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Apply to become an RBK Collaborating Project | ATLAS-D2K Center

Apply to become an RBK Collaborating Project

Despite advances in kidney care and treatment, chronic kidney disease remains a major public health crisis. To address these challenges, the (Re)Building a Kidney consortium (RBK) was funded by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) with long-term goals of developing and implementing strategies for in vitro engineering of replacement kidney tissue and devising strategies to stimulate productive in vivo repair/regeneration of nephrons in situ to restore failing kidney function.

Specifically, the RBK seeks to accomplish the following:

Repair/regeneration in vivo:

  • Define innate mechanisms of productive kidney repair. Establish why these mechanisms are limited in adult humans and test whether these mechanisms can be manipulated to enhance innate productive repair and improve kidney function in models of kidney injuries or disease.
  • Develop an understanding of in vivo kidney regeneration and test novel ways to increase nephron number or nephron function. This could include cross-species studies to identify common principles. Evaluate the ability of these principles to restore kidney function in models of kidney injuries or diseases.
  • Identify pathways of endogenous repair/regeneration and use small molecules, proteins, modified cells and/or tissues to enhance pathways and improve function in models of kidney injury or disease

Build functional kidney tissue ex vivo for transplantation:

  • Engineer replacement tissue that replicates kidney function. Evaluate the ability of engineered tissue to integrate with the host and restore function in models of kidney injury or disease.
  • Generate specific renal cell types and test for cell engraftment or replacement of damaged kidney cells to improve function.
  • Generate functional structures using scaffolds (e.g., artificial scaffolds or decellularized organs) and differentiated cell types.

For the RBK to fully achieve the goals of restoring kidney function, collaboration with the broader research community is essential. As such, the RBK invites applications for Collaborating Projects, which are funded projects working in areas of high relevance to RBK and currently supported by other independent, non-RBK funding sources. Principal Investigators (PIs) of such projects may apply for integration of their project into the RBK consortium.

Successful Collaborating Projects are expected to be mutually beneficial and achieve common goals. The RBK provides an intellectual environment for diverse stakeholders who may not otherwise interact, pooling of information-based resources, sharing of ideas and information, and a consortium with unique skills sets. Applicants should describe how their “parent” project will benefit from being part of RBK and how RBK will benefit from partnering with the “parent” project. The PIs of Collaborating Projects will be closely engaged with the activities of the consortium and will have the same responsibilities, access to data and results as other RBK PIs. Investigators who are supported under Collaborating Projects are expected to adhere to the RBK Standards of Conduct, and the participating Institutions are expected to sign-on to the RBK Confidentiality and Nondisclosure Policy. Applications will be considered by the RBK Steering Committee (SC).

Eligible parent projects should be working in areas of relevance to RBK, have independent funding (examples of other significant funding sources include, but are not limited to, an NIH R01, RC2, DP2, or U01 award, or a VA MERIT award), and are expected to attend monthly Zoom SC meetings and would be expected to send representatives to attend at least one RBK semi-annual meeting each year in Bethesda, MD. Funds are available through the ATLAS Center to support junior investigators and trainees from the PIs’ labs to participate in face-to-face meetings.

Interested parties should fill out this form, which will submit the following information to Drs. Todd Valerius and Sanjay Jain, PIs of the ATLAS-D2K Center:

  • Name(s), addresses), and telephone number(s) of the PD(s) /PI(s)
  • Names of other key personnel
  • Participating institution(s)
  • Title of the funded research project
  • Abstract of the funded research project
  • Parent project period (i.e., project start and end dates documented in notice of grant award)
  • Provide a description of the parent project’s relevance to the goals of RBK.
  • How would the project/investigator benefit from interactions with the RBK PIs and conversely, how would RBK benefit from collaborating with the project/investigator?
  • Provide a letter from an Institutional official indicating willingness to sign the Consortium’s Confidentiality and Nondisclosure Policy and adhere to Standards of Conduct, including data sharing expectations.

Approved Projects To Date

  • Zhongwei Li, University of Southern California - “The Synthetic Kidney: A Revolutionary Solution for the Shortage of Kidneys for Transplantation”