O'Brien Center Research


The Problems Addressed in the Columbia O’Brien Urology Center

Congenital defects of the lower urinary tract such as Vesicoureteric Reflux (VUR), Ureteropelvic Junction Obstruction (UPJO), Posterior Urethral Valve (PUV), which account for 20% of kidney failure in the pediatric population are associated with significant morbidity and mortality. The origins of these congenital defects and the pathogenesis of their complications such as recurrent urinary tract infections and kidney injury are not well understood. This proposal aims for a multidisciplinary, collaborative approach to address this important problem in Pediatric Urology.

Our Goal

To generate a much-needed link between basic and clinical researchers to maximize the chances of solving important problems in Urology.

In the collegial atmosphere at Columbia University Irving Medical Center, the physical boundaries between departments do not inhibit an enormous amount of collaboration between scientists, fostering interactions between investigators in the Urology, Nephrology and the Genes & Development Programs. The Center is thus built on a long track record of original, collaborative research between the PIs and the success of their highly interconnected projects is predicated on continuous exchange of ideas, expertise, and data within the Center. Importantly, all the projects involve reciprocal investigation of humans and mice, and will leverage NIDDK cohorts such as the Randomized Intervention for Children With Vesicoureteral Reflux (RIVUR), the Chronic Kidney Disease in Children (CKiD) as well as data from the Genitourinary Database Molecular Anatomy Program (GUDMAP).

Our Projects

Project 1: A comprehensive approach to study the genetic basis of vesicoureteral reflux (VUR) and its complications

Project 2: Investigation into developmental mechanisms leading to hydronephrosis

Project 3: The roles for urinary reflux and intercalated cells in urinary obstruction and kidney damage