Kidney Development


acute kidney injurychronic kidney diseasediabetic nephropathy, matrix biologyhypertension, integrin biology,  growth factorseicosanoid biologygene deliveryendothelial cell biologybioartificial kidney

                                      Kidney development

Reseachers in VCKD are elucidating factors mediating development of the kidney and their relation to chronic kidney disease and cancer.




The de Caestecker lab is interested in the regulation and fate of embryonic kidney progenitor cells during mouse kidney development. Alongside his collaborator, Dr. Bo Lovvorn, from the Department of Pediatric Surgery at Vanderbilt, he is currently exploring the role of these cells in the pathogensis of Wilms' tumors, a relatively common embryonal kidney tumor in children.

Through a collaboration with Dr. Melissa Little (University of Queensland), we are interested using transposon technology to reprogram adult kidney cells in vitro and in vivo into nephron progenitor cells.  Our overall goal is to develop eventual therapies for kidney diseases.

The Zent laboratory studies the role of cell-extracellular matrix interactions in kidney development. The major focus of the laboratory is to understand how these relationships regulate development of the ureteric bud. We utilize this biological process to get a deeper understanding about the mechanisms whereby integrins regulate cell function and signaling; define how integrin cytoplasmic tails interact with cytoplasmic proteins to regulate cell function and define the structural determinants of specificity of integrin-dependent signaling. The major techniques used to answer these questions include the making and characterization of transgenic mice, cell biology and biochemical techniques as well as structural methodologies including 3-dimensional nuclear magnetic resonance.