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Northwestern University Welcomes New Faculty

Northwestern Nephrology is pleased to welcome Joo-Seop Park, PhD and Eunah Chung, PhD, to the Division of Nephrology and Hypertension.

The Park lab studies how stem/progenitor cells differentiate into specific cell types using the mouse kidney as a model system. The nephron, the functional unit of the kidney, is composed of at least 15 distinct cell types. Since all of the cell types found in the nephron originate from the common nephron progenitor cells, the mouse kidney serves as an excellent system to study cell fate decisions of stem/progenitor cells. We aim to (1) determine the roles of developmental signaling pathways (Wnt, Notch, Tgf/Bmp, Fgf, Hedgehog, and retinoic acid) in nephron formation, (2) identify transcription factors that define cell identities for each cell type found in the nephron, and (3) elucidate how these transcription factors coordinate with signaling pathways in gene regulatory networks. Understanding how multipotent nephron progenitors develop into different nephron segments will not only help build functional nephrons in vitro for potential cell/tissue replacement therapy but also provide insight into how cellular identities are maintained in healthy kidneys and disrupted in diseased or injured kidneys.

Park, PhD

Dr. Park is a graduate of Seoul National University where he studied Pharmacy and Biochemistry. He attended Cornell University, where he earned his PhD in Biochemistry and was a Postdoc at Havard University where he was mentored by Andrew P. McMahon, PhD.

Eunah Chung, PhD

Dr. Chung is a graduate of Seoul National University and Cornell University. After postdoctoral work at Harvard Medical School, she went on to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital to study the mechanisms of kidney development. She is currently Research Associate Professor in the Division of Nephrology and Hypertension at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, where she continues her investigation on kidney development and disease. In the mammalian kidney, mesenchymal nephron progenitors develop into the many different types of epithelial cells found in the nephron. Dr. Chung, working with Dr. Joo-Seop Park, focuses on how signaling pathways and gene expression control cell identity and kidney development.

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