• Sho Sugahara, MD, PhD

    2022 Ben J. Lipps Research Fellowship Award
    Sho Sugahara, MD, PhD

    Sho Sugahara, MD, PhD

    2022 Ben J. Lipps Research Fellowship Award

    Institution: Vanderbilt University Medical Center

    Project Title: The role of cyclin G1/CDK5 in maladaptive dedifferentiation

    How would you sum up your research in one sentence?

    I aim to clarify how cell cycle regulatory proteins are involved in the mechanisms of the transition of acute kidney injury into chronic kidney disease.

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

    The main mechanism by which acute kidney injury transitions into chronic kidney disease involves fibrosis after injury of kidney proximal tubules. Cyclin G1, an atypical cyclin, has been shown to be involved in fibrosis after acute kidney injury. Based on a variety of preliminary experiments, we hypothesized that cyclin G1 contributes to prolonged proximal tubular cell dedifferentiation and fibrosis via activation of downstream protein, and Hippo signaling. Our attempt is to elucidate these molecular mechanisms using animal models.

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

    As modern society allows people to live longer than ever before, the management of chronic kidney disease is becoming increasingly important. Fibrosis plays an important role in the progression of chronic kidney disease, and we believe that elucidating its mechanism at the molecular level will lead to the discovery of treatments that could be game changers in chronic kidney disease prevention.

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

    My hope is to become a physician scientist in nephrology and continue basic research while engaging in clinical practice. After the completion of this grant program, my goal is to acquire the necessary laboratory skills, find my own research topic to continue working on, and acquire the competencies needed to be an independent researcher. In five years, it would be great if I could develop my research and collaborate with my current mentor. In 10 years, I would be happy if I have more colleagues with whom I can conduct research together.

    What inspired you to focus your research in this area?

    As an MD-PhD student in Japan, I have seen many patients with acute kidney injury develop chronic kidney disease and suffer from a lower quality of life. While there are a variety of drugs that slow progression of chronic kidney disease, I feel that there are still too few treatment options when it comes to AKI to CKD transition. I would like to conduct research that will lead to the development of new therapeutic methods for such patients.

    What are the major challenges to beginning a career in nephrology research today?

    The kidney is an embryologically complex structure and its function is also complex. This may make renal research seem challenging. It is indeed a complex organ, but that is why it is a fascinating field with many research themes.

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

    Applying for a grant is a painstaking process and requires the help of mentors and others. But at the same time, the grant application process has allowed me to think deeply about my research and career. I believe that the effort you put into your application is never wasted.

    Something you may not know about me is…

    I love eating and making sushi. If I could live another life, I would be a sushi bar chef.

    In my free time I like to…

    Spend time with my family, read comics, fish, and cook.