Our faculty are internationally recognized for their laboratory and clinical research into the causes and treatments of kidney disease.
View active nephrology clinical trials in StudyFinder, our searchable database of clinical research taking place at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and Penn State College of Medicine.
Some of the research projects currently in progress include:
Inflammation and diabetic nephropathy (Dr. Alaa S. Awad): Diabetes is now the most common cause of renal failure in the United States. Tumor necrosis factor is produced by the immune system and by the kidney. Preliminary observations indicate that the production of tumor necrosis factor is increased in diabetes. Dr. Awad has found that ablation of macrophages, which are potent producers of TNF, reduces the development of diabetic nephropathy. His lab is studying the production of TNF in both humans with diabetes and in animal models of diabetes.
Natural history of acute kidney injury (Dr. Nasrollah Ghahramani): Dr. Ghahramani is collaborating with Dr. Vernon Chinchilli (Department of Public Health Sciences) in an NIH sponsored multicenter study of the natural history of acute kidney injury (ASSESS-AKI). This 10-year study will examine the long term health outcomes of 800 patients with AKI compared with a matched control population.
Peer-led mentoring program for patients with chronic kidney disease and their caregivers (Dr. Nasrollah Ghahramani): Patients with CKD and their family members face many challenges in dealing with the disease and the decisions that relate to choice of treatment. Receiving supportive mentoring from well-adjusted individuals who share similar experiences has had a positive influence on adjustment with some chronic diseases. In a study supported by Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), Dr. Ghahramani is conducting a study to evaluate the effect of peer mentoring on patient engagement and quality of life, as well as caregiver burden.
Geographic disparities in kidney disease management (Dr. Nasrollah Ghahramani): Little is known concerning the impact of geography on the incidence and/or treatment of kidney disease. Using survey methods, meta-analysis and database analysis, Dr. Ghahramani performs observational studies in the following general areas: geographic aspects of renal disease; rural/urban disparities in kidney transplantation; the impact of perceptions of physicians and patients on quality of healthcare.
Tissue plasminogen activator in renal fibrosis (Dr. Kebin Hu): Kidney fibrosis is a common final pathway for various types of kidney disease. Dr. Hu has discovered that a plasma protease, tissue plasminogen activator (TPA), may play an important role in the progression of kidney fibrosis through receptor-mediated effects on interstitial fibroblasts and myofibroblasts. His current research is focused on elucidating the actions of TPA on fibroblast proliferation and turnover as well as the intracellular signaling pathways which regulate these processes.
Genetics in acute kidney injury (Dr. Jennifer Schaub): The study of genetics of acute kidney injury has recently gained significant attention. Dr. Schaub’s research interest is in acute kidney injury, with a focus on genetics in AKI and biomarker discovery.
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To speak to someone about our current studies, please call 717-531-8885.