Generation and Repair of the Kidney
The mammalian kidney plays a central role in controlling the environment for all the body’s systems, regulating blood pressure and blood composition, and removal of waste from metabolic processes. The functional unit is a nephron: up to one million nephrons are formed in the human kidney during fetal life when the supply of nephron stem/progenitor cells is exhausted. Consequently, repair of kidney damage is quite different from that of many other organ systems where stem cells remain in place throughout life. Our research on the developing kidney focuses on identifying the regulatory processes that maintain, expand and differentiate kidney stem cells to the mature cell types of the functional kidney. In the adult, we are identifying the cellular and molecular mechanisms at play in repairing damage on acute injury. These lines of research will enable complimentary strategies to treat kidney injury and disease.