Development and disease of the renal tract


RENALTRACT - Development and disease of the renal tract


RENALTRACT is a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network (ITN) funded by the European Commission Horizon2020 programme (grant agreement: 642937) to advance the understanding of development and physiology of the renal tract, to unravel the nature of disease-causing mechanisms of this organ systems and establish therapeutic options. The project will run for 4 years from June 2015. It brings together leading European research groups in the field and partners from companies that aim to commercialise corresponding tools. RENALTRACT follows an interdisciplinary approach where experts and technologies of the physical sciences (e.g. imaging technologies), chemistry, biological sciences, systems biology and clinicians work in concert.

Main objectives are:

  • Identify the genetic, epigenetic and regulatory networks guiding normal development and differentiation of the renal tract, using state-of-the-art non-human model systems.
  • Conduct high-throughput screening to molecularly dissect and understand the development of the renal tract.
  • Discover and validate translational biomarkers by developing and studying different animal models.

RENALTRACT will recruit 12 Early stage researchers (ESR) to provide them an interdisciplinary training to study renal development, function and disease consisting of individual biomedical research projects, methodological courses, network-wide training events, interaction with researchers and transferable skill courses.

Within RENALTRACT, DITABIS and the University Children's Hospital, Heidelberg (Prof. Franz Schäfer, Dr. Jens Westhoff) will jointly develop a high-content screening pipeline to perform drug screening in a zebrafish disease model of cystic kidney disease for search of disease-modulating substances. The screening pipeline will involve large-scale drug treatment of zebrafish larvae, automated imaging of specimen using the ACQUIFER Imaging Machine and the development of large-scale image data processing. We aim to identify new drugable compounds with a beneficial effect on cyst development and progression. Finally, we will establish a high content screening pipeline using ACQUIFER imaging technology applicable in a multitude of large-scale biomedical projects.

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