Grant: Ben J. Lipps Research Fellowship Award (2019)
Project Title: Novel Role of Heterogeneous Nuclear Ribonucleoprotein F (hnRNP F) in Regulation of Sodium-Glucose Cotransporter 2 (Sglt2) Expression in Diabetes
How would you sum up your research in one sentence?
My research seeks to understand how the renal tubule glucose transporter, SGLT2, is molecularly regulated.
Provide a brief overview of the research you will conduct with help from the grant.
Recently, SGLT2 inhibitors, a new category of oral anti-diabetic agents, are garnering attention for their renoprotective effects. Our lab incidentally found that renal-tubule-specific hnRNP F knockout mice, which were originally created to study the intrarenal RAS regulation mechanism, have renal glucosuria and down-regulated Sglt2. With the help of this grant, I will investigate the molecular mechanisms of Sglt2 regulations.
What impact do you hope your research will have on patients?
Currently, more than 400 million people have diabetes in the world. Approximately 40% of all patients with diabetes will develop diabetic kidney disease. Defining the molecular pathways which are controlling the renal SGLT2 expression in diabetes, has a potential to guide us to a new therapeutic target to prevent the development and/or progression of diabetic nephropathy.
What are your short and long-term career goals?
My passion has been to become a clinician scientist in nephrology. At the end of this grant period, my goal is to apply for career development grants that allow me to pursue further training as a junior faculty. In 5 years, I hope to establish myself as an independent investigator. In 10 years, I would like to be a mentor to the next generation of clinician researchers, just as my respectable mentors did for me during my residency and fellowship. My belief as a clinician is that research questions should arise from patient care and research outcomes should benefit patients; I would like to continue to see patients, learn from patients, and contribute to CKD patients’ care by bridging the gap between basic science and clinical practice.
What inspired you to focus your research in this area?
My niece was diagnosed with a kidney disease at the age of 1, when my sister noticed pink urine in the diaper. Looking at her kidney biopsy slides, as a nephrologist, I could not help but foreseeing her prognosis very clearly, being dialysis dependent for many years from teenager. Treating patients using the existing techniques and medicine is one way of contribution, but we have already known that we cannot save patients like her with the current medicine. I would also like to contribute to help CKD patients by finding a new approach to treat the kidney diseases.
What advice would you give to others to encourage them to apply for this grant funding?
This is my third trial of applying for ASN fellowship grant. I know it is competitive, but if you don’t apply for it, you will never get it. Be persistent and keep trying!
Something you may not know about me is…
Last summer, we moved from Los Angeles to Montreal, Canada, for my husband (surgeon)’s subspecialty fellowship. I wanted to take advantage of the two years of my stay, by starting something new that would strengthen my future career. That is why I’m now deep in the basic science world.
In my free time I like to…
Take a bath for an hour by myself, watch movies with my husband, and play outside with our two children.