• Esilida Sula Karreci, MD

    2023 Ben J. Lipps Research Fellowship Award
    Esilida Sula Karreci, MD

    Esilida Sula Karreci, MD

    2023 Ben J. Lipps Research Fellowship Award

    Institution: Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center 

    Project Title: Molecular and Cellular Involvement of the Renin Angiotensin Aldosterone System in APOL1 Kidney Disease

    How would you sum up your research in one sentence? 

    My research is focused on understanding the modifying factors in APOL1-mediated kidney disease with the goal of informing clinical decision making. 

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

    I will study the disease process at a single cellular level with single-cell RNA sequencing and understand the transcriptomics of the disease with the goal of identifying important pathways that can be leveraged for novel drug development. Additionally, I will study the molecular mechanisms by using drugs that block specific receptors in the RAAS pathway and determine if there is a preventive role for RAAS inhibition which can be clinically important in a disease process where the disease onset is unpredictable.

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

    The next two years will be critical to my development as a physician-scientist. The funding provided by Ben J. Lipps Research Fellowship Award will support protected time to conduct the proposed research while I establish the foundations of my career as an independent researcher, building upon the work that I propose here. By the end of the funding period, I expect to obtain K08-level funding and continue to work on clarifying the genotype-specific mechanisms that drive APOL1-associated kidney disease and understand how we can best tailor available therapies to individual patients based on genotype. I anticipate that the proposed experiments will provide a wealth of data identifying cellular pathways that should fuel my studies for years into the future. In 10 years I look forward to the challenge of becoming an independent investigator and obtaining R01-level funding.

    What inspired you to focus your research in this area?

    During my fellowship training, I cared for many high-risk APOL1 patients who needed hemodialysis. Molecular disease mechanisms remain controversial and targeted treatments for APOL1 kidney disease remain an unmet need.

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

    The nephrology workforce has been challenged in the past few years, and this is even more pronounced for the research track. Finding a supporting mentoring team, obtaining funding, and securing protected time for research while you develop as an early career investigator are some of the biggest challenges.

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

    I highly recommend applying for this grant to all early career nephrology researchers. Unlike other funding sources, the mission of this grant funding aligns with almost all nephrology-related research, in improving the lives of patients living with kidney disease. 

    Something you may not know about me is…

    I am from Albania. I love to learn new languages. Over the years I have learned (at different levels of fluency) English, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, and German. 

    In my free time I like to…

    I love to cook for my family and friends, reading, travel.  

    Follow: @Esi19241901