Grant: OHF-ASN Foundation for Kidney Research Grant (2019)
Project Title: Gut Microbiota Modulation of Oxalate
How would you sum up your research in one sentence?
We are harnessing biochemical pathways in the gut microbiome to develop new therapies for hyperoxaluria and oxalosis.
Provide a brief overview of the research you will conduct with help from the grant.
This grant from ASN and the Oxalosis and Hyperoxaluria Foundation will stimulate my lab’s research into the role of the microbiome in oxalate metabolism. We will identify microbes and microbial interactions in the gut that help detoxify oxalate. Our goal is to develop a new class of microbial therapies that can help patients with hyperoxaluria control oxalate levels in their body.
What inspired you to focus your research in this area?
As a physician-scientist, my goal is to translate basic science discoveries made in my lab to near therapies to promote human health. My research training in gut microbiology and clinical training in pathology has placed me in an excellent position to address human health through the gut microbiome. The catalyst for studying hyperoxaluria came from my nephrology colleagues at Stanford University (Tim Meyer, Tammy Sirich, and Alan Pao) and interactions at last year’s ASN Kidney Week. It is a great honor to receive this award from ASN/OHF, and I am excited to embark on my career working with the nephrology community to address important problems in kidney disease.
What impact do you hope your research will have on patients?
I hope that our research will yield new safe therapies that help patients achieve better control of their oxalate levels and ultimately improve their long-term health.
What are your short and long-term career goals?
Stimulated by this ASN award, I hope to successfully secure NIH funds to continue making advances in the field of hyperoxaluria. In five years, I hope to have a flourishing research program studying the role of the microbiome in hyperoxaluria. In ten years, I hope the fundamental discoveries we make in the lab are making it to the clinic where they have meaningful impact on patients.
What has surprised you most about your career?
How important mentorship and great colleagues are to having fun and success in research.
What are the major challenges facing nephrology research today?
The major challenge I see is to foster open dialogue between basic scientists and clinical nephrologists to solve clinically important problems in nephrology.
In one sentence, please describe the importance of having grant funding available through the ASN Foundation.
This funding will stimulate our hyperoxaluria research and has opened the door to what I anticipate will be an exciting research career in nephrology.
What advice would you give to others to encourage them to apply for this grant funding?
For basic scientists, embrace your clinical colleagues because their insights can help to catalyze new areas of research with importance to human health.
Something you may not know about me is…
During my time in the Midwest, I used to surf in the great lakes.
In my free time I like to…
Spend time in the outdoors, hiking and fishing with my wife and son.