FiDiPro Susan Quaggin

FiDiPro Professor:  Professor Susan E. Quaggin, Charles Horace Mayo Professor of Medicine, Director of the Feinberg Cardiovascular Research Institute (FCVRI) and Chief of the Division of Nephrology, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL, USA.

Professor Susan E. Quaggin is a world-renowned researcher in complex biological systems and an international authority in the field of nephrology. She is a leading scientist to apply and develop novel methods of functional genomics. The key focus of her research is on kidney functions. Prof. Quaggin is expected to substantiate the output of the Centre of Excellence of Cell-Matrix Research program tremendously.The expertise in the CoE should also provide new important avenues for the research of Prof. Quaggin.

Host: Professor Seppo Vainio, University of Oulu/Biocenter Oulu, Finnish Centre of Excellence in Cell-Extracellular Matrix Research.

FiDiPro project: In this FiDiPro we will reveal the detailed mechanisms how the extracellular matrix (ECM) maintains homeostasis by using the mammalian kidney as model. We hypothesize that the interplay between the growth factors, the ECM and the systemic signals are tuned by the oxygen pressure to proper behavior of the kidney. In specific we will address how hypoxia is integrated to commitment of the embryonic kidney nephron stem cells as a response to Wnt-4 signaling. Roles of Pod1 in the control of the nephron stem cell inducer Wnt-4 are studied. We will target the roles of hypoxia and ECM in the coordination of the key cell type in the kidney function, namely the maintenance and renewal of the podocytes. We will analyze how severe kidney diseases are manifested as changes in the interplay between vascular growth factors, the ECM and hypoxia response pathway. The obtained knowledge will be used to develop models for glomerular injury in aims to achieve novel therapies. For this purpose we will reprogram the podocytes to become pluripotent stem cells and to program them again towards the nephron cell lineages for renal tissue engineering in the disease models. We will also study roles of type XVIII collagen in the control of cell fate and maintenance of the podocytes and how this collagen associates to hypoxia response and changes in glomerular angiogenesis factor response.

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Last updated: 22.1.2013