Project Title: Derivation of Collecting Duct Principal Cells from Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells by Direct Programming via Transcription Factor Expression
How would you sum up your research in one sentence?
I am interested in developing a human collecting duct cell line by direct programing of stem cells with forced expression of transcription factors to help evaluate collecting duct physiology.
Provide a brief overview of the research you will conduct with help from the grant.
The development of kidney organoids has provided nephrology researchers with a new tool to study kidney disease. A significant limitation has been development of ureteric bud and collecting duct cells. I hope to use a novel approach of forced expression of transcription factors that are known to be involved in the development of the ureteric bud and ultimately expressed in the collecting duct to directly program pluripotent stem cells to collecting duct. Human collecting duct cells would provide a useful tool to study collecting duct physiology and pathophysiology.
What impact do you hope your research will have on patients?
I hope my research provides a tool for others to further investigate collecting duct physiology and pathophysiology. I hope this will ultimately provide a tool to test and evaluate new therapies for polycystic kidney disease and hypertension.
What are your career goals at the end of the grant period? Five years out? Ten years out?
At the end of this grant period, I look forward to applying for a K-award to help propel me towards an independent research career. Ten years from now, I hope to be building an independent research lab while still continuing to see patients and teaching fellows, residents, and medical students.
What inspired you to focus your research in this area?
My interest in on this project stems from my previous research in epithelial transport as an undergraduate student and research on the epithelial sodium channel (ENaC) as a graduate student. While working on ENaC, I found in vitro assays were limited to studying non-human tissue and cells. I hope an in vitro human collecting duct cell model will serve as a valuable research tool for the community and allow me to explore distinct physiological mechanisms relating to potassium transport in human cells.
What are the major challenges to beginning a career in nephrology research today?
Trainees that are looking to begin a career in nephrology research require mentorship from mentors at different stages in their career. A mentorship team that encompasses early to late career researchers provides prospective and practical guidance on how to successfully navigate a career in nephrology research. As numerous time commitments challenge trainees, a strong mentorship team can help provide focus to help propel a research career.
What advice would you give to others to encourage them to apply for this grant funding?
Grant writing forces one to critically think about their project and provide an outline for their research. The process of writing a grant also stimulates new ideas for future investigation. Specifically, the KidneyCure grants provide feedback for each and every submitted grant from leading nephrology researchers; advice directly applicable to the research project and future grant proposals.