Zhongwei Li, Ph.D., 11:00am- February 27, 2024

Building synthetic kidney models from stem cells for organ transplantation and drug discovery

One out of seven adults develop chronic kidney disease, which frequently leads to kidney failure. For patients with kidney failure, the best treatment option to survive is to get a kidney transplant. However, there is a severe shortage of donor kidneys available for transplantation. It is estimated that 13 Americans die each day while waiting for a kidney transplant. To solve this problem, leveraging on the principles of kidney organogenesis, combining stem cell technologies and bioengineering strategies, we are building transplantable synthetic kidneys to provide alternative donor kidneys for transplantation. Meanwhile, combining genome editing technologies with the miniature forms of synthetic kidneys, i.e. kidney organoids, allows the generation of novel polycystic kidney disease (PKD) models that are amenable for high-throughput small molecule and genetic screens, leading to the discovery of novel drug candidates for the treatment of PKD.