The Yu laboratory is interested in molecular and cellular mechanisms governing mammalian kidney development. In particular, our research focuses on two areas: 1) formation of the epithelial and vascular components of the renal medulla compartment and 2) the role of miRNAs in kidney development.
In the first research area, we demonstrated a central role of Wnt7b signaling from the non-branching ureteric trunk epithelium (the precursors of the renal collecting ducts), and p57Kip2, a gene implicated in the human Beckwith-Wiedeman syndrome and IMAGe syndrome and expressed in a subset of renal capillary mural cells, in the morphogenesis and development of the medullary collecting ducts, the loops of Henle, and the vasculature.
In the second research area, we uncovered a critical role of miRNAs in the control of the precursor vs differentiated cell fate of the ureteric bud epithelium, and self-renewal of nephron progenitors. These findings and the follow-up work should assist (re)generating nephrons and renal collecting ducts.