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Department of Pediatrics : Research : Nephrology

Ongoing Research Projects

  • Joint collaboration with Dr. Inderjit Singh on proximal injury in renal ischemia
  • Ambulatory blood pressure monitoring in sickle cell disease
  • Pediatric nephrolithiasis - epidemiological and retrospective data analysis
  • Outcomes of pediatric kidney transplant
  • Recurrent FSGS in kidney transplant
  • Renal manifestations of sickle cell disease
  • Member of the Midwest Pediatric Nephrology Consortium multicenter trials
  • Ambulatory blood pressure monitoring in Obesity

Lab Spotlight

Our lab's  research is focused on understanding the role of the primary cilum in kidney function and disease. Primary cilia are tiny organelles protruding from the cell surface that act as a sensor to sample changes in the extracellular environment and relay them to cell body to facilitate homeostasis at the cellular level. Using a wide spectrum of techniques , from cell biology to basic  physiology, our lab has identified a primary cilium and it's potential function in podocytes. This is a cell type found in the glomerulus that helps with filtration and which was previously not known to have a cilium. Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) is  a glomerular disease that occurs when podocytes have become damaged and replaced with scare tissue but only in part of the glomerulus (focal). Interestingly, we have found that cells in these focal lesions have multiple cilia, a sharp contrast to the normal situation in which the cells  of the glomerulus  have only a single cilium. We hope that this finding will help physicians make an earlier diagnosis of FSGS thereby affording patients with the opportunity for ealier intervention. We are also focused on cilia function in the other nephron segments  such as the collecting duct. Aberrant cilia function in this segment has been linked to Polycystic Kidney  Disease (PKD), a group of inheritable disorders that affects up to 1:500 in the US alone. - Dr. Robert Kolb, Ph.D.