Vale Karen A Duggan

It is with great sadness that we advise members of the death of Dr Karen Duggan, a long- term member of the High Blood Pressure Research Council/ Hypertension Australia, and outstanding cardiovascular physician and researcher.

Karen Duggan (BSc Hons, MBBS, FRACP, MD) graduated in Medicine from the University of Sydney and trained as a nephrologist, working at Prince Henry Hospital, Sydney, and the Austin Hospital/Repatriation in Melbourne. She then returned to NSW as senior Staff Specialist in Renal Medicine, and Director of the Hypertension Service at Bankstown-Lidcombe 1995-2000, then Director, Hypertension service SWSAHS (2000-2008). Karen Duggan served as Associate Professor of Medicine, UNSW from 1995 to 2008.

Karen’s research centred on the mechanisms underlying salt sensitive hypertension, regulatory mechanisms in the fibrotic process, and new agents for the treatment of hypertension. She published widely, including in NEJM, Nephrology, Ann NY Acad Sci, J Physiol, Clin Sci, Am J Physiol, MJA, and others. Graham MacDonald was a long-term collaborator and co-author, as were other members of the society.

Karen Duggan served on many advisory committees, including the National Heart Foundation, NSW Department of Health, and Commonwealth Dept Health and Ageing. She was active in medical education. Another keen interest was improving the measurement of, and guidance regarding, blood pressure monitoring, work that involved many members of HBPRCA, at the time. While a member of the executive of HBPRCA, Karen played a pivotal role in setting up the Australian Ambulatory Blood Pressure Collaboration, which included data from 8000 participants.

More recently (2008) Karen co-founded Vectus Biosystems, working as Medical and Scientific director. Karen was passionate about developing a treatment for fibrosis and high blood pressure, borne out of her long-term research into renal failure, hypertension and vasoactive peptides. Vectus is undertaking clinical trials of its lead compound aimed at treating fibrosis.

Karen was strong advocate for research and scientific exchange, and convened the NSW cardiovascular club 1994-1999, which I was fortunate to experience on several occasions. Another of her passions was enjoying good food, music and theatre with friends. In her ‘spare’ time Karen was very much involved in work on her farm, growing prime cattle and harvesting wonderful olive oil.

Karen’s funeral will be held in Sydney, fittingly close to the Prince Henry site, at The Coast Chapel at Little Bay, NSW 2036, 12.30 pm on Tuesday 11 June 2024.

Margaret J Morris,
Sydney 4 June 2024

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