymorphisms with female pattern hair loss. Br J Dermatol. Accepted 14 Oct 2011
Brockschmidt FF, Heilmann S, Ellis J, Eigelshoven S, Hanneken S, Herold C, Moebus S, Alblas M, Lippke B, Kluck N, Priebe L, Degenhardt F, Jamra RA, Meesters C, Karl- Jöckel H, Erbel R, Harrap S, Schumacher J, Fröhlich H, Kruse R, Hillmer AM, Becker T, Nöthen MM. Susceptibility variants on chromosome 7p21.1 suggest HDAC9 as a new candidate gene for male-pattern baldness. Br J Dermatol. 2011;165:1293-1302
Veerabhadrappa P, Burger D, Carlberg B, Charchar F, Tomaszewski M, Harrap S. ISH Hypertension Future Leaders Group: a network for new investigators run by new investigators. J Hypertens. 2011;29:1664-1665
Khor CC, Davila, S, Breunis WB, Lee YC, Shimizu C, Wrigh, VJ, Yeung RSM, Tan DEK, Sim KS, Wang JJ, Wong TY, Pang JX, Mitchell P, Cimaz R, Dahdah N, Cheung YF, Huang GY, Yang WL, Park IS, Lee JK, Wu JY, Levin M, Burns JC, Burgner D, Kuijpers TW, Hibberd ML, Lau YL, Zhang J, Ma XJ, Liu F, Wu L, Yoo JJ, Hong SJ, Kim KJ, Kim JJ, Park YM, Hong YM, Sohn S, Jang GY, Ha KS, Nam HK, Byeon JH, Yun SW, Han MK, Lee KY, Hwang JY, Rhim JW, Song MS, Lee HD, Kim DS, Lee JM, Chang JS, Tsai FJ, Liang CD, Chen MR, Chi H, Chiu NC, Huang FY, Chang LY, Huang LM, Kuo HC, Huang KP, Lee ML, Hwang B, Huang YC, Lee PC, Odam M, Christiansen FT, Witt C, Goldwater P, Curtis N, Palasanthiran P, Ziegler J, Nissen M, Nourse C, Kuipers IM, Ottenkamp JJ, Geissler J, Biezeveld M, Tacke C, Filippini L, Brogan P, Klein N, Shah V, Dillon M, Booy R, Shingadia D, Bose A, Mukasa T, Tulloh R, Michie C, Newburger JW, Baker AL, Rowley AH, Shulman ST, Mason W, Takahashi M, Melish ME, Tremoulet AH, Viswanathan A, Rochtchina E, Attia J, Scott R, Holliday E, Harrap S. Genome-wide association study identifies FCGR2A as a susceptibility locus for Kawasaki disease. Nature Genet.2011;43:1241-1246
Veerabhadrappa P, Burger D, Charchar F, Tomaszewski M, Carlberg B, Harrap S, Touyz R. Council on High Blood Pressure Research/InterAmerican Society of Hypertension/International Society of Hypertension-First New Investigators Symposium at the High Blood Pressure Research 2011 Scientific Sessions. Hypertension. 2012;59:382-383
Salvi E, Kutalik Z, Glorioso N, Benaglio P, Frau F, Kuznetsova T, Arima H, Hoggart C, Tichet J, Nikitin YP, Conti C, Seidlerova J, Tikhonoff V, Stolarz-Skrzypek K, Johnson T, Devos N, Zagato L, Guarrera S, Zaninello R, Calabria A, Stancanelli B, Troffa C, Thijs L, Rizzi F, Simonova G, Lupoli S, Argiolas G, Braga D, D’Alessio MC, Ortu MF, Ricceri F, Mercurio M, Descombes P, Marconi M, Chalmers J, Harrap S, Filipovsky J, Bochud M, Iacoviello L, Ellis J, Stanton AV, Laan M, Dominiczak AF, Samani NJ, Melander O, Jeunemaitre X, Manunta P, Shabo A, Vineis P, Cappuccio FP, Caulfield MJ, Matullo G, Rivolta C, Munroe PB, Barlassina C, Staessen JA, Beckmann JS, Cusi D. Genome-wide association study using a high-density SNP-array and case-control design identifies a novel essential hypertension susceptibility locus in the promoter region of eNOS. Hypertension. 2012;59:248-255
McColl G, Bilszta J, Harrap S. The requirement for bioscience knowledge in medical education. Med J Aust. 2011, DOI 10.5694/mja11.10474
Burger D, Veerabhadrappa P, Charchar F, Tomaszewski M, Harrap S, Carlberg B, Touyz R. Report of the first International Society of Hypertension (ISH) Trainee/New Investigator Symposium: A Global Hypertension Initiative. J Hypertens. 30;2012:631-632
Zoungas S, Chalmers J, Ninomiya T, Li Q, Cooper M, Colagiuri S, Fulcher G, de Galan B, Harrap S, Hamet P, Heller S, Macmahon S, Marre M, Poulter N, Travert F, Patel A, Neal B, Woodward M. The impact of HbA1c levels on vascular complications and death in patients with type 2 diabetes: evidence of glycaemic thresholds. Diabetologia 2012;55:636-643.
van Dieren S, Kengne AP, Chalmers J, Beulens JWJ, Cooper ME, Grobbee DE, Harrap S, Mancia G, Neal B, Patel A, Poulter N, van der Schouw YT, Woodward M, Zoungas S. Effects of Blood Pressure Lowering on Cardiovascular Outcomes in Different Cardiovascular Risk Groups Among Participants With Type 2 Diabetes. Journal Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice. In press 2012
NHMRC (2010-12): Linking early heart growth stress and adult cardiopathology: a new role for autophagy.
NHMRC (2011-13): Defining the role of genomic structural variants in hypertension.
NHMRC (2012-13): Defining early epigenetic causes of cardiac hypertrophy and failure.
NHF (2011-12): MicroRNA-based diagnostic and therapeutic targets for cardiac hypertrophy and heart failure.