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Dr. Deepak Nihalani

Endowed Chair in Renal Biomarkers

Renal Disease Biomarkers

Dr. Deepak Nihalani is a trained protein biochemist with several years of experience in the field of glomerular biology. Throughout his career, he has been diligent in the pursuit of exploring novel avenues in the field of biomedical research. His major interests are in understanding the mechanisms involved in the development of glomerular diseases that are important causes of morbidity and mortality and often lead to renal failure. Dr. Nihalani began his postdoctoral work in the lab of a world-renowned Nephrologist Dr. Lawrence Holzman at the University of Michigan where he studied the role of a signaling kinase DLK (dual leucine zipper kinase) in neuronal response to injury. The major highlight of his work was identification of a potential mechanism through which scaffolding protein JIP1 (JNK interacting protein) propagates intracellular signaling by assembling a signaling cascade that involves a dynamic interaction with DLK. His work let to the proposal that scaffolding protein JIP1 function’s as a dynamic scaffold rather than a stationary multimolecular complex. This work was widely acknowledged and had significant impact in understanding the cellular response to stress.

Following his postdoctoral training Dr. Nihalani moved to Indiana University where he set up his independent laboratory and studied the structure and function of podocyte proteins that are critical in maintaining the renal filtration function. His work has been continually funded through several federal and non-federal agencies including the NIH. His work is focused on elucidating novel intracellular signaling pathways that are induced following podocyte injury and regulate changes in podocyte morphology or junction formation. He uses a combination of biochemical, molecular biology and systems biology approaches to define the functional regions in these proteins and identify their novel interacting partners. He is also currently engaged in developing transgenic and knockout mouse models and zebrafish models that will be instrumental in examining the functional biology of podocyte proteins and their interactions. He recently joined MUSC (Medical University of South Carolina) and moved to a new position as the Endowed Brackett SmartState Chair in Nephrology at the MUSC. He has made significant contributions to the field of glomerular biology by publishing over 30 peer-reviewed journal articles and numerous presentations in international organizations. He currently has two worldwide patents. In his current position, he has sought to engage clinical Nephrologists and researchers to develop novel research programs that will benefit future Nephrologists in developing their academic careers. He is also actively engaged in applying his expertise in the clinical translational research by identifying and developing pharmacological drug candidates directed towards the treatment of various glomerular diseases.

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