Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in women. Young women are generally thought to be protected because of the vasoprotective effects of estrogen; but, there is a decline in estrogen as women transition to menopause. Postmenopausal women have impaired vascular function that can be reversed by estradiol therapy. Recently, there has been controversy regarding the safety and efficacy of hormone therapy in menopausal and postmenopausal women, specifically questioning whether estradiol therapy offers cardio-protection to these women.

Our research focus is on cardiovascular health in women throughout the lifespan. We study mechanism contributing to vascular dysfunction in women as they age, and the role estrogen may play in maintaining vascular health. We also study blood pressure regulation in women to understand why the prevalence of hypertension is greater in women after menopause. The ‘timing hypothesis’ suggests that starting hormone therapy early in the menopausal transition – before atherosclerotic disease is present – can offer cardio-protection and help alleviate menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes.


Dr. Megan M. Wenner


Andrew Kuczmarski (doctoral student); Sangeetha Nathaniel (doctoral student); Katherine Haigh, MSN, APRN, CNP (doctoral student)

Graduate Students


  • Effects of Menopause on Vascular Function in Women
  • Estrogen effects on Vascular Function in Women
  • Vascular Function in Hypertensive Women
  • Impacts of Dietary Salt on Sympathetic Blood Pressure Regulation (collaboration: Drs. Bill Farquhar & Sean Stocker)