Grant: George B. Rathmann Research Fellowship Award (2019)
Project Title: From Bedside to Bench: Gramoxone and Mesoamerican Nephropathy
How would you sum up your research in one sentence?
My research examines the role of exposure to oxidative substances like pesticides in the pathogenesis of Mesoamerican nephropathy (MeN) and chronic kidney disease of uncertain etiology (CKDu).
Provide a brief overview of the research you will conduct with help from the grant.
MeN is a significant cause of progressive chronic kidney disease in Central America and Mexico and migrants from these areas within the USA. Affecting primarily working-age males, MeN may lead to end-stage kidney disease and has had a devastating impact on patients and families. With its widespread prevalence and with many regional differences in agricultural/work practices, conclusive evidence of the etiology is lacking. I will study the pathways of proximal tubule damage from herbicide-induced oxidative injury, which may play a role in the pathogenesis of MeN.
What impact do you hope your research will have on patients?
Convincingly identifying modifiable risk factors, such as exposure to certain chemicals, will advance our understanding of the disease and inform future preventative measures and treatments.
What are your short and long-term career goals?
At the conclusion of the grant period, and for 5 years out, my goals are to continue as a nephrologist-scientist engaged in research, clinical practice and education, and to successfully pursue career development support. Ten years out, I hope to continue following in the footsteps of my mentor as an independent investigator, engaged in advancing our understanding of renal disease with the goal of improving patient’s lives and outcomes, and to expand my experience and skills in mentoring, teaching and patient care.
What inspired you to focus your research in this area?
My grandfather’s experience with ESRD from multiple myeloma inspired me to pursue a career in nephrology. The focus of my research is inspired and directed by my patients.
What are the major challenges to beginning a career in nephrology research today?
Institutional support for protected time and excellent mentorship are necessary and critical for success in a research fellowship. My gratitude for the support I have received from the Selzman Institute for Kidney Health at Baylor College of Medicine and my mentor Dr. David Sheikh-Hamad cannot be overstated.
In one sentence, please describe the importance of having grant funding available through the ASN Foundation.
The ASN Foundation enhances the appeal of nephrology as a subspecialty and encourages pursuit of careers in research through its vital fellowship and career development grant programs.
What advice would you give to others to encourage them to apply for this grant funding?
The grant application process is an incredible learning experience, and with each submission, the feedback you receive will only strengthen your proposal for the next cycle.
Something you may not know about me is…
One of my favorite hobbies is graphic and web design.