Our faculty members conduct research through clinical investigation, clinical trials and laboratory studies. The following information details the faculty's interests in the areas of renal and nephrology research.
Dr. Braun’s research focuses on immune-mediated mechanism of renal injury. Using murine models of lupus nephritis and membranoproliferative glomerulonephritis, his laboratory is investigating the mechanisms by which the complement system both initiates renal injury and alters the host adaptive immune response to glomerular damage. The current focus of this work is on the role of the receptors for the complement cleavage products C3a and C5a, as well as the effects of sub-lytic membrane attack complex deposition on renal parenchymal cell responses. Dr. Braun’s clinical research interests are in the areas of complement mediated glomerular diseases, membrano proliferative glomenlonephritis in particular, and disease recurrence in renal allografts
Dr. Brewer’s research focuses on clinical investigation of kidney diseases in children and adolescents and currently includes studies of fibroblastic growth factor 23 and dysfunctional mineral metabolism as potential cardiovascular risk factors in pediatric patients with end-stage renal disease. She participates as institutional principal investigator in national multi-center clinical investigations, such as the NIH-sponsored randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of antimicrobial prophylaxis in children with vesicoureteral reflux and urinary tract infection.
Dr. Elenberg is a national expert in cystinosis; in 2009, she received a grant from the Cystinosis Research Network to study quality of life in patients with cystinosis. She is currently in the planning stage of a major study aimed at developing a better drug that will improve quality of life for patients with cystinosis.
Dr. Kale, in collaboration with Drs. Feig, Adrogue, Zhou, and Lou, is investigating the role of T lymphocytes in the pathogenesis of minimal change disease. She has completed and published a retrospective study of patients with lupus nephritis to analyze the prognostic effect of monthly infusions of cytoxan, in collaboration with Drs. Askenazi and Myones. The second phase of the study is in progress in collaboration with Drs. Kamdar and Myones.
Dr. Michael is involved in clinical research. She has expertise in performing systematic reviews and recently completed a systematic review of randomized controlled studies on interventions for hemolytic uremic syndrome and thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura. She is involved in conducting a retrospective review of pediatric renal transplantation outcomes with long-term dual immunosuppression being followed at Texas Children's for the last 20 years in collaboration with Drs. Brewer and Kale. In collaboration with Drs. Myones and Kale, she is also conducting a study to determine the levels of the cytokine TNF-α in patients with steroid-dependent or resistant nephrotic syndrome.
Dr. Srivaths’ research focus is investigating cardiovascular morbidity associated with end-stage renal disease in children. He and his colleagues have completed a pilot project assessing prevalence and progression of cardiac calcifications in children receiving hemodialysis. He is expanding this research to assess cardiac calcifications in children receiving peritoneal dialysis and is also undertaking a project comparing calcifications and vascular compliance in children with end-stage renal disease.
Dr. Swartz’s research interests lie in childhood hypertension. She is interested in further defining the physiologic steps involved in the early development of essential hypertension. By elaborating on these early pathophysiologic changes, she hopes to improve treatment and potentially prevent the progression of essential hypertension.
The Wenderfer laboratory collaborates widely with other investigators in Houston and around the world and Dr. Wenderfer is dedicated to training the next generation of basic scientists and physician-scientists. Projects in the laboratory include quantitative fluorescence microscopy, immunology, and biochemistry studies, tissue culture studies, animal modeling, and translational investigations. Immune complexes of all types are characterized in vitro and in vivo. Primary cultures for each kidney cell types are studied for cell-specific responses. Mouse models of circulating immune complex kidney accumulation are used to validate findings in vivo. Translational trials in patients with nephritis are designed with the knowledge gained from these basic science studies.