I’m a research fellow in the laboratory of Raymond C. Harris, M.D. Dr. Harris is the Chief of the Division of Nephrology and Hypertension. A longstanding interest of the lab is the causative role of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) in renal pathologies, including acute, chronic and diabetic kidney disease. Although, excessive tissue scarring or fibrosis is a critical contributor to chronic disease in many organs, there are currently few therapies. My research addresses the mechanisms underlying renal fibrosis. We have generated a novel mouse model of spontaneous renal fibrosis by overexpressing the activation of EGFR specifically in the tubule epithelia. Further investigation involves elucidating the mechanism(s) driving fibrotic progression as well as the identification of potential therapeutic targets.
My clinical mentor Adriana Hung, M.D. is a nephrologist serving as the Medical Director of the Dialysis Unit at the Nashville Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Dr. Hung’s research focuses on the role of genetic and environmental factors contributing to inflammation and insulin resistance in chronic kidney disease (CKD) and cardiovascular disease (CVD). Dr. Hung is also an experienced epidemiologist who uses large clinical databases to investigate the effectiveness of established therapies towards diabetes management and improved CVD outcomes in CKD patients. She is also the principal investigator of the Million Veterans Program, which examines the causative nature of genes in various health ailments. Dr. Hung provides valuable clinical insight into potential targets to test in our mouse model as well as how to successfully conduct clinical research in my area of interest.