Clinical and Basic Research

Division of Nephrology and Center for Immunity, Inflammation, and Regenerative Medicine (CIIR) at the University of Virginia is comprised of physicians and scientists with research expertise in immunology, physiology, molecular and cell biology, transplant immunobiology, metabolism, regenerative and translational medicine. Affiliated CIIR members from various departments throughout the School of Medicine collaborate to bring added expertise.

Division of Nephrology and CIIR supports state-of-the-art research facilities to conduct innovative basic, clinical, translational, data science and epidemiological research aiming to advance the knowledge for understanding and discovering novel mechanisms to prevent, better diagnose and treat a wide range of kidney diseases. A number of our research scientists serve as mentors of the Division’s T32 NIH Training Grant entitled “Kidney Disease and Inflammation”, which is focused on training the next generation investigators. Details of our training grant can be found here.

Division has a long-standing record of sustained research funding from government and private entities. Currently funded projects are listed here.

Learn more about investigators, their team and the research projects by visiting their individual pages.

Mark D. Okusa, MD, FASN, Division Chief

PRIMARY APPOINTMENT:

John C. Buchanan Distinguished Professor of Medicine, Nephrology

CONTACT:

UVA Division of Nephrology
PO Box 800133
Charlottesville, VA 22908
Telephone:434-924-2187
Email: mdo7y@virginia.edu

RESEARCH AREAS:

Inflammation, fibrosis, the progression of kidney disease, acute kidney injury (AKI)

RESEARCH SUMMARY:

Immune Mechanisms of Acute Kidney Injury. We have focused our attention on the immunopathogenesis of acute kidney injury. [More…]
Microenvironment in AKI and AKI to CKD Transition. Our interest in the microenvironment began with our studies with adenosine receptors. [More…]
Sphingolipids in Kidney Disease. A second target that we have focused our attention on is the sphingolipid pathway. [More…]
Neuroimmunomodulation in Acute Kidney Injury. We study the inflammatory reflex, a neuro-immune circuit is critical for immunological homeostasis. [More…]
Photoacoustic Microscopy. In collaboration with Song Hu, PhD. Department of Biomedical Engineering, we have embarked on a high-resolution method of measuring peritubular capillary oxygenation that will permit the characterization of kidney tubular bioenergetics following acute kidney injury. [More…]

Emaad M Abdel-Rahman, MBBS, PhD

PRIMARY APPOINTMENT:

Professor of Medicine, Nephrology
Member, NCRC Scientific Advisory Board

CONTACT:

UVA Division of Nephrology
PO Box 800133
Charlottesville, Virginia 22908
Telephone: 434-924-1984
Email: ea6n@hscmail.mcc.virginia.edu

RESEARCH AREAS:

Geriatric Nephrology, acute kidney injury; in-center hemodialysis, home hemodialysis, clinical trials

Brendan Bowman, MD

PRIMARY APPOINTMENT:

Associate Professor of Medicine, Nephrology
Member, NCRC Scientific Advisory Board

CONTACT:

UVA Division of Nephrology
PO Box 800133
Charlottesville, VA 22908
Telephone: 434-297-7140
Email:btb5k@hscmail.mcc.virginia.edu

RESEARCH AREAS:

Mobile health technology and kidney disease, anemia of chronic kidney disease, applied health analytics

Michael G. Brown, PhD

PRIMARY APPOINTMENT:

Professor of Medicine, Nephrology

CONTACT:

UVA Division of Nephrology
PO Box 801386
MR6, Rm 2714A
Charlottesville, Virginia 22908
Telephone: 434-924-5106
Email: mgbrown@virginia.edu

RESEARCH AREAS:

Cancer Immunology, Genetics of Virus Immunity, Host Defense Mechanisms, Host-Pathogen Interaction, Natural Killer (NK) Cells, Role of NK Cells in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC).

RESEARCH SUMMARY:

Natural Killer Cells, Viral Immunity, Genetic basis of host resistance to viral infection, Tumor Immunity, Immune cell regulation. [More…]

Sylvia Cechova, PhD

PRIMARY APPOINTMENT:

Assistant Professor of Research, Nephrology

CONTACT:

UVA Division of Nephrology
PO Box 800133
Charlottesville, VA 22908
Telephone: 434-243-9633
Email: sc9d@virginia.edu

RESEARCH AREAS:

Hypertension and kidney disease

RESEARCH SUMMARY:

In the last ten years my scientific work has been done in the field of nephrology and hypertension to study effect of several genes, namely Gstm1, Myh9 and Collectrin on the severity and progression of chronic kidney disease and hypertension [More…]

Uta Erdbrügger, MD

PRIMARY APPOINTMENT:

Associate Professor of Medicine, Nephrology

CONTACT:

UVA Division of Nephrology & CIIR
PO Box 800133
Charlottesville, VA 22908
Telephone: 434.924.5125
Email: ue2u@virginia.edu

RESEARCH AREAS:

Extracellular Vesicles novel bio-markers and bio-activators in HTN and Kidney disease.

RESEARCH SUMMARY:

The Erdbrügger Lab is interested in studying the fascinating role of extracellular vesicles (EVs) as novel bio-markers and bio-activators in kidney disease and high blood pressure. EVs are a very heterogeneous group of small vesicles that can derive from all cells in the body either by secretion or blebbing of cell membranes. [More…]

Shu Man Fu, MD, PhD

PRIMARY APPOINTMENT:

Professor of Medicine, Rheumatology, and Immunology

CONTACT:

Center for Immunity, Inflammation and Regenerative Medicine
PO Box 800133
Charlottesville, VA 22908
Telephone: 434-924-9627
Email: sf2e@virginia.edu

RESEARCH AREAS:

Human lymphocyte biology and autoimmunity

RESEARCH SUMMARY:

Autoimmunity in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Autoimmunity plays an important role in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The emphasis of my laboratory is on the genetic and environmental factors important for these disorders… [More…]

Jitendra K Gautam, PhD

PRIMARY APPOINTMENT:

Assistant Professor of Research, Medicine, Nephrology
Director, Nephrology-CIIR Core

CONTACT:

UVA Division of Nephrology
PO Box 800133
Charlottesville, VA 22908
Telephone: 434-243-6579
Email: jkgautam@virginia.edu

RESEARCH AREAS:

Immune System Modulation

RESEARCH SUMMARY:

Nephrology-CIIR Core, three sub cores: Small Animal Micro-Surgery Core, Bioanalytical Core to discover and analyze novel biomarkers, Biorepository core for Nephrology clinical sample storage

Kambiz Kalantari, MD

Kanbiz KalantariPRIMARY APPOINTMENT:

Associate Professor of Medicine, Nephrology

CONTACT:

UVA Division of Nephrology
PO Box 800133
Multistory Bldg., 5111
Telephone: 434-924-5125
Email: kk6c@virginia.edu

RESEARCH AREAS:

Contrast-enhanced ultrasound in patients with kidney disease.

RESEARCH SUMMARY:

Contrast-enhanced ultrasound, acute kidney injury; hemodialysis vascular access, epidemiologic studies; clinical trials [More…]

Peter Lobo, MD

PRIMARY APPOINTMENT:

Professor of Medicine, Nephrology

CONTACT:

UVA Division of Nephrology
PO Box 800133
Charlottesville, VA 22908
Telephone: 434-924-5125
Email: pil@hscmail.mcc.virginia.edu

RESEARCH AREAS:

  • Basic Transplant Immunology; Role of Naturally occurring IgM antibodies in Acute Kidney Injury and transplant rejection.

RESEARCH SUMMARY:

My basic research involves investigating the role of naturally occurring IgM autoantibodies that bind to receptors on inflammatory cells and endothelial cells. [More…]

Jennie Z. Ma, MS, PhD

PRIMARY APPOINTMENT:

Professor of Biostatistics, Public Health Sciences, Nephrology

CONTACT:

Department of Biostatistics, Public Health Sciences
PO Box 800717
Charlottesville, VA 22908
Telephone: 434-243-5778
Email: jzm4h@virginia.edu

RESEARCH AREAS:

Survival Analysis; longitudinal data analysis; latent variable analysis and mixture modeling; clinical trial design; Outcomes research

RESEARCH SUMMARY:

Luca Musante, PhD

PRIMARY APPOINTMENT:

Assistant Professor of Research, Nephrology

CONTACT:

UVA Division of Nephrology
PO Box 800133
Charlottesville, VA 22908
Telephone: 434-924-5125
Email: lm8qd@hscmail.mcc.virginia.edu

RESEARCH AREAS:

Biomarkers, extracellular vesicles, biochemistry, and protein analysis

RESEARCH SUMMARY:

Over the last 10 years, my attention has focused on the analysis of extracellular vesicles (EVs) as new sources of biomarkers for early detection and investigation of damage to the kidney due to diabetes. [More…]

Didier Portilla, MD

PRIMARY APPOINTMENT:

Professor of Medicine, Nephrology

CONTACT:

UVA Division of Nephrology
PO Box 800133
Charlottesville, Virginia 22908
Telephone: 434-924-5125
Fax: 434-924-5848
Email: dp2bs@virginia.edu

RESEARCH AREAS:

Pathogenesis of acute kidney injury; the role of PPAR alpha in AKI and the role of pericytes in progressive fibrosis.

RESEARCH SUMMARY:

Understand, at the cellular level, the mechanisms leading to proximal tubule cell death during Acute Kidney Injury(AKI). [More…]

Julia J. Scialla, MD, MHS, FASN

PRIMARY APPOINTMENT:

  • Associate Professor of Medicine and Public Health Sciences
  • Director of Outcomes Research, Departments of Medicine and Public Health Sciences
  • Director, Nephrology Clinical Research Center

CONTACT:

UVA Division of Nephrology
PO Box 800133
Charlottesville, VA 22908
Telephone: 434-243-3670
Email: js7rk@hscmail.mcc.virginia.edu

RESEARCH AREAS:

  • Chronic Kidney Disease Epidemiology
  • Outcomes Research in Patients with End-Stage Kidney Disease
  • Complications of Chronic Kidney Disease: Bone and Mineral Metabolism; Metabolic Acidosis
  • Nutrition in Kidney Disease

RESEARCH SUMMARY:

The goal of our research program is to develop approaches to prevent and treat kidney disease and its complications. Chronic kidney disease (CKD) [More…]

Rahul Sharma, PhD

PRIMARY APPOINTMENT:

Associate Professor of Medicine, Nephrology

CONTACT:

Center for Immunity Inflammation and Regenerative Medicine
UVA Division of Nephrology
PO Box 800133
Charlottesville, VA 22908
Telephone: 434-247-7753
Email: rs3wn@virginia.edu

RESEARCH AREAS:

Regulatory T Cell biology in Inflammatory and Autoimmune Diseases.

RESEARCH SUMMARY:

  1. Modulating homeostasis of immune-regulatory lymphocytes: Regulatory T cells (Treg) exert the major mechanism of peripheral tolerance. Treg deficiency causes early mortality in mice and humans… [More…]
  2. PD-1 pathway and T-regulatory cells in Acute Kidney Injury: This is an NIH funded collaborative project between the Sharma Lab, Dr. Gilbert Kinsey, and Dr. Didier Portilla. Acute kidney injury (AKI) complicates at least 5% of all hospitalizations and up to 30% of cardiac surgeries… [More…]
  3. Circulating Renal Protective Mediators in Cardiac Surgery Patients: Acute kidney injury (AKI) after cardiac surgery requiring cardiopulmonary bypass occurs in up to 1/3 of patients. The pathogenesis of AKI involves ischemia-reperfusion injury (IRI)… [More…]
  4. TREX1 pathway in autoimmune diseases: The Sharma lab is also involved in understanding the role of defective clearance of DNA from necrotic and apoptotic cells in the pathophysiology of autoimmune diseases. We have identified... [More…]

Nataliya Skrypnyk, MD

PRIMARY APPOINTMENT:

Instructor of Medicine, Nephrology

CONTACT:

UVA Division of Nephrology
PO Box 800133
Charlottesville, Virginia 22908
Telephone: 434- 924-2127
Email: ns7hx@virginia.edu

RESEARCH AREAS:

Preventative mechanisms against AKI, AKI to CKD transition, mechanisms of CKD progression.

RESEARCH SUMMARY:

In the laboratory of Dr. Okusa I’m focusing on the role of S1P receptors in the rodent models of AKI. [More…]

Sun-Sang J. Sung, PhD

PRIMARY APPOINTMENT:

Associate Professor of Research, Nephrology

CONTACT:

UVA Division of Nephrology
PO Box 800133
Telephone: 434-982-3557
Email: sjs5c@virginia.edu

RESEARCH AREAS:

Macrophages, dendritic cells, and other myeloid cells interactions with glomerular parenchymal cells.

RESEARCH SUMMARY:

Lupus nephritis is an autoimmune disease manifesting as compromised kidney function. [More…]

Sundararaman Swaminathan, MD

PRIMARY APPOINTMENT:

Associate Professor of Medicine, Nephrology

CONTACT:

UVA Division of Nephrology
PO Box 800133
Charlottesville, VA 22908
Telephone: 434-924-5124
Email: ss4sa@hscmail.mcc.virginia.edu

RESEARCH AREAS:

Immunology, Metabolism, Translational Science

RESEARCH SUMMARY:

Inflammation, fibrosis, the progression of kidney disease, diabetic nephropathy, cardiovascular disease, pathologic calcification, kidney transplantation [More…]

Sandhya Xavier, PhD

PRIMARY APPOINTMENT:

Assistant Professor of Research, Nephrology

CONTACT:

UVA Division of Nephrology
PO Box 800133
Charlottesville, Virginia 22908
Telephone: 434-924-9628
Email: sx5u@virginia.edu

RESEARCH AREAS:

Signaling pathways and mechanisms in chronic kidney disease

RESEARCH SUMMARY:

In the laboratory of Dr Portilla, we study the role of complement in renal fibrosis. [More…]

Sho Morioka, PhD

PRIMARY APPOINTMENT:

Assistant Professor of Medicine, Nephrology

CONTACT:

UVA Division of Nephrology & CIIR
PO Box 800133
Charlottesville, VA 22908
Telephone: 919-917-8245
Email: sm9ss@virginia.edu

RESEARCH AREAS:

Role of programmed cell death in kidney injury

RESEARCH SUMMARY:

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’). [More…]

Guofen Yan, PhD

PRIMARY APPOINTMENT:

Associate Professor, Public Health Sciences, Nephrology

CONTACT:

UVA Division of Nephrology
PO Box 800717
Charlottesville, VA 22908
Telephone: 434-982-6422
Email: guofen.yan@virginia.edu

RESEARCH AREAS:

Clinical epidemiology, outcomes research, and racial/ethnic disparities; Models for survival, longitudinal and clustered data.

RESEARCH SUMMARY:

We have been conducting outcomes and epidemiologic research in kidney disease. [More…]

Junlan Yao, PhD

PRIMARY APPOINTMENT:

Assistant Professor of Research, Medicine, Nephrology

CONTACT:

UVA Division of Nephrology
PO Box 800133
Charlottesville, Virginia 22908
Telephone: 434- 924-2127
Email: jy9n@virginia.edu

RESEARCH AREAS:

Acute kidney injury

RESEARCH SUMMARY:

Regulation of acute kidney injury and progression to fibrosis. In Okusa lab I focus on how neuro-immune interplay following pulse ultrasound/vogues nerve stimulation protects the kidney against ischemia damage. [More…]