Ting Yang, MD, PhD
Ting Yang, MD, PhD
2020 Carl W. Gottschalk Research Scholar Grant Recipient
How would you sum up your research in one sentence?
My research focuses on how prostaglandin signaling in kidney is involved in hypertension development.
Provide a brief overview of the research you will conduct with help from the grant.
The overall goal of my project is to identify the underlying mechanisms of blood pressure control by the prostaglandin EP4 receptor. We hypothesize that EP4R in principal cells of the kidney collecting duct have powerful actions to resist the development of hypertension by reducing sodium reabsorption. To test the hypothesis, we will generate transgenic mice with cell- specific deletion of EP4 receptor from principal cells. We will examine the impact of deleting EP4R from principal cells on blood pressure, sodium homeostasis and sodium transporter function in hypertension.
What inspired you to focus your research in this area?
From my multi-disciplinary training, I have become interested in the crosstalk between organs. Kidney is definitely one of the smartest organs, especially it's central role in regulating blood pressure. In my work, I am trying to understand the diverse effects that one signaling pathway can deliver from different cells in the kidney to deliver physiological control. We previously found that the EP4 receptor is a potent regulator of blood pressure but surprisingly, these actions did not involve vascular effects. Therefore, I decided to focus on the role of the EP4 receptors from kidney on the blood pressure control.
What impact do you hope your research will have on patients?
By defining discrete pathways linked to EP4R and blood pressure control, I hope my work will identify unknown mechanisms underlying the essential hypertension and uncover new therapeutic targets for treating hypertension.
What are your career goals at the end of the grant period? Five years out? Ten years out?
By the end of the award period, I anticipate that I will acquire all the skills needed to generate high quality publications and secure NIH funding. I will then focus on getting my first R01 and establishing my own research group. I envision myself directing an independent laboratory to investigate molecular mechanisms of kidney and cardiovascular diseases and developing translational research projects to further investigate the pathophysiology and novel therapeutic strategies of hypertension.
What has surprised you most about your career?
I was graduated from a MD/PhD program in Anesthesiology. My early research projects focused at the organ protective effects of anesthetics. I studied mechanisms of metabolic diseases and hypertension during my postdoctoral training at Karolinska Institutet and decided to focus my academic career in renal and cardiovascular diseases. However, my previous experience provides me opportunities to study the interactions between major organs including cardiovascular system, brain and kidney.
What are the major challenges facing nephrology research today?<
Like other research disciplines, a major challenge for nephrology research is limited funding support, especially for early investigators. That is one reason the KidneyCure program is so important.
What advice would you give to others to encourage them to apply for this grant funding?
The grant application process is very simple and focused. Even if the application is rejected, the reviewer's comments can help to advance the project and improve your proposal. Be persistent!
Something you may not know about me is…
I have lived in China, UK, Sweden and the US. I enjoy learning and understanding the diversity of cultures. I love to travel, when 2020 passes, I am very much hoping I can still travel as I used to do.
In my free time I like to…
Play and learn together with my toddler boy, watch movies, listen to music and fiction books.