Young Investigator Wins Award for Kidney Fibrosis Findings

Katalin Susztak


The ASN Young Investigator Award will be presented to Katalin Susztak, MD, PhD, for her groundbreaking research on the mechanisms of progressive chronic kidney disease.

Dr. Susztak is an associate professor of medicine and genetics at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City.

The work in her laboratory is aimed at understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms that lead to progressive renal fibrosis in chronic kidney diseases. She performs translational research to identify novel genetic, genomic, and epigenomic biomarkers of chronic kidney disease. She has shown that an integrative analysis of epigenetic and genetic determinants in diseased cells can provide a basis for more accurately modeling the critical biological pathways involved in mediating the progressive phenotype in individual patients.

Dr. Susztak’s genetic approaches use a mouse model to test the role of candidate signaling molecules directly in vivo. Specifically, her work has highlighted the role of the Notch and Wnt/beta-catenin pathways, renal epithelial cell homeostasis, and renal stem or progenitor cell function and differentiation in progressive chronic kidney disease. Her recent results revealed the role of embryonic programs in the development of adult disease-causing alterations in renal epithelial cells and in causing kidney fibrosis. These studies have a broad clinical significance because they could be used to develop novel therapeutic strategies.

Dr. Susztak received her doctoral and medical degrees from Semmelweis University School of Medicine in Budapest, Hungary, in 1997. She completed her clinical fellowship in nephrology at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in 2002. She conducted her postdoctoral work with Dr. Erwin Bottinger, where her observations led to the recognition that injury and apoptosis of podocytes are the earliest lesions in progressive diabetic nephropathy.

Dr. Susztak serves on the ASN Glomerular Disease Advisory Group. She will receive the award and deliver the Young Investigator Address titled “Kidney Fibrosis: Where Kidney Repair Went Awry” on Sunday, November 13.

October-November 2011 (Vol. 3, Number 10 & 11)