Associate Professor of Medicine
Education and Training:
My scientific focus has centered on the question as to how epithelial cells organize toform a functioning epithelium. Epithelial cells perform the absorptive and secretoryfunctions of an organism and these activities frequently require the generation oftremendous ionic, electrical and pressure gradients. These gradients are achieved bythe unique structural and functional organization of epithelial plasma membranes. Wehave studied how this organization is achieved by examining processes that disrupt thepolarized features of epithelial. Ischemic injury has been shown to cause profoundderangements in epithelial organization and this is an area of intensive investigation inmy laboratory.A second disease process that has been shown to disrupt the polarized phenotype ofepithelial cells is autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD). Proteinsorting defects and Golgi complex dysfunction have been described in epithelial cellsderived from ADPKD kidneys. A gene responsible for this disease has recently beenidentified and has been called PKD1. Computer analysis of the PKD1 gene sequencesuggests that the gene product is a transmembrane protein which interacts with theextracellular matrix. However, a definitive function for the PKD1 gene product has notbeen discovered. This is the second area of research activity in my laboratory. Weemploy a variety of biochemical, molecular and cell biology methods to address thesescientific questions.