The Model Systems Core within the Mayo Clinic Robert M. and Billie Kelley Pirnie Translational Polycystic Kidney Disease Center develops and makes available model systems and technologies for polycystic kidney disease (PKD) research. These technologies are used to evaluate potential therapies and determine the function of PKD proteins.

Model systems in the core include C. elegans, zebrafish and rodents. The Model Systems Core builds on existing Mayo Clinic expertise in these organisms, especially as in vivo models.

Core services

The Model System Core's PKD model systems and technology services are available to both Mayo Clinic researchers and external researchers.

  • C. elegans PKD-targeted services. C. elegans is a powerful model for characterizing the physiological roles of PKD genes in their native cellular environment. Five specific C. elegans-related services are offered. Learn more about the core's C. elegans services.
  • Zebrafish PKD-targeted services. The zebrafish is well established as a model system for studying PKD, and Mayo Clinic has an expanding group of faculty exploring the use of zebrafish for kidney development and disease research. Five zebrafish-focused services are offered. Learn more about the core's zebrafish services.
  • Rodent PKD-targeted services. Rodent models of PKD are ideal for testing promising therapies and for studying renal and extrarenal disease pathology. Four specific rodent-related services are offered. Learn more about the core's rodent services.
  • Pig PKD models. Pigs are well positioned for translational research because of their similarities to humans, including disease pathology and the size, physiology and anatomical features of the internal organs. Regulatory agencies around the world now require preclinical trial data from nonrodent species. We are actively developing pigs as a new PKD model to serve the PKD research community. An ongoing collaboration with the biotechnology company Recombinetics focuses on the use of gene editing methods to create autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD) and autosomal recessive polycystic kidney disease (ARPKD) pig models.
  • Preclinical trials requests. We have extensive expertise in conducting rodent preclinical trials and now offer services to help other researchers with their preclinical trials needs. Learn more about our preclinical trials services and how to request support.

Core director

The director of the Model Systems Core is Mayo Clinic researcher Jinghua Hu, Ph.D. Dr. Hu is an associate professor of biochemistry and molecular biology and an associate professor of medicine at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science in Rochester, Minnesota. Dr. Hu's research focuses on using various model organisms ranging from C. elegans to cultured mammalian cells and rodent models to study primary cilia, which are sensory organelles on the surface of most human cells, and to investigate the pathogenesis of human cilia-related diseases (ciliopathies), including autosomal dominant PKD.