2014 NephCure Award Recipients
NephCure Kidney International – ASN Foundation for Kidney Research Grant
Heon Yung Gee, M.D., Ph.D.
Boston Children’s Hospital
Mutations in KANK2 and ARHGAP4 cause nephrotic syndrome by defects in RHO GTPase signaling.
Dr. Gee is a physician-scientist with a broad background in medicine, human genetics, cell biology and pharmacology who pursues research to reveal the causes and pathogenic mechanisms of human diseases to advance development of new treatments. His recent work focuses on finding new genetic associations with nephrotic syndrome. Using new gene mapping techniques, including whole exome sequencing and high-throughput mutation analysis, he identified two new gene mutations, KANK2 and ARHGAP4, associated with NS. The NephCure-ASN grant award will be used to learn more about the physiological roles of KANK2 and ARHGAP4 and how they may cause disease. He will also generate an animal-based genetic model (zebrafish) to test therapeutic compounds.
Hani Suleiman, M.D., Ph.D,
Washington University School of Medicine
A Novel Superresolution Imaging Approach of Glomerular Diseases
New ‘visualization’ techniques are needed to understand better how the glomerular filtration barrier of the kidney works. Dr. Suleiman is adapting a new superresolution imaging technique to generate more refined images of podocyte foot processes to provide insight into how the glomerular basement membrane is organized. He will examine the organization of molecules in podocyte foot process effacement, which is the typical response of these cells to injury, and investigate whether the nature of foot process effacement differs in various diseases such as diabetic nephropathy, minimal change disease and focal segmental glomerulosclerosis. If subcategories of different types of foot process effacement are found with superresolution microscopy, this could lead to new insights into the mechanism that cause these diseases as well as better diagnostic and therapeutic approaches.