Young Investigator Attains Recognition for Podocyte Research

Tobias B. Huber

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ASN will present its Young Investigator Award to Tobias B. Huber, MD, for his groundbreaking research on podocyte biology. Dr. Huber will deliver the Young Investigator Address, titled “Podocyte Biology: The Key to Understanding Glomerular Diseases,” on Sunday, Nov. 4.

Begun in 1985, and co-sponsored by the American Heart Association’s Council of the Kidney, the Young Investigator Award recognizes an individual with an outstanding record of achievement and creativity in basic and patient-oriented research related to the functions and diseases of the kidney.

Dr. Huber is an associate professor of medicine, principal investigator of the Speman Graduate School, and attending physician in the renal division at the Freiburg University Medical Center in Germany. His translational research program involves model organisms, transgenic mouse models, high-throughput screening, systems biology, and high-resolution imaging approaches to studying glomerular signaling pathways in health and disease. His team elucidated several key molecular mechanisms of podocyte biology and progressive glomerular disease. They identified signaling programs that regulate podocyte cell survival, endocytosis, cytoskeletal organization, and polarity, which provided novel insights into how podocytes contribute to glomerular diseases. Recently, Dr. Huber’s team established a role of the mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) gene and autophagy in progressive kidney disease and kidney aging. These studies have broad clinical implications, including for potential new therapeutic strategies. Dr. Huber received his doctoral and medical degrees and completed his nephrology fellowship at the University Medical Center in Freiburg. He conducted his postdoctoral work with Thomas Benzing and Gerd Walz in Freiburg, and Andrey Shaw at Washington University in St. Louis, where his observations led to the discovery of novel protein complexes and functions of the slit diaphragm. Dr. Huber has received numerous honors, including three from the German Society of Nephrology: the Young Nephrologist Award in 2002, the Hans U. Zollinger Research Award in 2009, and the Franz Volhard Award (the society’s highest research award) in 2010.