The Pediatric Center of Excellence in Nephrology was established with funding from the National Institutes of Health – Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis

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WASHU researchers create maps detailing the genetics of healthy and diseased kidneys

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Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have received a grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to establish a Pediatric Center of Excellence in Nephrology. Clinicians and scientists at the center will create high-resolution molecular reference maps that show the genetic details of healthy and diseased kidneys during different stages of childhood growth and development. The center team will also launch related educational programs to attract new researchers to the field.

Kidney problems in children can range from treatable short-term disorders to chronic diseases with severe long-term consequences, including kidney failure that requires dialysis treatment and often a kidney transplant. Common causes of kidney disease include birth defects, genetic diseases, immune injury, infections, and the consequences of other systemic problems, such as diabetes and high blood pressure. Research suggests that chronically ill children with kidney disease may spend more time in the hospital, incur greater health care costs and be at greater risk of dying than pediatric patients hospitalized for other chronic conditions.

“The development of effective methods for early detection of kidney disease and measurement of its severity in children is delayed in part due to a lack of knowledge of the physiological and pathological changes that occur as the kidneys mature,” said the co-principal investigator. Vikas Daridarka, MDboss Department of pediatric nephrology, hypertension and apheresis In the Department of Pediatrics in the Faculty of Medicine. “The molecular blueprints resulting from our initiative will greatly enhance our ability to design effective approaches to intervention and prevention of renal impairment.”

Dharnidharka, MD, Professor of Pediatrics and Vice Chair of Clinical Investigations in the Department of Pediatrics, Alexis F. Hartmann Sr. He is also the associate medical director of Pediatric Kidney Transplant Program at Saint Louis Children’s HospitalWhere patients are treated. Known nationally for its expertise in diagnosing and treating kidney disease, Washington University pediatrics specialists have led St. Louis Children’s Hospital to become a premier referral center for children with kidney disease.

Sanjay Jain, MD, PhDProfessor of Medicine in the Department of Medicine Department of Nephrology, will act as co-principal investigator and project leader for the initiative. Jain, a detective at the school Center for Regenerative Medicineinvestigates the biology of kidney and lower urinary tract stem cells, focusing on their ability to differentiate or remain stable in healthy and diseased states.

His lab explores how the kidneys are formed, how they connect to the bladder, and how their cellular and molecular makeup changes across the lifespan. His other projects at the National Institutes of Health include the Kidney Precision Medicine Initiative, the Kidney Single Cell Project, the Spatial Molecular Atlas as part of the Human Biomolecules Atlas Project, funded by the NIH Joint Fund, the Kidney Precision Medicine Project and the National Institute of Diabetes and the Digestive and Gastrointestinal Tract. Nephrology (NIDDK).

The Center of Excellence Awards are funded through a highly competitive five-year selection process administered by the NIDDK. Only three such projects are awarded funding per cycle.

The initiative leaders will run an annual pilot project program and various educational initiatives, including an annual research symposium, an eight-week summer internship program, and a visiting lecture program, all designed to attract new researchers to the field. Program funding runs through June 2027.

Investigators will analyze healthy and diseased samples from the children’s kidneys using single cell and spatial transcriptome, a molecular profiling method that allows scientists to accurately measure and map where gene activity occurs within a single cell or group of cells. By comparing how gene expression and cellular functions change during healthy development and disease progression, researchers hope to identify changes that play a role in forming and maintaining healthy kidneys and those that contribute to disease.

“Our goal is to detail the genetic and cellular mechanisms of childhood kidney disease and its progression to help develop new diagnostic tests, improved medications, uniquely personalized therapies and other clinical improvements that will help us reduce or even treat genetic or acquired kidney disorders,” said Jain.

Other co-investigators of the University of Washington are Michael Rauchman, MDChromalloy Professor of Nephrology in Medicine; And the Joseph Gott, MD, PhDLadenson Professor of Pathology and Immunology. The multidisciplinary team also includes co-investigators Gloria Brehuber, a neonatologist from the University of Rochester, and Michael Eddon, a nephrologist from Indiana University.

The Washington University Pediatric Center of Excellence in Nephrology is supported by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, Project Number 1P50DK133943-01

About the University of Washington School of Medicine

Washoe medicine It is a global leader in academic medicine, including biomedical research, patient care, and educational programs with 2,700 faculty members. The National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) research funding portfolio is the fourth largest among U.S. medical schools, and has grown 54% in the past five years. Combined with institutional investment, WashU Medicine commits over $1 billion annually to basic research, clinical innovation, and training. . Its faculty practice is consistently in the top five in the country, with more than 1,790 faculty physicians practicing at more than 60 locations and they are also the medical staff at Barnes is Jewish And the Saint Louis Kids Hospitals BJC HealthCare. WashU Medicine has a strong history of MD/PhD training, recently committed $100 million to scholarships and curriculum renewals for medical students, and is home to first-class training programs in every medical subspecialty as well as physical therapy, occupational therapy, audiology, and communication sciences.

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