Meet the Researchers

Dr. Susan Quaggin                     Back       Next >

WHO:   Principal Investigator, Centre for Genomic Medicine at the Lunenfeld; Clinician.

WHAT:  Widely regarded as one of the most dynamic and innovative physician-scientists in the field of nephrology, Dr. Susan Quaggin is working to halt the progression of kidney disease. As a physician, Dr. Quaggin knows the devastation of the disease first hand, seeing her own patients succumb to end-stage kidney disease at a survival rate of only 55 per cent.

Dr. Quaggin’s research has already resulted in the discovery of a gene critical for kidney, heart and lung development. She is now using that gene to study the development of kidneys, in particular the development of microscopic kidney filters, called glomeruli. Each kidney is composed of about 1 million glomeruli whose function is to remove waste and excess fluids from the blood.

The main focus of the Quaggin lab is dissecting the molecular basis of glomerulosclerosis, the common pathologic lesion identified in end-stage kidney failure commonly caused by diabetes. A large amount of clinical data suggests that there are two cell lineages within the kidney that play a pivotal role in this process: the podocyte and the interstitial cell.

WHY:  Dr. Quaggin seeks to improve prevention, diagnosis and treatment of kidney disease. More than 30,000 Canadians suffer from kidney failure and require dialysis or a transplant to stay alive. Millions more have related conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure, which are the leading causes of kidney failure.

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