Sanford Health researcher, Kamesh Surendran, Ph.D., and his lab at Sanford Research, were recently awarded a $1.8 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Dr. Surendran’s lab studies kidney development and disease by determining the molecular basis by which diverse cell types of the kidney develop and are maintained.
A primary focus of the lab is to determine the cellular and genetic basis of kidney diseases that occur in patients with a rare disease called Alagille Syndrome. The disease is highly variable and affects multiple organs in the body, including the liver, blood vessels and kidneys.
‘For the past few years, we have been researching notch signaling in kidney cells and trying to understand the basic mechanisms as to what cellular defects may be causing this syndrome and why these individuals are susceptible to kidney diseases,’ said Dr. Surendran. ‘This grant helps us continue and broaden our research as we begin to find potential genetic and cellular causes of these kidney diseases.’
While the lab has been researching Alagille Syndrome in mice for the past few years, the next step is to collect saliva samples. After successfully collecting samples, Dr. Surendran’s lab will be able to use them for whole-exome sequencing to test if there is a genetic explanation for the Alagille Syndrome disease variability.
Alagille Syndrome is a rare disease affecting approximately 1 in 30,000 people in the world.
For more information about Sanford Research, visit research.sanfordhealth.org.