Congratulations to Ying Maggie Chen, MD, PhD, WashU Nephrology, who was awarded a Northwestern University George M. O’Brien Kidney Core Center (NU GoKidney) Pilot and Feasibility Grant. NU GoKidney is a kidney research center that fosters research leading to the discovery of novel nephrotherapeutics that will transform the prevention and treatment of kidney diseases and eventually lead to cures.
Dr. Chen’s proposal titled “Targeted Drug Delivery to Podocytes for the Treatment of Nephrotic Syndrome” was one of three top applications selected for funding.
The funded proposal aims to develop podocyte-targeted nanoparticles (NPs) to deliver a new class of drugs, podocyte ER calcium stabilizers (see the 2019 publication in PNAS here; patent submitted 2019). The development of the new drug was funded in a $1.8M DoD grant in 2019 to mitigate podocyte ER calcium leak and injury. To accomplish the research goals, Chen’s lab will utilize the NU GoKidney Therapeutic Design & Development Core and collaborate with Evan Scott, PhD, associate professor of biomedical engineering µbiology-immunology at Northwestern University-Evanston, Illinois, who is a leading scientist in NP-mediated drug delivery. They will use a patented process referred to as nanostructure enhanced targeting (NSET), which was invented in The Scott lab, to enhance drug delivery to podocytes.
Chen, recently promoted to associate professor of medicine (with tenure), is the director of WashU Nephrology’s Nephrotic Syndrome Clinic and is a Nephrotic Syndrome Specialist who treats rare, protein-spilling kidney diseases, as designated by NephCure Kidney International.