Elizabeth and Michael Gallagher Associate Professor, Department of Biological Sciences
Office: 218 Galvin Life Science Center
Rebecca Wingert’s laboratory studies how the kidney is developed and regenerated. Her laboratory uses the zebrafish model to study how nephrons, the basic unit of the kidney, are made during development and regenerate after injury. The work aims to provide insights into the activities of kidney cells and lead to new ways of treating kidney disease, a global health concern.
Each human kidney has several hundred thousand to more than one million nephrons, highly specialized tubes that filter blood and remove wastes. Some cells in nephrons have an ability to regenerate when they are damaged. Wingert’s group seeks to learn how nephrons first arise from stem cells and how the cells are able to regenerate. The zebrafish embryo forms a simple kidney with two nephrons that have similarities with nephrons in mammals.
The zebrafish model can help reveal essential genes and signaling pathways that have never been associated with renal progenitor biology and identify how they gain their function. In addition to studying how the cells form, researchers are examining how various toxins lead to kidney cell destruction and regeneration. They also employ lasers destroy certain nephron regions so they can examine how those regions regenerate.
Adult Stem Cells: A Medical Revolution in the Making
The Development of Stem Cell Concepts and Current Stem Cell Vernacular
Presented by Rebecca Wingert at the Notre Dame Inaugural Workshop on Adult and Alternative Forms of Stem Cell Research: Public Lectures, 2011
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