Overview

Graph showing renal function with PKD over time

The Mayo Clinic Robert M. and Billie Kelley Pirnie Translational Polycystic Kidney Disease Center focuses on translating basic scientific findings into new and better treatments.

In the past two decades, researchers at Mayo Clinic and around the world have made great strides in understanding the fundamental genetic and biological mechanisms that contribute to the etiology and pathogenesis of polycystic kidney disease (PKD).

The Mayo Clinic Pirnie Translational Polycystic Kidney Disease Center is adding to this rich history and forging new ground in PKD research.

The center and its cores concentrate on the type of PKD called autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD), which tends to affect adults. Core services focus on understanding the genetic basis of disease; monitoring disease progression more accurately and improving prognostics; and employing model systems to explore pathogenesis and conduct preclinical testing.

The center extends Mayo Clinic's strong tradition of PKD-related basic, translational and clinical research. Through the years, Mayo Clinic investigators have made many novel and important contributions to the understanding and characterization of polycystic kidney disease, and these findings have recently moved into preclinical and clinical trials. Read more about polycystic kidney disease.

Research in the Mayo Clinic Pirnie Translational Polycystic Kidney Disease Center is collaborative and multidisciplinary. PKD investigators work alongside Mayo Clinic clinicians and scientists with expertise in such fields as imaging, physiology, gastroenterology, molecular biology and genomics. This team approach means that promising therapies move more quickly from the lab through clinical trials and into clinical practice to benefit patients with PKD and related disorders.

Core services and resources

Three core facilities supported by the center provide both Mayo Clinic and external investigators with access to state-of-the-art technical resources and services:

Learn more about the center's core services.

The center's efforts are further enhanced by the availability of significant Mayo Clinic resources, including the Center for Clinical and Translational Science (CCaTS) and many institutional core resources.

Center directors

The director of the Mayo Clinic Pirnie Translational Polycystic Kidney Disease Center is Vicente E. Torres, M.D., Ph.D., and the associate director is Peter C. Harris, Ph.D.

  • Dr. Torres, a nephrologist, is a professor of medicine in the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science in Rochester, Minnesota. Dr. Torres focuses his research on improving treatment options for patients with PKD. He has published extensively on the epidemiology, phenotypic characterization, natural history and clinical management of PKD and related diseases and has contributed to the identification of responsible genes and the expression and function of encoded proteins.
  • Dr. Harris is a professor of biochemistry and molecular biology and a professor of medicine in the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science in Rochester, Minnesota. Dr. Harris is also principal investigator of the Polycystic Kidney Disease Laboratory, where he investigates molecular events associated with tubule formation with a focus on polycystic kidney disease and related conditions.

Learn more about center leadership and governance committees.