Understanding molecular mechanisms of diabetic kidney disease.

Clinical Interests

Dr. Chen has had a passion for understanding and improving the treatment of neoplastic diseases. She has established close collaborations with physician scientists to discover novel useful biomarkers that stratify clinicopathological subtypes of solid tumors. These biomarkers will be used to predict treatment outcomes of cancer patients undergoing clinical trials with combined inhibitors specifically targeting aberrant oncogenic signaling.

Research/Academic Interests

Dr. Chen’s research strives to elucidate the molecular mechanisms underlying human diseases and thereby identify useful biomarkers and druggable targets in a broad range of malignancies. In the last five years, her studies have revealed multiple oncogenic complexes and have also developed the peptide-based therapeutics to mitigate cancer metastasis and drug resistance.

Currently, the research foci of Dr. Chen’s laboratory are 1) to discover potential therapeutic targets in renal cell carcinoma and polycystic kidney disease using integrated -omics data, genetic manipulations and pharmacological approaches; 2) to develop clinically viable methods of ex-vivo expansion and activation of tumor propagating cells. In addition, Dr. Chen is actively engaging in the feasibility of PIP2 retention strategies on controlling cancer progression and increasing the efficacy of chemo- or immunotherapy.

Clinical nephrology. Hemodialysis vascular access, including longitudinal changes in grafts and fistulae. Acute care hemodialysis modalities and strategies for anticoagulation in ICU dialysis. Hemodynamic and cardiovascular changes during hemodialysis.

Epidemiology of acute infections in patients with kidney disease. Her research also focuses on the relation between infection, inflammation, and cardiovascular events in patients with chronic kidney disease.

Thomas A. Depner, M.D.

Biochemistry and pathogenesis of uremia including identification and measurement of potential toxins. Renal tubular transport in the diseased kidney.  Assessment of dose and adequacy of renal replacement therapy.  Mathematical modeling of hemodialysis solute kinetics.  Monitors of vascular access blood flow in hemodialyzed patients. Population studies of outcome including survival in patients with advanced kidney disease.

arrow Current Research and Clinical Trials Programs 

The pathophysiology of the accelerated vascular calcification and mortality in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) and studying potential therapies including use of specific anti-cytokine agents.  Measurement of the extra-osseous calcium burden in patients with chronic kidney disease.  Pathophysiology of the dyslipidemia in patients with CKD.

George A. Kaysen, M.D., Ph.D.

Human studies exploring the relationship between nutrition as measured by the level of serum albumin, prealbumin (transthyretin) transferrin, and body composition, inflammation and cardiovascular and overall outcomes and mortality in dialysis patients.  I am responsible for creating a biorepository for the USRDS Nutrition special study and for measuring a number of biomarkers from samples obtained in order to relate them to body composition and clinical outcomes.  My research also focuses on lipoprotein levels, structure and function as it pertains to renal disease both in humans and in experimental animal models.  These have been focuses of my research for over 20 years.

Animal studies have involved the relationship between urinary protein loss and plasma protein and lipoprotein composition.  My research has resulted in approximately 200 peer reviewed publications. 

Acute kidney injury in ICU, Renal complications of cancer, Measurements of renal function, Glomerulonephritits, Cardiovascular outcomes with peritoneal dialysis.

Clinical nephrology & Home Dialysis Modalities.  Hemodialysis outcomes by Ethnicity and Race.  Chronic kidney disease and prevention.

Dialysis Vascular access with particular interest in clinical trials. Basic science interests would include Vascular biology and procoagulants.

Molecular biology of signal transduction in vascular, kidney, and cancer cells with special emphasis on growth inhibitory mechanisms.  Role of the cyclins and cyclin inhibitors in cell growth and apoptosis, and metabolomics and proteomics of cancer and kidney disease.

arrow Current Research

Dr. Weiss was recently featured in U.S. News & World Report :

December 4, 2015

Finding Out You Have Kidney Cancer: Kidney-sparing surgery and targeted medications may be good options.

"Kidney cancer is one of the few types of cancer that's increasing in incidence, says Dr. Robert Weiss, a professor with the University of California–Davis Health System and chief of nephrology at Sacramento VA Medical Center. Metabolic syndrome, which is tied to obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure, is also a factor in kidney cancer, research suggests."

Read the full story via U.S. News & World Report 

Inflammatory blockage of albumin synthesis and erythropoiesis in dialysis patients; hyperhomocysteinemia in dialysis patients; role of homocysteine in atherogenesis in dialysis patients; emphasis on clinical studies.

Mechanisms of chronic renal allograft rejection; mechanisms of acute renal ischemia-reperfusion injury during kidney procurement for renal transplant; therapy of highly sensitized patients to decrease circulating anti-HLA antibodies and facilitate renal transplantation; development of new immunosuppression protocols for renal transplantation (steroid-avoidance and calcineurin inhibitor sparing, to name two); development of a  clinically applicable tolerance regimen for renal transplantation.

Mechanisms of progression of chronic renal disease; delayed graft function.