Research in the Weimbs Laboratory is centered around two related areas of investigation:
Autosomal-dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD) is considered the most common life-threatening, monogenic inherited disease. ADPKD affects over 600,000 people in the US alone, is a leading cause of kidney failure, and also leads to significant cardiovascular complications. Currently, no treatment exists for this disease, and most patients require renal transplantation or life-long dialysis for survival. Research in the Weimbs Laboratory is aimed at understanding the molecular mechanisms that lead to renal cyst growth and disease progression, and to identify and test new strategies for therapy.
SNAREs and epithelial cell polarity: Most human cell types are "polarized", i.e. they exhibit asymmetry, which is essential to their function. This includes epithelial cells that make up most major human organs such as the kidney, liver, lungs, GI tract, exocrine glands etc. Carcinogenesis is accompanied by the progressive loss of epithelial cell polarity. Current research in the Weimbs lab is aimed at investigating novel signaling functions of so-called SNARE proteins which are essential for the establishment and maintenance of cell polarity.