Research Focus at the KRC

USC/UKRO Kidney Research Center miroscope

UKRO board member Henry David takes a look inside the research center’s multiphoton confocal microscope, which will be used to examine the living kidney. Photo: USC

Kenneth R. Hallows, M.D., Ph.D., F.A.S.N., the incoming director of the USC/UKRO Kidney Research Center, has announced the initial areas of research interest at the KRC.

Acute kidney injury. Dr. Hallows and his colleague at the Kidney Research Center, Núria M. Pastor-Soler, M.D., Ph.D., will continue their work with scientists at the University of Pittsburgh on the effects of sepsis (infection) and ischemia (lack of blood flow) to the kidney’s epithelial cells, with an eye to identifying factors that can speed up the recovery from acute kidney injury.

Hypertension and the regulation of kidney sodium transport. A main focus of the KRC will be to study the mechanisms linking kidney disease with high blood pressure, and finding more individualized cures for hypertension in patients with kidney disease.

Polycystic kidney disease (specifically, autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease, or ADPKD). Dr. Hallows will work with scientists at Yale University, Tufts University, the University of Pittsburgh, and the University of Maryland to see if new therapies such as the antidiabetic drug metformin might slow the progression of ADPKD, and to explore the role of new biomarkers in assessing the severity of the disease and its response to therapies.

Acid regulation and its role in chronic kidney disease. Dr. Pastor-Soler will study how the accumulation of acids in the blood of patients with kidney disease can worsen the progression of those ailments.

Kidney cancer. Through her selection as a winner of the 2015–2016 Wright Foundation Pilot Award, Dr. Pastor-Soler will study samples from patients with renal cell carcinomas in the hopes of finding new biomarkers that can predict the presence and severity of this disease.

Learn more about the KRC and its objectives.

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