The first part of this report on the Australian Health and Medical Research Congress, held November 25-29, 2002, in Melbourne, Australia, considers some of the symposia and three plenary lectures: Neurosteroids: Nature's Valium, G-Protein-Coupled Receptors and the Mike Rand Memorial Lecture. In the new era in relaxin research symposium, we learned that relaxin is a general antifibrotic agent rather than just a hormone of pregnancy. The drugs discussed in the drug discovery symposium included drugs from natural products, allosteric modulators, antibodies to cytokines and AM-336, an N-type Ca 2+ channel blocker. In the matrix proteases symposium, we learned of the importance of these enzymes in bone, endometrial remodeling and cardiovascular disease. The emphasis of the cytokine antagonist symposium was the involvement of cytokines in rheumatoid arthritis and how these effects could be inhibited with cytokine antagonists. The second part of this report is on the cardiovascular components of the meeting. One of the major strengths of Australian research is the cardiovascular area. Thus, it was not surprising that there were three major symposia with a cardiovascular theme this congress. Although the clinical trials of the NHE1 inhibitors in ischemia and reperfusion have been disappointing to date, evidence was presented in the sodium-hydrogen exchanger symposium that these agents might be beneficial in hypertrophy and heart failure. The discussion in the vessel wall biology in diabetes symposium ranged from molecular aspects to clinical trials. In this, and the NAD(P)H oxidases symposium, many new potential drug targets were discussed. The plenary lecture of the High Blood Pressure Research Council concerned the pathophysiology and management of obesity hypertension, and included a discussion of the drugs for weight reduction.