In an effort to improve the lives of children and adults with kidney disease, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and Penn Medicine are jointly launching the Penn-CHOP Kidney Innovation Center. The first-of-its-kind center will advance research to transform patient care for those of all ages, focusing on the early detection, prevention, and treatment of kidney disease and its complications.
“More than 850 million people suffer from kidney disease, and kidney disease is one of the fastest growing causes of death, so there is a pressing need to accelerate breakthroughs in our understanding and treatment of the condition,” said co-director Katalin Susztak, MD, PhD, a professor of Nephrology and Genetics at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. “This center will draw from experts across both institutions, using interdisciplinary collaboration as the driving force to accelerate research that improves the health and well-being of all patients with kidney disease.”
The center will focus on three main areas: fostering cutting-edge discoveries through collaboration between Penn and CHOP; recruiting and growing top talent to key areas that align with the center’s mission; and building the next generation of nephrology researchers through an enhanced training and mentorship program.
“By bringing pediatric and adult kidney researchers under one umbrella, we will accelerate the pace of discovery for both populations,” said co-director Michelle Denburg, MD, MSCE, Director of Research for the Division of Nephrology at CHOP and an associate professor of Pediatrics and Epidemiology at Penn. “Some processes of kidney disease are shared in adults and children, and others are unique, but in both cases, promoting crosstalk between researchers can shed light on mechanisms of disease for both children and adults and lead to precise diagnostics and treatments.”
The Kidney Innovation Center brings together scientists in clinical epidemiology, biostatistics, bioinformatics, computational biology, genetics, pathology, physiology, biochemistry, immunology, genomics, pharmacology, psychology, and education. Researchers will take a bench-to-bedside, big data approach, investigating the molecular pathways, genetics, and biochemistry involved in kidney disease and identifying targets for potential therapies.
The center will promote a culture of cooperation and discovery among researchers at CHOP, Penn, and beyond by hosting an Annual Kidney Life Course Research Symposium, as well as regular meetings, journal clubs and shared resources. It will also grow local talent through training in the latest research methods and the administration of a pilot grant program.
Learn more here about research already underway in Susztak’s laboratory, which explores the molecular pathways that govern chronic kidney disease development, and in the NIH-funded CHOP Pediatric Center of Excellence in Nephrology.