Dr. Toney named new Ashbel Smith Professor
By Rosanne Fohn
Glenn M. Toney, Ph.D., a professor of physiology, has been appointed an Ashbel Smith Professor by the UT Health Science Center San Antonio.
Dr. Toney has conducted and published studies that have revolutionized thinking regarding the mechanisms of autonomic nervous system activation to the heart and vascular system related to high blood pressure, sleep apnea and congestive heart failure.
“Since his arrival at the Health Science Center in 1992, Dr. Toney has built a solid reputation in research, education and leadership. Based on his stellar studies in the field of neural mechanisms of cardiovascular regulation and his national reputation, he will play a lead role in establishing a new Cardiovascular Center for Translational Research at the Health Science Center,” said President William L. Henrich, M.D., MACP. “The center will help move basic science discoveries more quickly into clinical practice.”
Dr. Toney’s research involves the autonomic nervous system that regulates functions, such as the beating of the heart and the prevailing level of blood pressure, and how outside factors, such as adding too much salt to the diet, can affect these systems. Too much salt over a long period of time can cause chemical imbalances in the body that activate mechanisms resulting in high blood pressure and congestive heart failure. Another area of study is the mechanism behind the relationship between obesity and sleep apnea.
“Through our research, we have learned that specific regions of the brain closely monitor levels of salt in the body. When salt intake is excessive, signals from the brain cause the heart to accelerate and pump more vigorously. At the same time, signals from the brain prevent the kidneys from excreting the ingested salt causing blood pressure to rise. These actions are amplified by specific hormones and are a major contributor to the epidemic of cardiovascular disease in South Texas and the developed world,” Dr. Toney said.
During the past four years, Dr. Toney’s National Institutes of Health (NIH) research project grants (RO1) and program project grants (PO1) have generated more than $3.8 million. He has published more than 60 scholarly articles in prestigious journals and a number of book chapters.
Dr. Toney has trained more than 25 undergraduate students, Ph.D. students, postdoctoral fellows and research faculty members. Six of his former trainees are now either on the tenure track or are tenured faculty members at other Tier-One medical schools across the country.
In addition, he has served as a member or chairman of almost every major university committee.
Dr. Toney is a standing member of the NIH Hypertension and Microcirculation study section and has served on 12 other extramural grant review panels for the NIH, American Heart Association and private research foundations. He reviews manuscripts for more than 20 scientific journals, is an editorial board member of five physiology or clinical journals, and is senior editor for the prestigious Journal of Physiology. He is a finalist to become the next editor-in-chief of the highly respected Journal of Neurophysiology.
In other accomplishments, Dr. Toney has organized more than 13 international scientific conferences and symposia. The most recent one was the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) Science Research Conference in July, with the theme of “Neural Mechanisms of Cardiovascular Regulation.” His NIH R13 grant helped fund the conference.
Criteria for Ashbel Smith professorship
The five-year, honorary professorship is based on:
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