• Sanjeev Noel, PhD

    2020 Carl W. Gottschalk Research Scholar Grant Recipient
    Sanjeev Noel, PhD

    Sanjeev Noel, PhD

    2020 Carl W. Gottschalk Research Scholar Grant Recipient

    How would you sum up your research in one sentence?

    This research project will investigate the role of a novel T cell co-inhibitory molecule, T cell immunoreceptor with Ig and ITIM domains (TIGIT) and its co-stimulatory counterpart CD226, in acute kidney injury (AKI) and repair. 

    Provide a brief overview of the research you will conduct with help from the grant.

    In this project I will study functional effects, suppression function, and kinetics of TIGIT expression in kidney resident T cells under steady state and during AKI. Additionally, I will also investigate whether TIGIT regulates differentiation of kidney T cells. More importantly, the pathophysiologic role of TIGIT on AKI outcome and therapeutic potential will be assessed using TIGIT deficient and TIGIT transgenic mice. Finally, functional effects of TIGIT/CD226 co-signaling will be assessed in human kidney T cells to increase the translational impact of this study.

    What inspired you to focus your research in this area?

    We first realized the involvement of TIGIT/CD226 co-signaling in AKI while undertaking an RNA-Seq based investigation of kidney T cells. This is very exciting since current immune check point inhibitor therapies against established targets such as CTLA4 and PD1, though effective, can result in acute interstitial nephritis and AKI and do not show therapeutic effects in some patients. Thus, studying a novel co-signaling target with potential for clinical translation is very exciting.

    What impact do you hope your research will have on patients?

    Results from this project will be helpful in developing TIGIT as a novel target for treating AKI. Furthermore, it can be targeted in tandem with established targets to increase therapeutic effectiveness. 

    What are your career goals at the end of the grant period? Five years out? Ten years out?

    My primary goal at the end of this grant period is to develop a sustainable program to investigate TIGIT/ CD226 co-signaling in AKI by securing an NIH grant. In the next five years, I plan to expand my research to include other partners (CD96) and ligands (CD112) of TIGIT as well as its interaction with other co-signaling pathways in AKI. My long term career goal is to establish myself as an independent investigator with a focus to elucidate the role of immune cells in AKI and repair using molecular and cellular approaches, which will in turn lead to novel therapies as well as to train next generation of younger colleagues. 

    What has surprised you most about your career?

    I wanted to go back to India after two to three years of postdoctoral training and never thought I would be involved in immunology research in one of the most prestigious kidney labs with Dr. Hamid Rabb.

    What are the major challenges facing nephrology research today?

    Over the years scientific research has provided significant information on discrete pathophysiologic processes involved in AKI, however, understanding the complex interaction between these processes, such as multiple immune cell interactions, to modulate AKI outcome is challenging. Furthermore, grant support for nephrology research is limited compared to other fields such as cancer and brain research that further affects the momentum with which new discoveries are made in nephrology research.  

    Something you may not know about me is…

    I grew up in Indian Himalayas, 2000 meters above sea level!

    In my free time I like to…

    Hike, bike, and garden.