BBS Faculty Member - Christopher Newton-Cheh

Christopher Newton-Cheh

Department of Medicine, MGH
Program in Medical and Population Genetics, Broad Institute

Massachusetts General Hospital
Richard B. Simches Research Center
185 Cambridge Street, Room 5242
Boston MA 02114
Tel: 617-643-3615
Fax: 617-249-0127
Visit my lab page here.

The Newton-Cheh laboratory is focused on identifying the genetic factors that underlie variation in blood pressure and myocardial repolarization, determination of their role in human physiology and their implications for human health at the population level. Elevated blood pressure is an important modifiable risk factor for stroke, heart failure, myocardial infarction and end-stage renal disease. QT interval prolongation is a risk factor for sudden cardiac death and occurs as a cardiotoxic side effect of many medications, leading to loss of valuable compounds from the drug development pipeline.

We recently found that common variation at the NPPA/NPPB locus influences natriuretic peptide concentration and in turn systolic and diastolic blood pressure. This was the first in vivo demonstration of the role of inter-individual variability in the natriuretic peptide system in blood pressure regulation and was the first common variant for blood pressure reported. We recently reported a genome-wide association study of blood pressure in 34,433 individuals of European ancestry identifying 8 novel genetic loci related to blood pressure that open new avenues of investigation into the fundamental basis of blood pressure regulation and novel therapeutic targets. We recently reported a genome-wide association study of myocardial repolarization in 13,685 individuals from the US and Europe identifying ten genetic loci related to myocardial repolarization, five of which were not previously known to be involved in its regulation.

In summary, our laboratory is generating key insights into the genetic basis of blood pressure regulation and myocardial repolarization which have implications for our understanding of the physiology of hypertension and cardiotoxic drug response. We are expanding our research efforts to translate these genetic findings with the use of high-resolution phenotyping of carriers of known genetic factors that operate at the population level, with the promise that we may improve both the efficacy and reduce the toxicity of therapies for the prevention of human disease.

Dr. Newton-Cheh is a staff cardiologist in the Heart Failure and Transplantation Section at Massachusetts General Hospital and Medical Director of the EKG Laboratory.

Last Update: 8/22/2013


For a complete listing of publications click here.



Newton-Cheh C et al. Association of Common Variants in NPPA and NPPB with Circulating Natriuretic Peptides and Blood Pressure. Nature Genetics. 2009;41(3):348-53.

Newton-Cheh C et al. Common variants at ten loci influence QT interval duration in the QTGEN Study. Nature Genetics. 2009;41(4):399-406.

Newton-Cheh C et al. Genome-wide association study identifies eight loci associated with blood pressure. Nat Genetics 2009;41(6):666-676.

© 2013 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College