« Make healthy hydration the new norm »

Young Researcher Award winner 2017 : Conor Underwood

2017 Young Researcher Award: “Pitch your Science!” They took the challenge, can you?

Candidates of the Young Researcher Award 2017

Watch the video report

The Hydration for Health Scientific Conference is the only international scientific conference dedicated to hydration. It gathers a great network of experienced scientists in this area and fosters emerging and innovative research on water and health benefits. As for any scientific field, the future of hydration research is in the hands of the new generation.

The Hydration for Health Scientific Conference has therefore the conviction to serve as talent accelerator and to be a key place to get known by giving a chance to young investigators to present their research. Eighty percent of the previous winners are now established principal investigators in the field of hydration.

The challenge of this year’s Young Researcher Award edition was to present in 3 minutes, their ongoing research and a couple of key results in a very sharp and clear manner.

The initial selection of the candidates was abstract-based and conducted by the Hydration for Health Expert Working Group. Six candidates were selected and given the opportunity to pitch, in start-up mode, their research during the conference, in front of the public. At the end, the audience, by live digital voting, selected the winner on specific, pre-defined criteria.

In a very tight competition, the 2017 Hydration for Health Young Researcher Award winner was Conor Underwood, 2nd year Ph.D. candidate at the Department of Biomedical Sciences in Macquarie University Australia, shared his research on polycystic kidney disease (PKD).

Conor Underwood

PKD is a common inherited condition characterized by the growth of multiple renal cysts that progressively decrease kidney function, high blood pressure and hypertension. “In PKD patients, the development of hypertension is related to a reduction in the capacity of the kidneys to concentrate urine and therefore conserve water, but whether this is a causal relationship is unknown”.

Conor presented how inadequate hydration might contribute to high blood pressure in rat model of PKD - Lewis Polycystic Kidney rat (LPK). His data suggest that “the maintenance of hypertension in the LPK model of PKD is dependent on increased neuronal activity (specifically PVN) and vasopressin.

However the secretion of high levels of vasopressin sufficient to drive hypertension is not mediated by PVN neurons in PKD and therefore could involve another vasopressin-secreting area of the hypothalamus.

As over-hydration would suppress both vasopressin secretion and hydration-sensing forebrain neurons that are known to excite PVN neurons, water consumption therapy may prove beneficial for the management of hypertension in PKD”.

Conor’s research opens new perspectives for the treatment of hypertension in PKD patients and has the potential to alleviate the medication of these patients, which would lead to a tremendous improvement in their quality of life.

Conor Underwood was competing along with William Adams (USA), Aggie Bak (UK), Alex Buoite Stella (Italy), Harriet Carroll (UK) and Fernando Enrique Garcia Arroyo (Mexico) in a very intense and high quality session where they all did great in their rapid fire presentations!

Congratulations to Conor and welcome in the hall of fame of the Hydration for Health Young Researcher Award Winners.

They took the challenge, can you?

Stay tuned for the 2018 Hydration for Health Young Research Award.

Former YRA Winner: