- PhD, Biology, Nagoya University
Role of Programmed Cell Death in Kidney Injury
My primary research focus includes regulation of programmed cell death (e.g. necroptosis, pyroptosis and apoptosis). After a brief post-doctoral stint my graduate thesis lab to complete some projects and publications (Blood 2012, Journal of Cell Biology 2014, Oncogene 2016), I moved to the University of Virginia as a Senior Research Scientist, focusing on identifying the endogenous regulatory pathways that control clearance of apoptotic cells (also termed efferocytosis). Removal of apoptotic cells by phagocytes occurs at a rate of nearly one million cells per second in the body and defective clearance leads to inflammatory diseases; yet, there are still significant knowledge gaps in how a phagocyte achieves rapid corpse uptake and how the phagocytosis handles this stress on various aspects of its physiology such as energy metabolism, pH regulation, or volume regulation. I discovered that a novel gene program, solute carrier (SLC) program, is important for successful uptake of apoptotic cells (Nature 2018, Immunity 2019 and Nature Cell Biology 2019). During acute kidney injuries (AKI), it is known that phagocyte actively removes apoptotic cells. My current research focuses on the effect of enhancing efferocytosis on resolution of AKI. I am elucidating molecular mechanisms that enable phagocytes to efficiently remove apoptotic cells under kidney injury, using uniquely created super-engulfer transgenic mouse model.