ADVANCES IN UROLOGIC RESEARCH
This laboratory is a multi-disciplinary laboratory in the Institute for Pediatric Urology of the Department of Urology, whose co-directors are Diane Felsen, PhD and Dix P. Poppas, MD, Director, Division of Pediatric Urology. Among the current projects are the following:
Investigating the pathophysiology of ureteral obstruction: Unilateral ureteral obstruction [UUO] results in decreases in renal function, cellular infiltration and transdifferentiation , and renal fibrosis. Current studies are designed to understand the mechanism of fibrosis and cellular change, with the goal of eventual pharmacologic or genetic manipulation. Two candidate targets are transforming growth factor-b [TGF-b ] , and nitric oxide [NO], which appear to have deleterious and beneficial effects on the kidney, respectively. We are presently studying the response of the obstructed kidney to treatments which modulate the biology of these two mediators including pharmacologic, genetic knockouts and gene therapy. These studies include examining the histopathological and molecular changes in the kidney in response to UUO, and in measuring renal function using novel modalities which are being developed. Parallel studies in vitro are designed to examine the response of renal cell populations to stimuli which mimic the in vivo effects of obstruction, including pressure, stretch and cytokines.
Studies on Wound Healing: Our laboratory has had a long interest in alternative methods of wound closure, including laser tissue welding and other tissue sealants. In order to study healing of human skin, we have developed a skin transplant model in which full thickness human foreskin is transplanted subcutaneously into nude [athymic] rats. The transplanted tissue is viable, vascularized and undergoes angiogenesis; furthermore, surgical incision of the transplanted skin is followed by healing, with appropriate wound strength. This model thus allows us to extrapolate from studies carried out directly on human tissue, providing a promising model to study the complex biology of acute human wound healing in a reproducible manner.