Ghazal Z. Quinn, MD
Ghazal Z. Quinn, MD
2021 Ben J. Lipps Research Fellowship Award
Institution: University of Pennsylvania
Project Title: Immune Cells in Renal Fibrosis and CKD
How would you sum up your research in one sentence?
I am interested in developing tools for understanding kidney disease progression at early stages and determining the role of immune cells in the pathogenesis of chronic kidney disease.
Provide a brief overview of the research you will conduct with help from the grant.
During the Ben J. Lipps Research Fellowship period, I plan to characterize the immune cell environment in human kidney tissue using computational methods as well as more traditional "wet lab" methods. I also plan to assess how the renal immune cell environment relates with renal structural changes and progression of chronic kidney disease.
What impact do you hope your research will have on patients?
Since it can be difficult predicting kidney disease progression in patients with early CKD or stages 1 or 2 CKD, my hope is to better characterize early chronic kidney disease and determine which variables may be predictive of kidney function decline. In characterizing immune cells, I hope to determine whether some of the intriguing findings in mouse models of kidney disease are applicable to human disease. My ultimate goal would be to add to the arsenal of treatments and preventative measures for CKD.
What are your career goals at the end of the grant period? Five years out? Ten years out?
I feel passionate about translational research and hope to continue my career as a physician-scientist well beyond the grant period. Although it is tough to see so far into the future, I would love to be able to continue research in some capacity for as long as possible.
What inspired you to focus your research in this area?
I was initially drawn to nephrology to study immunology-related diseases and immunosuppression but found the vast majority of my patients had chronic kidney disease from hypertension and/or diabetes. I wanted to be able to provide my patients with more treatment options as well as a better understanding of their disease. Although CKD due to hypertension/diabetes is not traditionally considered to be an immune-mediated disease, we know the immune system plays an important part and I am interested in learning more about the involvement of immune cells in human CKD.
What advice would you give to others to encourage them to apply for this grant funding?
The beauty of kidney research is that it is all encompassing, from electrolyte and water balance to immunology to blood pressure control and beyond, so there are so many possible areas to explore. My advice is to choose one area of interest and to think about the key knowledge gaps within that area. For me, discovering (even small) pieces of scientific truth is thrilling and has been one of my most professionally rewarding experiences to date.
Something you may not know about me is…
I play the violin and viola.
In my free time I like to…
Spend time with my family, discover new music, dream of travel/exploring new restaurants again (post-pandemic), and paint.