• Jie Zhang, PnD

    2020 Carl W. Gottschalk Research Scholar Grant Recipient
    Jie Zhang, PnD

    Jie Zhang, PnD

    2020 Carl W. Gottschalk Research Scholar Grant Recipient

    How would you sum up your research in one sentence?

    My research primarily focuses on whether the sodium-glucose cotransporter 1 (SGLT1) at the macula densa of kidney plays an important role in the sex differences of diabetes-induced glomerular hyperfiltration and kidney injury.

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

    The goal of my project is to determine whether the higher expression of macula densa SGLT1 in females than males induces greater glomerular hyperfiltration and more severe kidney injury via macula densa SGLT1-NOS1-TGF pathway, thereby contributing to the loss of female sex-related protective benefit in diabetic kidney injury. To test this hypothesis, we will examine the significance of this mechanism in the sex dimorphism of diabetic glomerular hyperfiltration as well as diabetic kidney injury with novel diabetic macula densa-specific NKCC2 deletion, macula densa-specific NOS1 deletion and SGLT1 deletion mouse models.

    What inspired you to focus your research in this area?

    Diabetic nephropathy is a major complication of diabetes mellitus and the leading cause of end stage renal disease. Moreover, Females are protected from most types of kidney diseases compared with males. However, this sexual dimorphism is absent in diabetic kidney injury. Therefore, our studies are focused on determining the mechanism for the loss of sex differences in diabetic kidney injury. 

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

    I hope that our finding from this study will lead to novel therapeutic targets and sex-related treatment strategies for diabetic kidney injury.

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

    In next five years, my goals are to develop successful research programs that focus on the elucidating mechanisms of diabetic kidney injury. My long-term career goal is to become an established investigator for renal physiological- and pathophysiology studies

    What has surprised you most about your career?

    My curiosity in life sciences started in my early childhood and let to a lifelong commitment in understanding how living things work in physiological, cellular and molecular levels. While studying animal physiology as an undergraduate student, I became fascinated by the role of kidneys in the control of water and electrolyte homeostasis, which fostered my interest in kidney research and inspired me to pursue my career goals on renal physiology. 

    What are the major challenges facing nephrology research today?

    The structure and function of kidney are extremely complicated. Without enough knowledge, developing the physiological and pathophysiological mechanism of kidney disease might not be easy. 

    In one sentence, please describe the importance of having grant funding available through KidneyCure.

    The funding provides me the opportunity to study sex-related mechanism for diabetic nephrology and builds confidence at kidney research.

    What advice would you give to others to encourage them to apply for this grant funding?

    This grant is an excellent opportunity for early career scientists who are aiming to become an established investigator. Application process is intuitive and simple. I strongly encourage anyone who is working on independent kidney research to apply.

    Something you may not know about me is…

    I love fruit: watermelon, cherry, blueberry, papaya, kiwi, mango…. 

    In my free time I like to…

    Go hiking and biking.