Dr. Robertus Hilgers

Dr. Robertus Hilgers


School of Medicine

Assistant Professor Pharmacology

Dr. Hilgers received his Ph.D. degree in Pharmacology at the University of Maastricht, the Netherlands. He has extensive academic research experience in the field of vascular biology, studying small artery vasoreactivity. His research has been published in many peer-reviewed scientific journals, including Hypertension and the Science Translational Medicine.

Dr. Hilgers’ research interests are mechanisms of endothelial dysfunction that result in cardiovascular complications, such as hypertension, atherosclerosis, and myocardial infarction. He is a reviewer for the American Journal of Hypertension and the American Journal of Physiology. In addition to being a researcher, Dr. Hilgers has academic teaching experience in the fields of Pharmacokinetics, Physiology and Pharmacology.

  • Vascular Biology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases
  • Pharmacokinetics
  • Pharmacology
25 publications

  • Hilgers RHP. Tail vein injections of recombinant human thioredoxin prevents high fat-induced endothelial dysfunction in mice. https://doi.org/10.1101/694083
  • Brown KP, Raccor BS, Hilgers RH, Breivogel C. Interprofessional Teaching within a Skills Course in a Newly Integrated Curriculum. Currents in Pharmacy Teaching and Learning. 2018. Current Pharm Teach Learn. 2019; 3:270 – 276.
  • Dunn SM, Hilgers RH, Das KC. Decreased EDHF-mediated relaxation is a major mechanism in endothelial dysfunction in resistance arteries in aged mice on prolonged high- fat sucrose diet. Physiol Rep. 2017, 5(23). pii: e13502. doi: 10.14814/phy2.13502.
  • Hilgers RH, Kundumani-Sridharan V, Subramani J, Chen LC, Cuello LG, Rusch N, Das KC. Thioredoxin reverses age-related hypertension by chronically improving vascular redox and restoring eNOS function. Sci. Transl. Med. 2017.9, eaaf6094.
  • Subramani J, Kundumani-Sridharan V, Hilgers RH, Owens C, Das KC. Thioredoxin uses a GSH-independent route to deglutathionylate endothelial nitric oxide synthase and protects against myocardial infarction. J Biol Chem. 2016; 291: 23374-23389.
  • Hilgers RH and Das KC. Role of in vivo vascular redox state in resistance arteries. Hypertension. 2015;65: 130-139.
  • Pacurari M, Xing D, Hilgers RH, Guo YY, Yang Z, Hage FG. Endothelial cell transfusion ameliorates endothelial dysfunction in 5/6 nephrectomized rats. Am J Physiol. 2013; 305: H1256-64
  • Hilgers RH, Oparil S, Wouters W, and Coelingh Bennink H. Vasodilator Effects of estetrol (E4) in rat arteries. J Endocrinol. 2012; 215: 97-106
  • Hilgers RH, Xing D, Gong K, Chen YF, Chatham JC, and Oparil S. Acute O-GlcNAcylation prevents inflammation-induced vascular dysfunction. Am J Physiol. 2012; 303: H513-522.
  • Zemse SM, Chiao CW, Hilgers RH, and Webb RC. Interleukin-10 inhibits the in vivo and in vitro adverse effects of TNFalpha on the endothelium of murine aorta. Am J Physiol. 2010; 299: H1160-1167.
  • Hilgers RH, Janssen GM, and De Mey JGR. 24-hour exposure to altered blood flow modifies endothelial Ca2+-activated K+ channels in the rat mesenteric arteries. J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 2010; 333: 210-217.
  • Hilgers RH and De Mey JGR. Myoendothelial coupling in the mesenteric arterial bed; segmental differences and interplay between nitric oxide and endothelin-1. Br J Pharmacol. 2009; 156: 1239-1247.
  • Zemse SM, Hilgers RH, Simkins GB, Rudic RD, Webb RC. Restoration of endothelin-1 induced impairment in endothelium-dependent relaxation by Interleukin-10 in murine aortic rings. Can. J. Physiol. Pharmacol. 2008;86:557-565.
  • Hilgers RH, Todd J Jr, Webb RC. Increased PDZ-RhoGEF/RhoA/Rho Kinase Signaling in Small Mesenteric Arteries of Angiotensin II-Induced Hypertensive Rats. J Hypertens. 2007;25:1687-1697.
  • Zemse SM, Hilgers RH, Webb RC. Interleukin-10 counteracts impaired endothelium-dependent  relaxation induced by ANG II in murine aortic rings. Am J Physiol. 2007;292:H3103-8.
  • Hilgers RH, Webb RC. Reduced expression of SKCa and IKCa channel proteins in rat small mesenteric arteries during angiotensin II-induced hypertension. Am J Physiol. 2007;292:H2275-84.
  • Megens RTA, Reitsma S, Schiffers PHM, Hilgers RH, De Mey JGR, Slaaf DW, oude Egbrink MGA, van Zandvoort MAMJ. Two-photon microscopy of vital murine elastic and muscular arteries. Combined structural and functional imaging with subcellular imaging. J Vasc Res. 2006;44:87-98.
  • Jin L, Ying Z, Hilgers RH, Yin J, Zhao X, Imig J, Webb RC. Increased RhoA/Rho-kinase signaling mediates spontaneous tone in aorta from angiotensin II-induced hypertensive rats. J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 2006; 318:288-95.
  • Hilgers RH, Todd J Jr, Webb RC. Regional heterogeneity in acetylcholine-induced relaxation in rat vascular bed: role of calcium-activated K+ channels. Am J Physiol. 2006;291:H216-22.
  • Bergaya S, Hilgers RH, Meneton P, Dong Y, Bloch-Faure M, Inagami T, Alhenc-Gelas F, Lévy BI, Boulanger CM. Flow-dependent dilation mediated by endogenous kinins requires angiotensin AT2 receptors. Circ Res. 2004;94:1623-29.
  • Hilgers RH, Schiffers PM, Aartsen WM, Fazzi GE, Smits JF, De Mey JG. Tissue angiotensin-converting enzyme in imposed and physiological flow-related arterial remodeling in mice. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2004;24:892-7.
  • Aartsen WM, Hilgers RH, Schiffers PM, Daemen MJ, De Mey JG, Smits JF. Changes in vascular distensibility during angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibition involve bradykinin type 2 receptors. J Vasc Res. 2004;41:18-27.
  • Hilgers RH, Bergaya S, Schiffers PM, Meneton P, Boulanger CM, Henrion D, Lévy BI, De Mey JG. Uterine artery structural and functional changes during pregnancy in tissue kallikrein-deficient mice. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2003;23:1826-32.


  • Recipient of Madam Curie Fellowship
  • Spring 2022 Faculty Recognition Award from 5th semester students, this award recognizes the 4th semester Faculty Member whom the class believes has contributed the most to their success during the 4th Semester in the Basic Sciences department.
  • Spring 2022: Golden Apple Award; selected by the 5th semester students, this award recognizes the Faculty Member who best demonstrates a commitment to maximizing the learning experience for students in the Basic Sciences Department.