Suleiman Receives NEPTUNE Career Development Fellowship

Hani Suleiman, MD, PhD, has been awarded a Nephrotic Syndrome Study Network (NEPTUNE) Career Development Fellowship for his grant “Sarcomere-Like Structures” as an Indicator for Podocyte Injury in Nephrotic Syndrome.

The NEPTUNE program uses a multidisciplinary approach that brings together academic medical centers, patient advocacy groups (NephCure Foundation and the Halpin Foundation), and clinical research resources to advance the study of human glomerular disease. NEPTUNE is part of the NIH Rare Diseases Clinical Research Network. The Career Development Fellowship supports advanced post-doctoral and junior faculty trainees, as well as investigators who wish to pursue a new research direction, to become independent investigators in this specialized area of research.

“Proteinuric glomerular diseases are an important health problem,” says Dr. Suleiman. “The affected cells, the podocytes, undergo a tremendous change in their shape called foot process effacement. Diagnosing most glomerular diseases relies on the use of electron microscopy, which can only identify the morphological changes in the podocytes and has no value in assessing the course of the disease.”

Using a super-resolution imaging technique, Dr. Suleiman will study the molecular changes that correlate with the severity of glomerular diseases (such as minimal change disease, focal segmental glomerulosclerosis and diabetic nephropathy). This procedure could potentially become a novel diagnostic tool.

Dr. Suleiman is the second investigator from the Division of Nephrology at Washington University to receive a NEPTUNE Career Development Fellowship, which has been awarded to only nine trainees in the past six years. Ying (Maggie) Chen, MD, PhD, received the award in 2015 for her grant Podocyte Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress and Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis.

See all nine NEPTUNE Fellowship awardees here.