Akio Kobayashi, PhD
The primary interest of the Kobayashi laboratory is to understand the cellular and molecular regulatory mechanisms leading to the establishment of the mammalian kidney, a vital organ to maintain ion balance in the body after birth. Our lab generates new transgenic mouse lines using gene targeting in embryonic stem (ES) cells and CRISPR technology in embryos. The functional unit of the kidney, the nephron, contains multiple cell types with various specialized physiological functions. We discovered a multipotent self-renewing nephron progenitor population during kidney development. Furthermore, we defined genetic regulatory mechanisms for maintaining nephron progenitor cells. Our studies should lay the foundation of regenerative therapy by restoring nephrons in diseased kidney, ultimately eliminating the need for dialysis and renal transplantation in patients with kidney diseases in the future.