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Dr. Frans Leenen
Adjunct Professor

University of Ottawa Heart Institute
613-696-7360 (Office)
613-696-7125 (Fax)


Frans H.H. Leenen received his PhD and MD from the University of Utrecht, The Netherlands.  He completed his residencies in internal medicine and cardiology at the University of Utrecht Medical School and teaching hospitals.  He obtained postdoctoral research training at the University of Utrecht and the University of Pittsburgh.  Dr. Leenen is currently Professor of Medicine and Pharmacology at the University of Ottawa School of Medicine, and Director of the Hypertension Unit at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute.
Dr. Leenens current areas of research are 1) brain mechanisms determining sympathetic hyperactivity in salt-sensitive hypertension and heart failure with as primary focus the brain RAAS; and 2) genetic basis of salt-sensitive hypertension in rats and humans.  He is a fellow in the cardiovascular section of the American Physiological Society, a fellow of the Council for High Blood Pressure of the American Heart Association, a fellow of the International Academy of Cardiovascular Sciences, and honorary member of the High Blood Pressure Research Council of Australia. For many years he was a Career Investigator of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario, and since 2004 the first recipient of the Pfizer Research Chair in Hypertension, an endowed chair supported by Pfizer Canada, the Ottawa Heart Institute Foundation, and Canadian Institutes of Health Research.  He is also the recipient of several prestigious awards, including the Dedicated Service Award from the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada.  He was the RD Wright Lecturer at the 2009 Annual Scientific meeting of the High BP Research Council of Australia.  He has published more than 280 peer-reviewed papers in respected journals, such as the American Journal of Physiology, Hypertension, Circulation, and Circulation Research.  He is/was a member of editorial boards for Journal of Hypertension, Blood Pressure, Hypertension, Canadian Journal of Cardiology, American Journal of Cardiovascular Drugs, Vascular Health & Risk Management, Experimental & Clinical Cardiology, Current Opinion in Cardiology, Therapeutic Advances in Cardiovascular Disease, American Journal of Hypertension, The Open Hypertension Journal, Cardiology Research and Practice, World Journal of Cardiology.

Recent publications

  • Huang BS, Leenen FHH. The brain renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system: a major mechanism for sympathetic hyperactivity and LV remodeling and dysfunction post MI. Current Heart Failure Reports 6:81-88, 2009.
  • Leenen FHH.  The central role of the brain aldosterone-“ouabain” pathway in salt sensitive hypertension.  Biochimica et Biophysica Acta, Special Issue “Molecular Basis of Disease Arterial Hypertension”  1082:1132-1139, 2010.
  • Leenen FHH, McInnis MH, Fodor G.  Obesity and the Prevalence and Management of Hypertension in Ontario.  American Journal of Hypertension 23:1000-1006, 2010.
  • Leenen FHH, Schiffrin EL.  Control rates of Hypertension in North America.  Editorial Commentary, Hypertension 56:571-572, 2010.
  • Huang BS, Ahmadi S, Ahmad M, White RA, Leenen FHH.  Central neuronal activation and pressor responses induced by circulating ANG II:  Role of brain aldosterone-“ouabain” pathway.  American Journal of Physiology  299:H422-H430, 2010
  • McAlister FA, Wilkins K, Joffres M, Leenen FHH, Fodor G, Gee M, Tremblay MS, Walker R. Johansen H, Campbell N.  Changes in hypertension awareness, treatment, and control rates in Canada over the past two decades.  Canadian Medical Association Journal, 183:1007-1013, 2011.

Present research group

Research Associates

  • Monir Ahmad, MD
  • Hong-Wei Wang, MD PhD
  • Bing Huang, MD, PhD


  • Alex Gabor, Graduate Student (PhD)
  • Shahrier Amin, Graduate Student (PhD)
  • Missale Tiruneh, Graduate Student (MSc)
  • Katherine Westcott, Graduate Student (MSc)
  • Sara Ahmadi, Graduate Student (MSc)
  • Anastasia Drobysheva, Graduate Student (MSc)

Support Staff

  • Chelsea Kingsbury, Senor Research Coordinator
  • Roselyn White, Laboratory Manager
  • Danielle Oja, Manager, Hypertension Unit