Grant Deadline
September 10, 2021- Check the OCASCR website for more information.


Publication Alert

Congratulations to OCASCR Scientist Sathish Srinivasan, Ph.D. (OMRF), on his recent cover image in the journal DevelopmentClick here to be directed to Dr. Srinivasan’s related article.

Spotlight on OCASCR Scientist

Kurt Zimmerman, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Internal Medicine
Division of Nephrology
University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center

1. What is your lab’s long-term/big-picture research goal? Our lab’s long-term goals are to understand how immune cells regulate kidney function in health and disease. The main kidney disease that we are focusing on is polycystic kidney disease, which affects over 17 million people worldwide.
2. What is your training/scientific background? My training began in the lab of Dr. Joanne Murphy-Ullrich at the University of Alabama Birmingham. In her lab, we studied how an endoplasmic reticulum stress-associated protein could influence fibrotic diseases. After completing my PhD studies in her lab, I went on to do a post-doctoral fellowship in the lab of Dr. Bradley K. Yoder. In Dr. Yoder’s lab, we studied how mutations in genes required for proper cilia function lead to polycystic kidney disease. It was during my time in Dr. Yoder’s lab that I first studied immune cells. After reading some of the fundamental literature about these cells, I knew that this was the field I wanted to dedicate my career to.
3. What is the goal of your OCASCR project? The goal of my OCASCR proposal is to 1) define the contribution of stem cells to different tissue resident macrophage populations (a specific type of immune cell that is found in almost all tissues) and 2) to understand how tissue resident macrophage origin influences their gene expression and tissue localization. It is important to understand where macrophages come from as recent studies indicate that macrophage origin determines how they respond to challenge and whether they promote or inhibit disease progression. Therefore, future goals are to understand how macrophages from each origin change in polycystic kidney disease and to identify ways to block the bad macrophages while allowing the good macrophages to persist.
4. How might your research impact diseases related to obesity or smoking? Obesity causes changes in immune cells and is also a risk factor associated with an increased rate of cyst progression in patients with polycystic kidney disease. Thus, by understanding how immune cells are involved in cystic kidney disease, we may find a new approach to slow cyst progression in obese patients.
5. What’s your most critical piece of research equipment in your lab? Why? Although it’s not in our lab, the 10x Genomics machine has been critical to advancing our understanding of immune cell involvement in cystic kidney disease. This machine allows you to analyze the gene expression of individual cells isolated from your tissue of interest (the kidney in our case). Based on differences or similarities in gene expression, we can identify populations of kidney immune cells that are enriched or only present in animal models of polycystic kidney disease. After identifying these cells using this technology, we then apply basic biological techniques to try and understand how they promote or inhibit cyst progression. I have already published a manuscript using this technology and have several new manuscripts under review or in preparation that use this technology.
6. What’s your favorite scientific meeting to attend? Why? The annual American Society of Nephrology’s Kidney Week meeting. It is my favorite meeting because many of the kidney-related researchers from around the world attend every year. It is a great way to make friends in the field and establish important collaborations that will help my lab progress.
7. What else do I like to do for fun? My hobbies including spending time with my wife, daughter,and puppies. I also enjoy playing poker and working out.
Core Facilities
Check out the updated list of equipment that is available to all scientists in Oklahoma.
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