Our faculty members conduct research through clinical investigation, clinical trials and laboratory studies. Clinical studies are performed through the departmental Research Resource Office. The following information details the faculty's interests in the areas of renal and nephrology research.
Mir Reza Bekheirnia, M.D.
Dr. Bekheirnia is a clinical and molecular geneticist who sees both pediatric and adult patients with inherited kidney disease. He has a specific clinical interest in diagnosis and management of the diseases and anomalies of the kidney and genitourinary tract (CAKUT). CAKUT is a leading cause of end stage renal disease (ESRD) in children, accounting for 50% of such cases in the pediatric population. The complications from CAKUT can continue into adulthood. Identification of new genes allows better diagnosis, prevention, and counseling of the patients. He also performs genetic studies involving novel genes associated with nephrotic syndrome, and hereditary nephropathy (Alport syndrome).
Michael C. Braun, M.D.
Dr. Braun’s research focuses on immune-mediated mechanism of renal injury. Using murine models of lupus nephritis and membranoproliferative glomerulonephritis (MPGN), his laboratory is investigating the mechanisms by which the complement system both initiates renal injury and alters the host adaptive immune response to glomerular damage. The current focus of this work is on the role of the receptors for the complement cleavage products C3a and C5a, as well as the effects of sub-lytic membrane attack complex deposition on renal parenchymal cell responses. Dr. Braun’s clinical research interests are in the areas of complement mediated glomerular diseases, MPGN in particular, and disease recurrence in renal allografts.
Eileen D. Brewer, M.D.
Dr. Brewer’s research focuses on clinical investigation of kidney diseases in children and adolescents and currently includes studies of fibroblastic growth factor 23 and dysfunctional mineral metabolism as potential cardiovascular risk factors in pediatric patients with end-stage renal disease. She participates as institutional principal investigator in national multi-center clinical investigations, such as the NIH-sponsored randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of antimicrobial prophylaxis in children with vesicoureteral reflux and urinary tract infection.
Ewa Elenberg, M.D.
Dr. Elenberg is a national expert in cystinosis; in 2009, she received a grant from the Cystinosis Research Network to study quality of life in patients with cystinosis. She is currently in the planning stage of a major study aimed at developing a better drug that will improve quality of life for patients with cystinosis.
Mini Michael, M.B.B.S., M.D.
Dr. Michael is involved in clinical research. She has expertise in performing systematic reviews, including a recent review of interventions for hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) and thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP). She studies pediatric renal transplant outcomes and has published on long-term dual immunosuppression at Texas Children's for the last 20 years in collaboration with Dr. Brewer. Dr. Michael is also a co-investigator for a midwest pediatric nephrology consortium (MWPNC) study involving atypical HUS (including the KidCOM registry of complemented mediated kidney diseases in children), as well as for a collaborative patient reported outcomes study in pediatric chronic kidney disease (SONG-Kids).
Rossana Malatesta Muncher, M.D.
Dr. Malatesta has a research interest in cardiovascular complications of children with chronic kidney disease, mainly during dialysis. She is a co-investigator for a midwest pediatric nephrology consortium (MWPNC) study involving sickle cell nephropathy and patient reported outcomes in dialysis (ASK-KIDD).
Poyyapakkam R. Srivaths, M.B.B.S., M.D.
Dr. Srivaths’ research focus is investigating cardiovascular morbidity associated with end-stage renal disease in children. He and his colleagues have completed a pilot project assessing prevalence and progression of cardiac calcifications in children receiving hemodialysis. He is expanding this research to assess cardiac calcifications in children receiving peritoneal dialysis and is also undertaking a project comparing calcifications and vascular compliance in children with end-stage renal disease.
Dr. Srivaths is the local principal investigator for the NIH funded CKiD study.
Sarah J. Swartz, M.D.
Dr. Schwartz is a co-investigator in the Children's Hospital Association Standardizing Care to Improve Outcomes in Pediatric ESRD (SCOPE) Collaborative, whose goal is to improve care and reduce infection rates in children on peritoneal and hemodialysis.
Scott C. Wenderfer, M.D., Ph.D.
Dedicated to training the next generation of basic scientists and physician-scientists, Dr. Wenderfer collaborates widely with other investigators in Houston and around the world. Projects his laboratory include quantitative fluorescence microscopy, immunology, and biochemistry studies, tissue culture studies, animal modeling, and translational investigations. Immune complexes of all types are characterized in vitro and in vivo. Primary cultures for each kidney cell types are studied for cell-specific responses. Mouse models of circulating immune complex kidney accumulation are used to validate findings in vivo. Funding for this research has been obtained from the NIH, the National Kidney Foundation, the Lupus Foundation of America and NephCure Foundation International. Dr. Wenderfer mentors students as faculty in Baylor College of Medicine's Immunology Graduate Program.
Dr. Wenderfer is the local principal investigator for Childhood Arthritis and Rheumatology Research Alliance (CARRA) and Pediatric Nephrology Research Consortium (PNRC) studies involving lupus nephritis, IgA nephropathy, nephrotic syndrome, and crescentic glomerulonephritis.