The kidneys play a central role in the cardiovascular system. They regulate blood pressure and fluid balance, eliminate toxins from blood, and produce hormones. Prof. Kai Schmidt-Ott, a nephrologist and researcher at Berlin’s Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) and at Charité, is investigating with his research team the development and diseases of the organ at the molecular level.
Schmidt-Ott is also working to identify new biomarkers for the early detection of acute kidney injury, which is a potentially life-threatening condition. He is investigating this disease both clinically and at the molecular level. In recognition of these scientific achievements, the German Society of Nephrology is now honoring Schmidt-Ott with the Dr. Werner Jackstädt Research Award, which comes with a €3,000 award.
Molecular mechanisms in kidney development and disease
The central scientific focus of his research team is the development and function of renal epithelial tissues and how such tissues respond to damage. The research team is examining signaling pathways and “molecular switches” that are important for normal kidney function or that become active during acute kidney injury and during kidney regeneration following renal damage. These include the transcription factors of the Grainyhead family as well as the BMP and NF-kB signaling pathways. Many of the team’s projects are developed in close collaboration with the Experimental and Clinical Research Center (ECRC), which is jointly run by the MDC and Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin.
About Prof. Schmidt-Ott
Prof. Kai Schmidt-Ott is a principal investigator at the MDC, a senior physician in Charité’s Division of Nephrology and Internal Intensive Care Medicine, and an adjunct assistant professor at Columbia University in New York City. He received his training as a clinician and researcher at Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, the University of Florida, and Columbia University. From 2003 to 2013, Schmidt-Ott was a recipient of funding from the multi-stage Emmy Noether Programme of the German Research Foundation (DFG). He has also received several scientific awards, including the Ernst Reuter Award of Freie Universität Berlin and the Young Investigator Award of the German Society of Hypertension.