Multi-institutional team including Dr. Joseph Gaut creates kidney tissue atlas for understanding kidney injury, disease

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Scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis are among the leaders of a multi-institution research team that has built an atlas focused on the kidney’s myriad cells. The aim of the kidney tissue atlas is to further the understanding of kidney injury and disease.

The study, funded by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), is published July 19 in Nature.

“We don’t have great treatment options for patients with kidney disease,” said Sanjay Jain, MD, PhD, a Washington University professor of medicine who led this study with five co-corresponding authors. “By mapping molecular signatures, we hope to predict which patients are at risk of progressing to kidney failure. This molecular knowledge will, one day, lead us to precise, customized treatments for our patients.”

Jain’s team, including co-investigators Joseph P. Gaut, MD, PhD, the Ladenson Professor of Pathology & Immunology; Anitha Vijayan, MD, a professor of medicine in the Division of Nephrology; and Eric H. Kim, MD, an associate professor of surgery, worked with other members of the Kidney Precision Medicine Project (KPMP), Human BioMolecular Atlas Program (HuBMAP), Human Cell Atlas, and scientists from other institutions to complete single-cell and spatial tests on nearly 100 healthy and diseased human kidneys.