Nephrology Research

The Division of Nephrology at UT Southwestern Medical Center conducts leading-edge basic science and patient-oriented research. We strive to acquire new knowledge that will advance our understanding of kidney biology and the pathogenesis and treatment of renal disease.

Our basic science research efforts focus on renal physiology, cell biology, epithelial transport, renal growth and development, immunology and inflammation, acute renal failure, diabetic nephropathy, molecular genetics, and polycystic kidney disease.

The studies are performed in 13,000-square-feet of brand new office and laboratory space in the Nephrology Division. State-of-the-art experimental methods include patch clamp, molecular biology, transgenic and knockout mice, confocal microscopy, tubule microperfusion, fluorimetry, and RNA interference. Funding from the National Institutes of Health, Department of Veterans Affairs, American Heart Association, March of Dimes, National Kidney Foundation, Polycystic Kidney Disease Foundation, Kidney Texas, and private contributions supports these endeavors.

The Nephrology Division has a well-funded and growing program in patient-oriented research. We have diversified our studies from clinical trials to include studies on novel peptides in prevention of acute renal failure and development of new methods for measuring renal function in humans. In addition, we are studying mechanisms of disease in hypertension and extending previous work on the pathogenesis and consequences of dyslipidemia in patients with renal disease.

Our clinical trials include projects on vascular access, the pathogenesis of hypertension in chronic renal disease, renal epidemiology and nephropathy susceptibility genes. Trainees that participate in patient-oriented research can obtain an MPH degree.

There are close ties between the Nephrology Division and the world-renowned research on nephrolithiasis conducted in the Center for Mineral Metabolism and Clinical Research. The current research in the Center explores the pathophysiology and molecular genetic basis of absorptive hypercalciuria, uric acid nephrolithiasis, role of estrogen in renal handling of calcium, the dietary influences in renal stone formation, and calcium-oxalate interaction in modulation calcium stone formation.

Patient-oriented, hypothesis-driven research is conducted at the  Clinical and Translational Research Center (formerly known as the General Clinical Research Center). The overall goal of the CTRC is to provide an optimal setting for clinical investigation which lead to an improved understanding of the disease process, allow better methods of diagnosis and treatment, foster interdisciplinary collaboration, and offer training in clinical investigation.

These investigators have appointments in basic and clinical departments, including Pathology, Immunology, Molecular Genetics, Molecular Biology, Developmental Biology, and other divisions of Internal Medicine. They serve as faculty members for our NIH training grant in renal research, and several collaborate with investigators in the Nephrology Division on research projects. The affiliated faculty include two National Academy of Science members (Olson, Yanagisawa) and two Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigators (Hobbs, Yanagisawa).