About the Center

The Mayo Clinic O'Brien Urology Research Center was initially funded from 2008-2013 as P50 DK 83007. The overall initial goal of the center was to define pathogenesis of nephrolithiasis and develop new diagnostic techniques to improve treatment and prevention strategies.

Since then, the Center has expanded and today uses an integrated approach to address many important research questions in nephrolithiasis.

Basic science research investigates the molecular mechanisms of oxalate transport and definition of the key urinary factors (electrolyte and proteomic) that drive formation of nascent renal stones. Translational imaging research is aimed at developing a noninvasive, in vivo diagnostic test to characterize kidney mineralization. Epidemiologic and biochemical research investigates the relationship between nephrolithiasis and chronic kidney disease (CKD) to allow early identification of those at risk.

We pursue these goals via interlinked multidisciplinary projects. Important and timely aims of the O'Brien Urology Research lab include:

  • Maximizing current CT imaging technology in order to differentiate stone type and detect the earliest possible precursor lesions in vivo
  • Determining the urinary risk factors that result in nephrolithiasis precursor lesions, including Randall's plaques
  • Determining risk factors for recurrent symptomatic stone events
  • Determining the utility of CT imaging for asymptomatic stone growth as a surrogate for symptomatic stone events
  • Defining stone-specific factors that increase the risk of CKD
  • Defining the role of the SLC26 family of cellular oxalate transporters, including SLC26a6, in determining final urinary oxalate concentrations