Nihalani Research Lab
Associate Professor and Endowed Chair in Renal Disease Biomarkers
Division of Nephrology
Diseases of the renal glomerulus that result in the nephrotic syndrome are important causes of morbidity and mortality and their incidences are increasing worldwide at an alarming rate. Injury to the kidney glomerulus is often characterized by heavy proteinurea associated with the loss of kidney filtration barrier commonly referred to as slit diaphragm. Significant progress has been made to discover the proteins localized at the slit diaphragm yet little is known about the spatial arrangement of these proteins and how that contributes to the actual kidney filter. My research aim is to understand the regulation and function of the proteins that are the critical components of this slit diaphragm and how they assemble to form a functional glomerular filtration barrier. For this purpose, we use a combination of biochemical, molecular biology and systems biology approaches. Additionally, we have developed many animal models including the transgenic and knockout mouse models and the zebrafish models that are instrumental in examining the functional biology of proteins and their interactions, specifically in the glomerulus. I have published over 30 peer-reviewed journal articles and have two worldwide patents. I am actively engaged in clinical translational research, which is focused on identifying and developing pharmacological drug candidates directed towards the treatment of various glomerular diseases.
As an educator, I am actively engaged in the research training of Renal fellows in the Nephrology Division of the MUSC. I was recently promoted to the SmartState Renal Disease Biomarkers Endowed Chair position that provides me with the opportunity to develop translational projects within the Nephrology Division. I collaborate with various basic scientists and clinicians in understanding the disease mechanisms for various glomerular diseases that involve fibrosis of podocytes leading to end stage renal disease.
Senior Author Publications:
Senior Author PubMed Collection (senior author publications are most often associated with mentored projects)