Alessandra Boletta, Ph.D.
San Raffaele Scientific Institute, Milan, Italy
Dr. Alessandra Boletta graduated in biology at the University of Pavia in Italy. She carried out her Ph.D-equivalent training at the Mario Negri Institute in Bergamo, Italy, working on gene delivery to the kidney before moving to Johns Hopkins University for her postdoctoral training. At Johns Hopkins, she started her scientific activity on polycystic kidney disease by working on heterologous expression of polycystin-1 aimed at establishing cellular models to investigate its function. Dr. Boletta moved back to Italy to establish her independent lab at the San Raffaele Scientific Institute, where she was the director for the Division of Genetics and Cell Biology from 2014 to 2019. She currently is head of the Research Unit. Over the years, her lab has developed several cellular and animal models with the aim of studying polycystin-1 function and the pathophysiology of autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD). Her laboratory has identified metabolic reprogramming as an important feature of the disease, offering several new options for therapy, as well as novel insights into the pathogenesis of ADPKD.
Michael J. Caplan, M.D., Ph.D.
Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut
Dr. Michael J. Caplan is the C.N.H. Long Professor and chair of the Department of Cellular and Molecular Physiology and professor of cell biology at the Yale University School of Medicine. He earned his undergraduate degree from Harvard University in 1980 and his M.D. and Ph.D. from Yale University in 1987, working in the laboratories of Drs. J.D. Jamieson and G.E. Palade. He joined Yale’s Department of Cellular and Molecular Physiology as a faculty member in 1988. Over the course of his career, Caplan has received fellowships from the Helen Hay Whitney Foundation and the David and Lucille Packard Foundation for Science and Engineering, as well as a National Young Investigator Award from the National Science Foundation and Young Investigator Awards from the American Physiological Society and the American Society of Nephrologists. He has delivered the American Physiological Society’s Carl W. Gottschalk Distinguished Lectureship and has been elected to membership in the American Association of Physicians. He also has been very honored to receive Yale University School of Medicine’s Bohmfalk Prize for teaching and to be selected as the first recipient of Yale University’s Award for Postdoctoral Mentorship. His scientific work focuses on understanding the ways in which epithelial cells communicate with one another to generate and maintain their unique structures. His laboratory studies autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease, a prevalent and serious genetic disorder and a major cause of kidney failure. The laboratory also is working to understand the mechanisms responsible for this condition and to identify targets for new therapies.
Gregory G. Germino, M.D.
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland
Dr. Gregory Germino is the deputy director of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) at the National Institutes of Health, an adjunct professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and section chief of the Polycystic Kidney Disease Laboratory in NIDDK’s Division of Intramural Research since 2009. He has served on the Scientific Advisory Board of the Polycystic Kidney Research Foundation, as chair of the Scientific Review Board of the Telethon Foundation of Italy, as a councilor of the American Society of Clinical Investigation, as a member of the Board of Directors of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, and as an ex officio member of the Fogarty Center Advisory Council. He has received multiple awards, including an NIH MERIT Award; induction into the Association of American Physicians; the Lillian Jean Kaplan International Prize for Advancement in the Understanding of Polycystic Kidney Disease; and the Shaul Massry Distinguished Lectureship of the National Kidney Foundation. Dr. Germino received his undergraduate degree from Loyola University Chicago, earned his medical degree from the Pritzker School of Medicine at the University of Chicago, trained in internal medicine and nephrology at Yale, spent a research year at Oxford University, and was full-time faculty at Johns Hopkins University from 1992 to 2009, where he directed its Polycystic Kidney Disease Center.
Peter C. Harris, Ph.D.
Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota
Dr. Peter Harris is professor of biochemistry, molecular biology, and medicine at the Mayo Clinic. He earned his Ph.D. at the University of Glasgow in Scotland and completed postdoctoral work at Harvard University and the Institute of Molecular Medicine, University of Oxford, where he joined the faculty and progressed to full professor before moving to the Mayo Clinic in 1999. The main focus of Dr. Harris’ career has been polycystic kidney disease (PKD). He identified the main autosomal dominant PKD (ADPKD) gene, PKD1, in 1994 as the head of a European Consortium. He also identified the autosomal recessive PKD (ARPKD) gene in 2002 and found two genes for Meckel syndrome, TMEM67 and B9D1. His group recently showed that GANAB and DNAJB11 are rare causes of ADPKD. Other notable studies include generating PKD animal models that mimic human disease, exploring ADPKD hypomorphic alleles, performing genotype/phenotype studies, and analyzing the processing and localization of the PKD1 protein. He has published about 320 peer-reviewed papers with an h-index greater than 85. He has been director of the Mayo Translational PKD Center since 2020 and holds two R01 grants. He curates the PKD Foundation ADPKD Mutation Database. In 2003, Dr. Harris received the inaugural Lillian Jean Kaplan Prize for Advancement in the Understanding of PKD, and in 2008, he received the Homer Smith Award from the American Society of Nephrology.
Jon B. Klein, M.D., Ph.D.
University of Louisville, Kentucky
Dr. Jon B. Klein currently is a professor of medicine at the University of Louisville and a clinical nephrologist practicing at the Robley Rex VA Medical Center. Originally from New Orleans, he attended the University of Texas at Austin for his undergraduate education and earned his medical degree from the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, the original medical campus in the University of Texas System. He served his residency in internal medicine at the Kansas University Medical Center, where he was inspired to enter the field of nephrology by Jared Grantham. Dr. Klein completed his fellowship in nephrology at the University of Louisville and subsequently earned his Ph.D. in microbiology and immunology there. He currently serves as the director of the Clinical Translational Sciences Institute and the vice dean for research at the University of Louisville School of Medicine, where he holds the James Graham Brown Foundation Endowed Chair in Proteomics.
Michael Köttgen, M.D.
University of Freiburg Medical Center, Freiburg, Germany
Dr. Michael Köttgen is a professor of nephrology at the University of Freiburg Medical Center. His research is focused on the molecular pathogenesis of autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD) to identify novel therapeutic targets. In order to address this long-term goal, his laboratory is trying to gain a better understanding of the physiological function of the gene products mutated in ADPKD. His group is using a combination of genetic, biochemical, and physiological approaches to study the function of polycystin-1 and polycystin-2 in health and disease.
Jennifer A. Lewis, Sc.D.
Wyss Institute at Harvard University, Boston, Massachusetts
Dr. Jennifer A. Lewis is the Jianming Yu Professor of Arts and Sciences, the Wyss Professor for Biologically Inspired Engineering in the Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and a core faculty member of the Wyss Institute at Harvard University. Her research focuses on the biomanufacturing of vascularized organoids and 3-D human tissues. She is the co-lead of the Wyss 3-D Organ Engineering Initiative, the director of the Harvard Materials Research Science and Engineering Center, and a member of the National Science Foundation Mathematical and Physical Sciences Advisory Committee. Dr. Lewis has received numerous awards, including the Presidential Faculty Fellow Award, the American Chemical Society Langmuir Lecture Award, the Materials Research Society Medal Award, and the Lush Science Prize. She is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She has co-founded multiple companies that commercialize technology from her laboratory.
Andrew P. McMahon, Ph.D., FRS
Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California
Dr. Andrew McMahon is the W.M. Keck Provost and University Professor, chair of the Department of Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine, and director of the Eli and Edythe Broad Center for Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research within the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California (USC). Dr. McMahon joined USC in 2012 after 19 years at Harvard University, where he was the Frank B. Baird Jr. Professor of Science, the chair of the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, a member of the Department of Stem Cells and Regenerative Biology, and a founding principal investigator of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and an elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the European Molecular Biology Organization, and the Royal Society. Dr. McMahon’s group was the first to identify several key signals coordinating cell interactions directing development of multiple mammalian organ systems. His current research focuses on development, injury, and repair of the mammalian kidney to develop approaches to prevent and treat kidney disease.
Harald Mischak, Ph.D.
Mosaiques Diagnostics, Hannover, Germany, and University of Glasgow, Scotland
Dr. Harald Mischak is the director of Mosaiques Diagnostics—which he founded in 2002 in Hannover, Germany—and a professor at the University of Glasgow. He received his Ph.D. from the Technical University of Vienna in Austria and subsequently worked on kinases in signal transduction for 4 years at the National Cancer Institute and for 5 years at the GSF in Munich, Germany. Dr. Mischak has been involved in proteomics research during the last 30 years with an emphasis on deciphering signaling pathways and identifying biomarkers and therapeutic targets. He initiated the use of urinary proteomics and capillary electrophoresis-mass spectrometry for clinical application with a focus on kidney and cardiovascular disease. Among his achievements are the development of guidelines for clinical proteomics, the successful application of clinical proteomics in the diagnosis and prognosis of several diseases, and the initiation of proteomics-guided randomized controlled clinical trials. With more than 400 scientific articles on signaling and proteomics that have been cited more than 25,000 times, he is one of the leading experts worldwide in the field of proteome research, personalized medicine, and applied systems biology. The main focus of his current work is on (1) identification, validation, and implementation of proteomic biomarkers, aiming especially at biomarkers associated with chronic kidney disease, coronary artery disease, heart failure, and certain types of cancer, and (2) uncovering the molecular changes responsible for the major diseases based on combining proteomic, metabolomic, and genomic data. These efforts ultimately should enable the identification of the most appropriate therapeutic targets and the implementation of personalized precision medicine.
Gregory J. Pazour, Ph.D.
University of Massachusetts, Worcester, Massachusetts
Dr. Gregory Pazour is currently a professor of molecular medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota, where he studied the plant pathogen Agrobacterium. This was followed by postdoctoral studies at the Worcester Foundation for Biomedical Research, where he made the unexpected connection between cilia in the green alga Chlamydomonas and cystic kidney disease. His laboratory focuses on understanding the mechanisms of ciliary assembly and the role that cilia play in mammalian health and development. In particular, the Pazour group is interested in the function of the intraflagellar transport proteins. This 30-protein complex is critical to build cilia and is conserved evolutionarily across eukaryotes, from green algae to humans. Defects in most intraflagellar transport proteins block ciliary assembly and cause cystic kidney disease, retinal degeneration, and structural birth defects in many organs, including the kidney. His current work is focused on the intersection between ciliary assembly processes and sensory functions of cilia.
Jeremy Reiter, M.D., Ph.D.
University of California, San Francisco, California
Dr. Jeremy Reiter is a professor at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). His work focuses on how cells build cilia and how cilia function in intercellular communication. It has included elucidating the mechanisms by which cilia transduce signals, such as Hedgehogs, demonstrating that cancer cells can be addicted to their cilia, and discovering the role of the transition zone in gating the ciliary localization of receptors. His studies help reveal how cilia signal, how defective ciliary signaling causes ciliopathies (e.g., cystic kidney diseases), how ciliary defects contribute to diseases not normally considered ciliopathies (e.g., Hedgehog-associated cancers), and how cilia function in postnatal tissues with a particular focus on the hypothalamic regulation of feeding behavior. In addition, Dr. Reiter is the chair of the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics at UCSF.
Orit Rozenblatt-Rosen, Ph.D.
Genentech, South San Francisco, California
Dr. Orit Rozenblatt-Rosen is head of the Cellular and Tissue Genomics (CTG) Department at Genentech. CTG aims to develop and apply high-resolution methods to characterize cells and tissues to accelerate scientific discovery and help identify therapies and next-generation biomarkers for precision medicine treatments for patients. Dr. Rozenblatt-Rosen is a pioneer in single-cell genomics technologies and their application to tissues in order to better understand health and disease. Previously, she was the scientific director of the Klarman Cell Observatory at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, where she focused on deciphering cellular and tissue circuits. Dr. Rozenblatt-Rosen completed her Ph.D. at the Weizmann Institute of Science. Her postdoctoral work at the Dana Farber Cancer Center focused on understanding the role of tumor suppressor genes and how they impact epigenetic regulation.
Gregory Steinberg, Ph.D.
McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Dr. Gregory Steinberg is a professor of medicine at McMaster University, where he holds a Canada Research Chair and a J. Bruce Duncan Endowed Chair in Metabolic Diseases and is co-director of the Centre for Metabolism, Obesity, and Diabetes Research. His research studies cellular energy–sensing mechanisms and how endocrine factors, lipid metabolism, and insulin sensitivity are linked and contribute to the development of obesity, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. He has published more than 190 papers—many in leading scientific journals (e.g., Nature Medicine, Cell Metabolism, Nature Reviews in Drug Discovery). Importantly, many of these studies have laid the foundation for therapies that have been approved recently or are in clinical trials for NASH and cardiovascular disease. His scientific contributions have been recognized by the Endocrine Society, Diabetes Canada, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, and the American Diabetes Association. Each of these organizations has presented him with outstanding or early-career scientific achievement awards.
Qiang Su, Ph.D.
Westlake University, Hangzhou, Zhejian, China
Dr. Qiang Su currently is completing postdoctoral work in Professor Yigong Shi’s laboratory at Westlake University. Dr. Su completed his doctoral dissertation at Tsinghua University under the guidance of Professor Shi. During his Ph.D. studies, he employed cryo-electron microscopy technology and resolved the structure of human PC1/PC2 complex, and for the first time, revealed the molecular basis of the unique “1+3” assembly of the PC1/PC2 complex. Recently, he resolved the structures of the polycystin-like channel and PKD1L3/PKD2L1 complex and provided important insights into the function of polycystin or polycystin-like ion channels.