Grant: Ben J. Lipps Research Fellowship Award (2018)
Project Title: Targeting Proximal Tubule Metabolism in AKI to CKD Transition in Diabetic Nephropathy.
How would you sum up your research in one sentence?
My research on how maladaptive metabolic reprogramming after tubular injury leads to the of diabetic nephropathy
Provide a brief overview of the research you will conduct with help from the grant.
We hypothesize that a signature tubular injury molecule known as KIM-1 mediates chronic dysregulated tubular fatty acid metabolism after tubular injury, leading to accelerated tubulointerstitial fibrosis in diabetic nephropathy. We will test this hypothesis using a novel mouse model of chronic diabetic nephropathy induced by targeted tubular injury and further, explore the role of Kim-1 mediated free fatty acids uptake in the metabolic reprogramming of tubular cells using a functional Kim-1 knockout transgenic mouse model. Lastly, we will explore the mechanism of Kim-1 mediated free fatty acid uptake in causing defective fatty acid oxidation and its chronic sequela in cell culture models.
What impact do you hope your research will have on patients?
Patients with metabolic syndrome and diabetes have a higher rate of progression to chronic kidney disease after acute kidney injury. My research will provide insights into the molecular mechanism of acute kidney injury to chronic kidney disease transition in diabetic kidney disease. The findings of this research could lead to the development of a therapeutic intervention to prevent chronic kidney disease progression after acute kidney injury.
What are your short- and long-term career goals?
My primary goal is to become an investigative nephrologist in the field of diabetic kidney disease with expertise in kidney injury, metabolism, and fibrosis. At the end of this grant period, I will seek an investigative nephrologist position and career development awards from NIH and professional societies to advance my research. I will actively translate my research into diagnostic and therapeutic innovations in five to ten years.
What inspired you to focus your research on kidney diseases?
Diabetes is the leading cause of end-stage renal disease (ESRD). Approximately 45% of ESRD patients have diabetes as a significant contributor to their kidney failure. The total Medicare expenditure for persons with ESRD was $33.9 billion in 2015. New treatment to slow the progression of diabetic chronic kidney disease to ESRD is a pressing need.
In one sentence, please describe the importance of having grant funding available through the ASN Foundation.
ASN grant is essential for clinician investigators like me who are ineligible for the federal funding at their fellowship stage. Without this grant, I would probably pursue a different career path.
Something you may not know about me is…
that a good bench scientist at work makes a good cook at home. The happiest moment is when my wife and daughters enjoy the meals I make.