Our laboratory has a major interest in understanding the basis of the large racial disparity in rates of kidney disease between people of recent African ancestry and other groups. We have found that this is due almost entirely to changes in a gene called APOL1. We are pursuing further studies of this at many levels: the development of animal models, additional human genetic studies, biochemistry, and clinical studies. There are opportunities for interested students in many of these areas.
There are several general areas of study within my laboratory that provide potential projects for students:
1.We recently showed that variants in the APOL1 gene account for the large disparity in the rates of kidney disease between people of recent African ancestry and other groups. There are potential projects to help better understand this at many levels: genetic testing in humans; social and ethical implications; cell biologic studies to understand disease mechanism; development of animal models.
2. We do family based genetic studies to look for new genes involved in the etiology of kidney disease. These include studies of diseases of the glomerulus and disorders of kidney development.
3. We are using mouse models to explore the role of several human disease genes, including APOL1, INF2, ACTN4, and CASR. Students could play a role in any of these studies.