Clinical and Translational Core

A major goal of the O’Brien Center is to translate basic science research into effective diagnostic and therapeutic strategies that will improve the lives of patients by interrupting the pathogenesis of chronic kidney disease and its attendant high risk of cardiovascular disability and death.

Over the past 30 years, a large investment in biomedical research has led to substantial improvements in patient care and extended life in the general population.

The Clinical and Translational Core is designed to encourage new collaborative efforts that tear down traditional silos between basic and clinical investigators.

The primary objective is to support the highest quality clinical and translational research in kidney disease and associated cardiovascular disease by funded Center Investigators.

In addition to study populations available to investigators through their own initiatives, an important aspect of the O’Brien Center is access to the Dallas Heart Study population, a unique resource available at UT Southwestern Medical Center.

Distinctive Features of the Clinical and Translational Core

Traditionally, human renal and cardiovascular physiology studies have been performed on small selected study samples, while human genetic epidemiology studies have been conducted in large populations without physiological measurements, i.e., without intermediate phenotypes.

Our Core is designed to combine state-of-the-art comprehensive human genetics with detailed state-of-the-art phenotyping of subjects drawn from unique study samples with unprecedented minority representation (below).

Platform for studying the interplay between kidney disease, heart disease, and hypertension.

In this regard, a major strength of the Clinical and Translational Core is the availability of the Dallas Heart study—a large multiethnic population-based cohort with over 50 percent of the participants being African American—and the longitudinal cohort of the African American Study of Kidney Disease and Hypertension (AASK).

The Clinical and Translational Core will coordinate the recruitment of study participants for O’Brien Center Investigators and provide them with state-of-the-art phenotypic measurements of human renal and cardiovascular structure and function. Unique capabilities range from microelectrode recordings of sympathetic action potentials to proton magnetic resonance spectroscopic measurements of renal and cardiac steatosis – specific pathophysiological processes that could provide a common mechanistic explanation for the remarkably tight link between cardiac and renal disease as well as identifying novel therapeutic drug targets for early intervention – sufficiently early to prevent (rather than merely delay) clinical endpoints such as end-stage renal disease, stroke, myocardial infarction, and death.


  • Human research protocol design and implementation
  • Assistance with study participant recruitment and management
  • Regulatory document preparation and monitoring
  • Biostatistical support for study design and analysis
  • Data collection for phenotyping human research subjects
  • Blood and urine sample collection, preparation, storage, and transportation
  • Ambulatory blood pressure
  • Flow-mediated dilation
  • Pulse wave velocity
  • Central aortic pressure
  • Laboratory measurements: Iothalamate clearance, creatinine, urine TGF-beta, urine MCP-1, other

Sample Guidelines for Iothalamate Analysis by Capillary Electrophoresis

Due to increasing demand and limited time and resources, i.e., one capillary electrophoresis system, new guidelines pertaining to sample submissions and allotted turnaround time are necessary. With the below structure, all samples will still be analyzed for iothalamate while allowing time to be devoted towards developing new CE assays for other molecules of interest in nephrology.

Sample Limits and Guidelines

  • No more than sixty (60) samples can be submitted at a time with the expected turnaround time detailed above. Any samples exceeding the maximum of 60 will be analyzed in batches with samples submitted by other investigators when space allows.
  • Please send n number of samples labeled as 1, 2, 3…n; and/or send an Excel file with the sample labels.
  • Sample Volumes: ≥100 µL per serum/plasma and urine sample
    • Any sample volumes ≤100 µL can be accepted although sample processing will require marginally more time (~1 week in addition to requested time); there is no guarantee on such low volume samples.
  • Any remaining samples left after analysis will be kept at -20°C for a maximum of 1 month. Any samples not reclaimed before the month is up will be thrown out.
  • Mailed samples will not be returned.
  • If any iothalamate data appears to be an outlier, the sample will be reanalyzed, if enough sample remains.