Maria (Lourdes) Gonzalez Suarez, M.D., Ph.D., is a board-certified nephrologist with a doctorate in the field of immunology. She has a special focus in hypertension, women's kidney health and chronic kidney disease. The research interests of Dr. Gonzalez Suarez include the molecular mechanisms of preeclampsia and the association with complement pathways leading to severe clinical features of this disease.
Dr. Gonzalez Suarez also studies tubular injury biomarkers in preeclampsia and HELLP syndrome, a type of preeclampsia that causes hemolysis, elevated liver enzymes and low platelets. Her research interests also include pregnancy in patients with chronic kidney disease and hypertension in pregnancy.
Additional research involves the immunological mechanisms of hypertension, particularly the role of autoimmune antibodies in the development of elevated blood pressure, and their regulatory effects.
Dr. Gonzalez Suarez works in collaboration with Vesna D. Garovic, M.D., Ph.D.
- Tubular injury biomarkers in preeclampsia. Dr. Gonzalez Suarez collaborated in the study of renal proximal tubular urinary markers in patients with preeclampsia found to be present prior to the development of clinical manifestations of kidney injury.
- Autoantibodies against angiotensin II type 1 receptor (AT1R) in cardiovascular and kidney disease. With support of the National Institute of General Medicine Sciences and the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Gonzalez Suarez was awarded research funds by the Mississippi Center for Clinical and Translational Research at the University of Mississippi Medical Center for the study of AT1R autoantibodies in patients with end-stage kidney disease receiving dialysis. Higher levels of autoantibodies were protective against death and cardiovascular outcomes in this population.
- Dysregulation of the alternative complement pathway in preeclampsia. Dr. Gonzalez Suarez is a recipient of the Robert W. Fulk Career Development Award in Nephrology Research Honoring Fernando C. Fervenza, M.D., Ph.D. for the study of ravulizumab in patients with preeclampsia or HELLP syndrome or both. This therapy targets alternative complement activation, preventing ongoing vascular and end-organ damage and ultimately improving maternal, fetal and neonatal outcomes.
Significance to patient care
Severe preeclampsia and HELLP syndrome are leading causes of fetal and maternal morbidity and mortality worldwide. Currently, the only available therapy is delivery, which commonly occurs prior to term, resulting in poor maternal outcomes and fetal or neonatal complications due to prematurity. The goal of Dr. Gonzalez Suarez's research is to provide alternative disease-specific treatment strategies to improve outcomes of people with preeclampsia and their children.
- Clinical director, Chronic Kidney Disease, Mayo Clinic, 2021-present.
- Academic editor, PLOS One, 2018-present.
- Robert W. Fulk Career Development Award in Nephrology Research Honoring Fernando C. Fervenza, M.D., Ph.D., Mayo Clinic, 2022.
- Mississippi Center for Clinical and Translational Research, supported by the National Institute of General Medicine Sciences and National Institutes of Health, 2019.