The Physiological Society is Europe’s largest network of physiologists, so it was a great privilege to be invited to give a plenary talk at the Renal physiology: Recent advances and emerging concepts satellite symposia in Aberdeen last week. This followed on from work conducted at BU using fruit flies to study human kidney function and which most recently contributed to research published in Nature Communications. We’ve been studying insect cells called nephrocytes for several years because of their tractability and genetic similarity to human kidney cells called podocytes – cells crucial to the kidney’s role in filtration and excretion. The insects cells offer us opportunities to modulate genes and infer what may happen in human diseases. The Nature Comms paper and Phys Soc talk detailed the work we collaborated on that identified a metabolic pathway in podocytes governed by a gene called GSK3, this pathway now represents a potential target for the control of kidney disease in diabetics.
Tagged / kidney
BU research, (led by me, Dr Paul Hartley), was recognised at UK Kidney Week in Liverpool last week. We were invited to speak about our fruit fly model of human renal disease, work that has been variously supported by grants from the British Heart Foundation and Kidney Research UK. The conference was an excellent opportunity to showcase the model and highlight our current collaborations with consultant-scientists based at Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital as well as a number of different groups at the University of Bristol, the University of Osnabruck in Germany, Harvard Children’s Hospital and the University of Edinburgh. The research work is based in Dorset House labs and is supported by a wide network of talented people within BU as well as our undergrad and post-grad students.
BU research will be prominent at UK Kidney Week this summer in Liverpool. The conference is led by the Renal Association with the International Society of Nephrology (ISN) and the British Transplant Society (BTS). We’re delighted to have been invited to speak at the conference, which is a great opportunity to showcase our research as well as BU’s commitment to developing biomedical research themes. We’re also contributing several abstracts, detailing collaborations with the Universities of Bristol, Oxford and Osnabruck, Germany. The work focuses on the molecular cell biology of human podocytes, cells critical for our kidney’s role in blood filtration. When podocytes ‘fail’, kidney failure ensues.
We use Drosophila (fruit fly) genetics and molecular cell biology to address intractable problems associated with podocyte aging, podocyte dysfunction in diabetic nephropathy and several rare genetic mutations affecting podocytes that cause kidney failure in the young.
The work, was primarily funded by a Kidney Research UK Innovation Award and a British Heart Foundation Fellowship.
Dr. Paul Hartley.