Playing in Traffic: Novel Signaling and Trafficking Mechanisms in Epithelial Cells
Renal disease is a silent killer: only a small loss in renal function causes mortality. However, in most cases the cause remains unknown. Novel techniques have generated lists of genes implicated in renal disease, but gene identification rarely provides the mechanistic insight that is required to understand and to treat renal disease.
NephroLab in Freiburg has therefore developed a novel approach that leads from gene discovery to potential therapies: comparative analysis of gene functions. Ten independently funded research groups (including four Emmy-Noether-Groups) support this effort, exploring the function of genes in cell culture systems, C. elegans, Drosophila, zebrafish, Xenopus and genetically modified mice to find new therapies for renal diseases.
The main research areas (with a lot of exciting overlap) are:
- Early mouse development (S. Arnold)
- Hereditary kidney diseases with emphasis on cystic kidney disease (M. Köttgen, W. Kühn, A. Kramer-Zucker, E. Neumann-Haefelin, S. Lienkamp, T. Huber, M. Simons, G. Walz)
- Glomerular biology - Nephrotic syndrome (T. Huber, A. Kramer-Zucker)
- Genetics of complex kidney disease (A. Köttgen)
- Planar cell polarity and membrane trafficking (M. Simons)
NephroLab combines the challenge to understand and treat renal disease with the mission to educate and train young PhD students and physicians to assume leading positions in academia and industry.