Our lab studies basic kidney biology, with particular focus on kidney aging, kidney stem cells and kidney cancer.
We aim to use basic molecular tools to decipher the unique and complex cellular machinery regulating the human kidney in both steady state and disease states.
The first area of focus is kidney aging. The kidney is a prototype organ showing constant deterioration in function with age, and is thus the ideal substrate for studying these processes. In particular, we are interested in the mechanisms of cellular senescence in kidney cells, epigenetic and transcriptomic regulation of the aging process and tubular senescence in diabetic kidney disease.
Our second area of research is the field of kidney stem cells, where we explore renal progenitors from various sources, grow them as in-vitro organoids, and use advanced tools to characterize them. Since the adult kidney does not possess an inherent capacity for regeneration, we aim to identify potential stem cell-based tools to both model various kidney disorders of childhood and adulthood, and use them to develop new therapeutic methodologies.
Our third area of interest is kidney cancer, in particular Renal Cell Carcinoma (RCC). As a common and lethal malignancy, RCC is in need of new treatments. Hence, we focus on several main areas of investigation: (1) Studying the epigenomic basis of RCC and using it to devise both new interventional strategies and diagnostic tool. (2) Uncovering transcriptomic changes at the single cell level that could be used to better understand the molecular basis of RCC, and in particular its link to smoking, which is one of the main risk factors for RCC. (3) Using both in-vivo models and in-vitro models from the field of tumor-on-a-chip to explore the role of angiogenesis in RCC. Current models do not reliably recapitulate RCC biology, as evident from the relatively limited results obtained with anti-angiogenics. Hence, we will use several new approaches, involving strictly human cell types, so as to identify which molecular mediators govern this process and can potentially serve as targets for new anti-cancer therapies.