The Kidney Foundation of Canada

Dr. Andrey Cybulsky

Dr. Andrey Cybulsky

McGill University Health Centre Research Institute, QC

Protein kinase SLK in the kidney

2018-2020:  $100,000 |  Biomedical Research Grants  |  Category: Glomerulonephritis

Lay Summary

The health of an organism largely depends on the accuracy of signals sent among constituent cells. Much of this information is transmitted inside cells through specific proteins called protein kinases. Activity of protein kinases contributes to the maintenance of normal cell structure and function, while disorders in protein kinase activation or function can contribute to disease. Diseases of the renal glomerulus, (the filtering unit of the kidney), especially those initiated by immunological processes, ("glomerulonephritis"), account for approximately half of the causes of chronic kidney disease in Canada.

Treatment of patients with kidney disease with dialysis and kidney transplantation has resulted in a dramatic improvement in the survival of patients, but at a large cost to the Canadian economy. Fundamental research into the disordered mechanisms that lead to glomerulonephritis is essential to the understanding of these diseases, an understanding that will ultimately lead to therapy and prevention. In this proposal we will study abnormalities in cellular pathways in the glomerulus involving a protein kinase called SLK, and how disordered regulation of SLK leads to kidney disease.

The proposed studies will use a tissue-culture system and animal models of glomerulonephritis to characterize abnormalities contributing to the cause of the disease. The elucidation of basic mechanisms of the causes of disease and testing of therapies in preclinical (animal) models is likely to be the most productive approach to the development of treatment strategies to human glomerulonephritis. The results of the proposed studies will eventually lead to improved strategies for therapies of kidney disorders.


Dr. Cybulsky is a clinician-scientist, and currently a Professor of Medicine and Director of Nephrology at the McGill University Health Centre, Montreal, Canada. He holds the Catherine McLaughlin Hakim Chair. Dr. Cybulsky obtained his MD degree at the University of Toronto and completed Nephrology clinical and research training at Boston University. He has been an active investigator at McGill University since 1988. Dr. Cybulsky’s research is directed at understanding mechanisms of renal cell injury. He employs experimental animal models, and molecular, biochemical and cell imaging approaches to elucidate the pathophysiology of human glomerular diseases, primarily those involving the podocyte. Dr. Cybulsky’s studies have characterized various mediators of podocyte injury, including the complement system, protein kinases, phospholipases and stress proteins. The ultimate goal of Dr. Cybulsky’s research is to comprehensively understand the pathophysiology of podocyte injury in order to develop diagnostic bioassays and mechanism-based therapies for human glomerular diseases.