Grant: John Merrill Grant in Transplantation (2019)
Project Title: Impact of B Cell Survival Cytokines on Transplant Glomerulopathy
How would you sum up your research in one sentence?
Many kidney transplant recipients will face failure of their kidney transplant, my research program investigates ways to make kidney transplants last longer.
Provide a brief overview of the research you will conduct with help from the grant.
A diagnosis of chronic antibody-mediated rejection with the pathologic feature of transplant glomerulopathy is high risk for failure of the kidney transplant. Currently, there are no FDA-approved treatments for transplant glomerulopathy. My research under the ASN John Merrill grant in Transplantation will examine a novel marker of disease and a potential therapeutic target (B cell survival cytokines) in kidney transplantation.
What inspired you to focus your research in this area?
I’m a physician scientist and I see patients affected by failure of their kidney transplant. Also, I find nephrology, pathology, and immunology fascinating. Research in transplant nephrology allows me combine all of these.
What impact do you hope your research will have on patients?
Our understanding of the pathophysiology of transplant glomerulopathy is limited and no effective therapeutics exist. With this research, the hope is to improve our understanding of the disease process, identify risk factors for allograft failure, and build the groundwork for new therapeutics.
What are your short and long-term career goals?
I do translational research and the goal is to apply research findings from the lab bench to the clinic. We are already making progress in this area; my research under the ASN John Merrill grant in Transplantation will investigate transplant glomerulopathy in both an animal model and patient tissues. Down the road, the goal is to apply these findings in clinical trials.
What has surprised you most about your career?
Not everything in research goes to plan, but by turning things around and asking new questions those results can lead you in new and interesting directions.
What are the major challenges facing nephrology research today?
The costs of doing research, both basic and clinical, are high. The funding for research in the field of nephrology is a major challenge. Many new tools are becoming available for research (big data, transcriptomics, precision medicine, etc). This opens exciting an innovative areas for nephrology research. It also increases the complexity of research, need for team science, and funding pressures for maintaining this sort of a team; this can be particularly challenging for junior investigators.
What advice would you give to others to encourage them to apply for this grant funding?
The ASN grant mechanism is a great opportunity. I encourage others to apply. And be persistent; advice from reviewers and mentors can grow your science.
Something you may not know about me is…
I did competitive ballroom dance in college.
In my free time I like to…
hike, kayak, go to the local farmers’ market, and go to concerts