Defining the Causes and Consequences of Nephrolithiasis

The O'Brien Urology Research Center investigates what we believe are critical unanswered questions in nephrolithiasis research. These questions are addressed through an integrated approach that includes translational imaging research to develop a noninvasive, in vivo diagnostic test to characterize kidney mineralization; basic science investigation of the molecular mechanisms oxalate transport; definition of the key urinary factors (electrolyte and proteomic) that drive formation of nascent renal stones; and epidemiologic and biochemical investigation of the relationship between nephrolithiasis and CKD in order to allow early identification of those at risk.

The overall goals of the O'Brien Urology Research lab are to define the pathogenesis of nephrolithiasis and develop new diagnostic techniques in order to improve treatment and prevention strategies.

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

  • Maximizing current imaging (CT) 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.
  • Defining nephrolithiasis-specific factors that increase the risk of CKD.
  • Defining the role of Slc26 family of cellular oxalate transporters, including SLC26a6, in determining final urinary oxalate concentrations.

Through our O'Brien Urology Research lab, existing clinical and basic science expertise in urology, nephrology, radiology, epidemiology, and cell biology work in synergy to foster rapid progress and generate new findings on all four fronts.