Preclinical Research

Hypertension researchers are collaborating with the Bernstein Laboratory to translate basic research on inflammatory cells (macrophages) as a new drug target to treat hypertensive patients.

Clinical Research

Researchers are creating innovative clinical research projects in health services and vascular biology to improve early detection and management of hypertension. These projects focus on:

  • Barber-based community-level intervention to improve hypertension management among African-American men
  • Hypertensive mechanisms mediating the acute cardiovascular toxicity of cocaine
  • Hypertensive mechanisms mediating the acute cardiovascular toxicity of hookah (water pipe) smoking

Barber-Based Community-Level Intervention Trials
Researchers are testing an intervention for improving hypertension control in black men by using Los Angeles barbershops. Cedars-Sinai's previous hypertension control research in black-owned barbershops showed that using barbers to offer blood pressure checks to adult male patrons motivated those with high readings to follow up with a doctor, resulting in significant improvements in hypertension control.

Hypertensive Mechanisms
Researchers are studying the mechanisms by which cocaine causes acute coronary syndrome. Using myocardial contrast echocardiography, they hope to show cocaine-induced vasoconstriction in the human coronary microcirculation. They also are applying for new funding from the National Institutes of Health to find the most effective ways to block adverse effects of cocaine, such as hypertension.

Hookah Smoking
Researchers are studying the acute effects of hookah smoking on coronary perfusion, central aortic blood pressure, sympathetic nerve activity and vasomotor tone, both in the heart and in the peripheral circulation. Hookah smoking is the only form of tobacco smoking exempt under the Indoor Clean Air Act and, unfortunately, little is known about its effects on the heart and vessels. The research project is Effects of Hookah Smoking on Blood Flow to the Heart, Muscle and Skin.


Researchers are collaborating with investigators at the UCLA Department of Biomathematics and the UCLA Health Services Research Center; the University of Southern California School of Pharmacy; the University of California, San Francisco; and Charles Drew University on barber-based community intervention studies. Cedars-Sinai also partners with Walgreens pharmacy, Kaiser Permanente and Healthy African American Families on this research.

For the mechanistic studies on cardiovascular responses to cocaine and hookah-smoking exposures, Cedars-Sinai is are collaborating with the UCLA Department of Biomathematics, the UCLA Pulmonary Division, the UCLA School of Nursing and the Cardiology Division of the Oregon Health and Science University in Portland.