Newest NKI-ASN Grant Recipient June 29, 2015 by Chelsey Fix NEWEST NKI-ASN GRANT RECIPIENT: DR. AZELOGLU We would like to officially congratulate Dr. Evren Azeloglu, the newest recipient of the NKI-ASN Grant. Dr. Azeloglu is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Systems Therapeutics at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. He was originally trained as a mechanical engineer, but later went on to receive his Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from Columbia University. In 2010, Dr. Azeloglu was awarded the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Fellowship from the Life Sciences Research Institute. His background in biomechanics and systems biology is uniquely positioned to study complex diseases such as hypertension and diabetic nephropathy. He aspires to design transformative therapeutic tools using nanotechnology and tissue engineering. The title of Dr. Azeloglu’s project is “mechanosensitive control of podocyte cytoskeleton and remodeling.” Hypertension is one of the major drivers of kidney disease. However, the physical mechanisms through which high blood pressure affects nephrotic syndrome are not well known. Dr. Azeloglu plans to utilize engineering methods to investigate the structural properties of the cells of the kidney glomeruli during healthy and diseased conditions. This project will be conducted in hypertensive animal models with a nanotechnology platform. He will explore how kidney cells retain their structural integrity against mechanical injury (i.e. due to high blood pressure) and identify potential genes that may be responsible for maintenance of the healthy cellular structure under hypertension. This project aims to use state-of-the-art bioinformatics and nanotechnology tools to link the structural integrity of glomerular cells to overall kidney function. The results of his research may directly translate into treatable drug targets that can improve the resilience of kidney cells against high blood pressure, and slow down the progression of chronic kidney disease.