Florian Buerger, MD, PhD
Florian Buerger, MD, PhD
2022 Carl W. Gottschalk Research Scholar Grant
Institution: Boston Children's Hospital, Harvard Medical School
Project Title: Delineating the Role of Secreted Semaphorin 3G in Monogenic and Acquired Glomerulopathies and Studying its Potential Protective Effect for the Kidney's Glomerular Filtration Barrier
How would you sum up your research in one sentence?
Trying to understand the pathomechanisms of glomerular kidney disease to potentially develop therapeutic approaches for both genetic and acquired glomerular disease.
Provide a brief overview of the research you will conduct with help from the grant.
I will explore the role of the secreted protein semaphorin 3G and genetic variants detected in its encoding gene SEMA3G (from patients with nephrotic syndrome) for the stability of the glomerular filtration barrier by employing different 2D/3D in vitro as well as in vivo models.
What inspired you to focus your research in this area?
The combination of 1. seeing young patients who spend hours, multiple days a week on dialysis, waiting for a kidney and 2. learning about the monogenic (and polygenic) component in glomerular kidney disease and 3. witnessing the therapeutic success for both inherited and acquired lipid disorders that is based on understanding the genes/proteins altered in familial hypercholesteremia.
What impact do you hope your research will have on patients?
I hope to be part of big collaborative researcher and physician teams that will eventually develop novel and increasingly personalized therapeutic concepts that in turn will prolong time without dialysis but high quality of life for people with chronic glomerular diseases.
What are your career goals at the end of the grant period? Five years out? Ten years out?
Five years: successfully completed the proposed work, acquired additional research funding, and running a lab as an independent investigator.
10 years: more solidly established my own lab and focusing on collaborations and supporting/mentoring researchers at stages I have been at 10-15 years before.
What has surprised you most about your career?
I was most interested in complex diseases with a genetic component and first trained clinically in pediatric neurology but through the study of genetics transitioned to (pediatric) nephrology and now feel at home there.
In one sentence, please describe the importance of having grant funding available through KidneyCure.
KidneyCure funding is invaluable as it's not only providing additional funds in addition to NIH support but also generates visibility in the nephrology community to foster future collaborations and projects.
What advice would you give to others to encourage them to apply for this grant funding?
In general, grant writing is always time consuming and tiring but the TIG application is really boiled down to the essentials. It is simply introducing yourself and outlining the envisioned project – no extra hoops to jump through. So definitely worth the investment of time!
In my free time I like to…
I like to hike and bike outdoors, or fold origami and build Lego sculptures indoors.