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Research Areas

The research activities of our faculty cover a broad range of topics in renal physiology and nephrology from laboratory bench to patient oriented investigation. Current areas of research focus include studies of the mechanisms of acute kidney injury and repair, molecular genetics of polycystic kidney disease and other cilia related disorders, renal tubular electrolyte transport and acid base regulation, renal epithelial cell biology and morphogenesis, and biomarkers in acute kidney injury and other kidney diseases.

In addition to a large spectrum of research projects supported by individual NIH research grants, the Yale Section of Nephrology is home to two NIH-funded centers of kidney disease research excellence, the George M. O’Brien Kidney Center at Yale and the Yale Center for the Study of Polycystic Kidney Disease.

The Clinical and Translational Research Accelerator recruits scientists and trains students in methods of translational research and offers access to a large biorepository of samples and national databases for research projects.

  • Polycystic kidney diseases (PKD) are single gene disorders of kidney structural homeostasis that causes fluid-filled cysts to form and expand in the kidneys. The cysts enlarge and cause secondary processes, which eventually harm kidney function and lead to chronic kidney disease. The liver is also affected by cysts originating from the bile ducts and, while liver function is typically preserved, the cysts can sometimes grow so large that they cause symptoms. Kidney and liver cysts can occur alone or together in families, and at least 10 different genes have been identified that cause these human diseases. However, amongst these genes, only PKD1 and PKD2 are known to result in kidney failure due to PKD.
  • The glomerulus has a critical function as the filtration barrier in the kidney. Podocytes, basement membrane, and endothelial cells function together to ensure the selective removal of metabolic waste products while retaining critical components of the circulation. Damage to this filtration barrier, often resulting in proteinuria, comprises the spectrum of glomerular diseases that account for approximately 80% of end-stage kidney disease. The Ishibe and Menon labs investigate pathways that are important to maintain the integrity of the kidney filtration barrier.
  • Acute kidney injury (AKI) is an episode of sudden kidney damage or failure. It causes waste products, like creatinine, acids, and urea, to build up in your blood and can cause significant damage to the rest of your body. There are multiple levels of kidney injury, varying from mild to severe with the most severe cases, requiring renal replacement therapy by dialysis.
  • The Wilson Lab uses the tools of data science, like machine-learning and real-time analytics, to target diagnostic and therapeutic interventions to patients at the point of care.
  • The goal of Dr. Aronson’s research has been to characterize the mechanisms regulating sodium, acid-base, and anion excretion by the kidney.
  • Dr. Moledina has created a robust biorepository of kidney biopsy, urine, and blood samples from patients with AKI with and without interstitial nephritis.
  • Drs. Menon and Cantley share a strong interest in understanding the role of tubular cell and immune cell interactions in the setting of kidney transplantation, and how these can predict both short- and long-term outcomes.
  • The Chang Lab is focused on tissue engineering approaches to model human disease and to develop new therapeutics.
  • Browse our current clinical trials
  • The Yale Summer Undergraduate Medical Research (SUMR) is an intensive training program in modern methods of kidney, urology and hematology research with the intent to foster undergraduate students to pursue a career in biomedical research.