• Malgorzata Kasztan, PhD

    2023 Norman Siegel Research Scholar Grant
    Malgorzata Kasztan, PhD

    Malgorzata Kasztan, PhD

    2023 Norman Siegel Research Scholar Grant

    Institution: University of Alabama at Birmingham

    Project Title: The Role of Endothelin-1 in Renal Iron Handling in Sickle Cell Disease

    How would you sum up your research in one sentence?

    My research is focused on iron homeostasis in chronic kidney disease.

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

    Sickle cell disease (SCD) is associated with high risk of morbidity and mortality from kidney damage. Iron overload, a major consequence of SCD, promotes renal iron deposition that correlates with albuminuria in SCD patients. Elevated plasma endothelin-1 (ET-1) levels correlate with renal iron content in pediatric and murine model of SCD. Endothelin A (ETA) receptor antagonist, Ambrisentan, attenuates renal iron overload in SCD mice. Whether, ETA antagonism affects renal iron handling in SCD patients remains unknown. Therefore, the overall goal of the study is to elucidate the ET-1/ ETA-dependent mechanisms of renal iron trafficking in SCD.

    What inspired you to focus your research in this area?

    There is an unmet need for novel iron overload-modifying kidney-protective strategies, mainly because there are numerous gaps in our understanding of complex mechanisms underlying SCD nephropathy.

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

    In the next five years, I hope to advance our understanding of iron homeostasis in chronic kidney injury. My long-term goal is to become established translational investigator in the field of iron-mediated kidney disease, by engaging in basic and clinical research, publishing in top tier journals, presenting at conferences, training, and mentoring students and to compete successfully for extramural funding as principal investigator.  

    What has surprised you most about your career? 

    A single piece of data can sometimes change the whole trajectory of the study. 

    In one sentence, please describe the importance of having grant funding available through KidneyCure.

    Findings from my studies may also pave the way for future research that will extend beyond SCD to include other renal iron accumulating disorders.

    Something you may not know about me is… 

    that I'm from Poland.

    In my free time…

    I like to crochet.