Grant: Carl W. Gottschalk Research Scholar Grant (2018)
Project Title: Tubular-to-Glomerular Crosstalk in Kidney Disease
How would you sum up your research in one sentence?
My lab seeks to identify the molecular mechanisms of acute and chronic kidney injury in order to develop novel treatments for these diseases.
Provide a brief overview of the research you will conduct with help from the grant.
Chronic kidney disease with proteinuria is a major cause of kidney failure worldwide and treatments are still very limited. We discovered that genetic deletion of a specific protein from renal tubules leads to protection of renal glomeruli from injury. This suggests that the tubule has a strong effect on glomerular injury, through something we call tubular-to-glomerular crosstalk. This project will identify and examine molecular mechanisms that can mediate this crosstalk and hopefully generate targets for future therapies.
What inspired you to focus your research in this area?
The treatments for most proteinuric chronic kidney diseases are remarkably limited. In fact, we have been using the same classes of drugs targeting the renin-angiotensin system for nearly 25 years. To develop newer and more effective therapies we need to better understand the basic disease processes on a cellular and tissue level.
What impact do you hope your research will have on patients?
I hope that our work at the bench will one day have positive effects for patients and lead to new treatments and a better understanding of kidney disease.
What are your short- and long-term career goals?
I hope to continue to grow my lab and be a good mentor for my trainees. With time I would like to expand my research so that we can look at many different aspects of kidney disease pathogenesis.
What has surprised you most about your career?
I have been really happy with the mentorship I’ve received from senior scientists in my own institution as well external to my institution. The ability to get advice on my science and my career is invaluable. I’m continually impressed that these individuals take the time out of their busy schedules to help me in my career.
What are the major challenges facing nephrology research today?
Funding is one major challenge. We spend just as much on end stage renal disease as we do on the entire NIH! This means that there’s a tremendous opportunity to reduce those expenditures by funding science that can benefit our patients. I hope that kidney research funding increases in the future. I also think that we have to do a better job at recruiting residents into nephrology fellowship and showing all trainees that nephrology is a fascinating and rewarding field.
Describe the importance of having grant funding available through the ASN Foundation.
This award is so important to my early career and has provided the critical protected research time to develop my projects and seek independent funding.
What advice would you give to others to encourage them to apply for this grant funding?
I would encourage all eligible candidates to apply – it is well worth your time and effort and will help you to focus your project into a fundable application!
Something you may not know about me is…
I grew up in Johnstown, PA, a former steel town known for the Johnstown Flood.
In my free time I like…
Movie night with the family, taking in a baseball or hockey game