Kaice LaFavers, PhD - ASN Foundation for Kidney Research Fellowship Award (2018)

By ASN Staff

Name: Kaice LaFavers, PhD

Institution: Indiana University

Grant: ASN Foundation for Kidney Research Fellowship Award (2018)

Project Title: The Role of Uromodulin in Oxidant Stress during Sepsis-Induced Kidney Injury
 

How would you sum up your research in one sentence?

  • I am studying the role of the kidney-specific protein uromodulin in regulating oxidant stress and sepsis-induced kidney injury.


Provide a brief overview of the research you will conduct with help from the grant.

  • This fellowship award will help me to conduct in vivo and in vitro studies to determine how uromodulin might protect the kidney and other organs during sepsis to improve survival. We believe uromodulin does this by mitigating the oxidative stress that occurs during sepsis and will also be investigating how uromodulin protects against oxidative stress and what impact this has on organ function during sepsis.


What impact do you hope your research will have on patients?

  • My hope is that by understanding the complex relationships between uromodulin, kidney function and the function of other organs during sepsis, we can develop new therapeutics to improve survival in septic patients.


What are your short- and long-term career goals?

  • At the end of the grant period, my goal is to secure transitional grant funding that will allow me to develop a research program and obtain a position as an independent investigator. At five and ten years out from the grant period, my goal is to be continuing to develop and expand an independent research program and begin training future generations of independent scientists. I am also passionate about providing undergraduate students with exposure to academic research opportunities and would plan to participate in programs that improve access to such opportunities.


What inspired you to focus your research in kidney diseases?

  • There are many attractive reasons to focus research in kidney diseases. Researchers in this field are pushing the envelope on many important imaging and “omics” techniques to address this incredibly complex and important organ, making it an exciting field to work in. In addition to the already sizable health impact that kidney disease has, kidney function is incredibly intertwined with other medical conditions of importance (i.e. diabetes, sepsis, chronic pharmaceutical use). This means that the work we do has the potential to be both highly impactful and collaborative.


What are the major challenges to beginning a career in nephrology research today?

  • I think one of the major challenges to beginning a career in nephrology research is making sure that you have found and surrounded yourself with people who will help you grow as a scientist and support you in your current and future endeavors. With an increasingly competitive funding and hiring landscape, finding collaborators and mentors to critique your work and help you to improve is of utmost importance.


What advice would you give to others to encourage them to apply for this grant funding?

  • I would encourage any new fellows to apply for this grant funding as it is an excellent way to crystallize your plans for the future and, if you are awarded a fellowship, it can be an important stepping stone in your path to independence.


Something you may not know about me is…

  • I love to read! I always have an ebook or two downloaded to my phone and if I’m working in the lab by myself, I’m usually listening to an audiobook rather than music.


In my free time I like to…

  • spend time with my husband and kids, preferably outdoors!
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ASN Staff
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Name: Kaice LaFavers, PhD

Institution: Indiana University

Grant: ASN Foundation for Kidney Research Fellowship Award (2018)

Project Title: The Role of Uromodulin in Oxidant Stress during Sepsis-Induced Kidney Injury
 

How would you sum up your research in one sentence?

  • I am studying the role of the kidney-specific protein uromodulin in regulating oxidant stress and sepsis-induced kidney injury.


Provide a brief overview of the research you will conduct with help from the grant.

  • This fellowship award will help me to conduct in vivo and in vitro studies to determine how uromodulin might protect the kidney and other organs during sepsis to improve survival. We believe uromodulin does this by mitigating the oxidative stress that occurs during sepsis and will also be investigating how uromodulin protects against oxidative stress and what impact this has on organ function during sepsis.


What impact do you hope your research will have on patients?

  • My hope is that by understanding the complex relationships between uromodulin, kidney function and the function of other organs during sepsis, we can develop new therapeutics to improve survival in septic patients.


What are your short- and long-term career goals?

  • At the end of the grant period, my goal is to secure transitional grant funding that will allow me to develop a research program and obtain a position as an independent investigator. At five and ten years out from the grant period, my goal is to be continuing to develop and expand an independent research program and begin training future generations of independent scientists. I am also passionate about providing undergraduate students with exposure to academic research opportunities and would plan to participate in programs that improve access to such opportunities.


What inspired you to focus your research in kidney diseases?

  • There are many attractive reasons to focus research in kidney diseases. Researchers in this field are pushing the envelope on many important imaging and “omics” techniques to address this incredibly complex and important organ, making it an exciting field to work in. In addition to the already sizable health impact that kidney disease has, kidney function is incredibly intertwined with other medical conditions of importance (i.e. diabetes, sepsis, chronic pharmaceutical use). This means that the work we do has the potential to be both highly impactful and collaborative.


What are the major challenges to beginning a career in nephrology research today?

  • I think one of the major challenges to beginning a career in nephrology research is making sure that you have found and surrounded yourself with people who will help you grow as a scientist and support you in your current and future endeavors. With an increasingly competitive funding and hiring landscape, finding collaborators and mentors to critique your work and help you to improve is of utmost importance.


What advice would you give to others to encourage them to apply for this grant funding?

  • I would encourage any new fellows to apply for this grant funding as it is an excellent way to crystallize your plans for the future and, if you are awarded a fellowship, it can be an important stepping stone in your path to independence.


Something you may not know about me is…

  • I love to read! I always have an ebook or two downloaded to my phone and if I’m working in the lab by myself, I’m usually listening to an audiobook rather than music.


In my free time I like to…

  • spend time with my husband and kids, preferably outdoors!
Date:
Tuesday, July 17, 2018