• Megan Noonan, PhD

    2024 Ben J. Lipps Fellowship
    Megan Noonan, PhD

    Megan Noonan, PhD

    2024 Ben J. Lipps Fellowship

    Institution: Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis

    Project Title: The Role of Alternative Splicing Factor Srsf7 in Diabetic Kidney Disease Progression

    How would you sum up your overall research focus in one sentence?

    My research aims to understand how alternative splicing drives kidney disease.

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

    My research aims to uncover novel mechanisms of diabetic kidney disease (DKD) progression via dysregulated alternative splicing. I will be investigating the role of the serine/arginine-rich splicing factor 7 (Srsf7) in the kidney using single-cell technology and long-read RNA-sequencing. Long-read sequencing can more accurately detect and quantify full-length gene isoforms to better resolve alternative splicing events. Kidney Srsf7 expression is downregulated in mouse and human DKD. I have developed a mouse model lacking Srsf7 in the proximal tubule of the kidney which I hypothesize will result in renal dysfunction. I want to understand how loss of this factor and the resulting changes in alternative splicing contribute to kidney disease progression. Understanding the mechanisms of splicing in the kidney could lead to new therapeutic targets to prevent development and progression of DKD.

    What inspired you to focus your research in this area?

    Diabetic kidney disease is the leading cause of end-stage renal disease in the U.S., and one of the factors for me switching fields to nephrology was the impact my research could have on patients in the future, since kidney diseases are so prevalent in the population.

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

    I really hope to discover new therapeutic targets that slow or prevent kidney disease and can improve patients' quality of life.

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

    My career goal is to establish and manage a lab of diverse trainees, dedicated to understanding basic and translational science of kidney diseases using multidisciplinary, cutting-edge techniques. I would like my future research program to study disease mechanisms in animal and cell models, and use patient samples and clinical data to have a translational impact. I hope to develop new therapeutics that can one day be used in clinic to prevent the onset or progression of kidney disease.

    Something you may not know about me is…

    I have a twin brother.

    In my free time I like to…

    Read, camp, canoe.

    Follow on X: @megan_noonan