Primary Research Focus
The Surendran Lab studies kidney development and disease by determining the molecular basis by which diverse cell types of the kidney develop and are maintained. The Surendran Lab uses novel genetic mouse models, along with cell and ex vivo organ cultures, to identify genes critical for kidney development and/or maintenance of kidney functions.
The Surendran Lab focuses on two areas:
- The molecular mechanisms regulating kidney collecting duct development and maintenance
- The cellular and genetic basis of kidney diseases associated with Alagille Syndrome patients.
The lab uses mouse genetic tools for ectopic expression, loss of function and cell lineage tracing studies in specific populations of cells of the developing mouse kidneys to understand the molecular regulators that ensure normal kidney development and maintenance. These studies have provided insights into the potential genetic and cellular causes of cystic kidney diseases, including those that occur in Alagille Syndrome patients and collecting duct disorders such as Nephrogenic Diabetes Insipidus. The lab has also identified transcription factors and signals that potentially regulate principal versus intercalated cell differentiation.
About the Surendran Lab
Lab Projects and News
Molecular regulators of kidney collecting duct differentiation and maintenance
The mouse kidney collecting ducts repeatedly branch from embryonic day 11 to a few days after birth. During this branching, the cell types of the collecting ducts differentiate to become different types of cells. We are interested in answering the following questions:
- When and where does the differentiation of the kidney collecting ducts occur?
- How Notch does signaling regulate the differentiation? We know that Notch signaling is required for principal cell fate selection.
- What factors ensure the maintenance of collecting duct cell types?
We have determined that Notch signaling is critical for the maintenance of principal cells in the adult mouse kidneys, without which they transdifferentiate into intercalated cells.
Determining the role of Notch in regulating tubule morphogenesis and the kidney diseases associated with Alagille Syndrome
Defective Notch signaling is associated with a multi-organ human disease including the kidneys termed Alagille Syndrome (ALGS). There are no therapies for the kidney disease in ALGS patients in part due to a lack of understanding of the cellular and molecular processes that are altered in ALGS kidneys. To better understand the ALGS associated kidney disease, we have generated mice with Notch signaling deficient kidneys, which develop small multi-cystic kidneys, similar to what occurs in ALGS patients. We are using these mice and cell culture models to understand the underlying cause of multi-cystic kidney disease in ALGS and have so far identified a role for Notch in regulating the orientation of cell division.
Meet the Surendran Team
Madhusudhana Janga, PhD
Madhusudhana Janga joined the Surendran Lab in 2018 after doing his postdoctoral training in Texas A&M University. He is involved in examining the cellular and genetic basis of kidney disease associated with Alagille Syndrome.
Dr. Janga holds a Ph.D. in genetics from Osmania University in India.
Jennifer deRiso, MS
Senior Research Specialist
Jennifer deRiso joined the Surendran Lab in 2015 to assist the team in its research on the mechanism of collecting duct cell differentiation during the development of the kidney and the role of Notch signaling in the maintenance of mature principal cells.
deRiso holds a master’s degree in molecular biology from St. Cloud State University.
Eric Fogarty, BS
Eric Fogarty joined the Surendran Lab in 2016 as a Ph.D. candidate to learn the role of a particular family of transcription factors within the mammalian renal collecting duct, the ESE family.
Fogarty holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of South Dakota.