• Meredith Posner Schuh, MD

    2021 Norman Siegel Research Scholar Grant
    Meredith Posner Schuh, MD

    Meredith Posner Schuh, MD

    2021 Norman Siegel Research Scholar Grant

    Institution: Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center

    Project Title: Bridging the Gap of Late Gestation Human Nephrogenesis Using a Non-Human Primate Model

    How would you sum up your research in one sentence? 

    My research focuses on uncovering the mechanisms of primate-specific late gestation nephrogenesis (lateral branch nephrogenesis) in order to improve nephron endowment in preterm neonates. 

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

    We will be identifying mechanistic pathways active during late gestation nephrogenesis using the latest molecular technologies including single-cell RNA sequencing, laser capture microdissection with RNA sequencing, single-nucleus RNA sequencing, and single-nucleus ATAC sequencing. We plan to assemble the largest late gestation kidney molecular dataset and identify genes and pathways enriched and regulatory networks active during lateral branch nephrogenesis. Additionally, we will identify a genetically tractable model to study this process. 

    What inspired you to focus your research in this area? 

    I am inspired and motivated by the preterm infants and families in the neonatal intensive care unit. As a member of the Fetal Care Team, I counsel families on what to expect after a significant renal anomaly is identified during the 20-week anatomy scan. These infants and their families remind me daily of why I became a physician-scientist.

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

    Uncovering the molecular mechanisms controlling late gestation nephrogenesis will improve the health of preterm infants by identifying pathways to extend this critical period postnatally.

    What has surprised you most about your career? 

    I love the variety of my career as a physician-scientist. I enjoy the balance of running experiments in the lab, seeing patients in clinic, and counseling families during fetal consults. My career allows me to apply basic science skills to solve clinical questions and improve the health of these infants.

    What are the major challenges facing nephrology research today? 

    Kidney disease in preterm infants is an underrecognized but imperative topic in nephrology research. Nephrogenesis is complete by 34-36 weeks gestation, with 60% of nephrons forming during the third trimester. Because nephrogenesis continues for no more than 40 days after premature birth, these preterm infants are at the low end of nephron endowment and at greater risk for chronic kidney disease and end stage renal disease. By understanding the mechanisms that control late gestation nephrogenesis, I hope to improve the health of these preterm infants. 

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

    Keep writing and don't give up! Find mentors who will guide you and give honest feedback to help you succeed. I am so grateful to my mentor Raphael Kopan, PhD who has helped shape my career as a physician-scientist. 

    Something you may not know about me is… 

    that I met my husband on a blind date when I first moved to Cincinnati for residency. 

    In my free time I like to… 

    spend time with my 3-year-old son and 3-month-old daughter.

    Follow on Twitter: @MPSchuhMD