The Renal Research Group


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The Renal Research Group 

The Renal Research Group belongs to the Department of Clinical Medicine at UiB with strong links to the Renal Unit at Haukeland University Hospital (Helse Bergen). The group is an open forum for clinical and translational kidney research in Bergen, which was founded by Prof. Bjarne M. Iversen and is now directed by Prof. Hans-Peter Marti since 2013. Traditionally, the Renal Research Group has combined animal studies of disease mechanisms with epidemiological studies of risk factors of chronic kidney disease.

Six Senior Scientists belong to the group, including Prof. Hans-Peter Marti. Prof. Einar Svarstad and Camilla Tøndel, PhD, direct all clinical and histological Fabry studies together with Rannveig Skrunes, PhD; a separate report describes these activities. Prof. Bjørn E. Vikse at UiB and Helse Fonna (Haugesund Hospital), the winner of the Falch's Junior Award 2017 of our Faculty of Medicine, has a particular focus on epidemiology and on proteomics (e.g. IgA nephropathy). Associate Prof. Sabine Leh, the renal pathologist of the Norwegian Kidney Biopsy Registry (NKBR), is instrumental in all studies related to kidney histology, including automated image analysis. Associate Professor Rune Bjørneklett is well known expert on renal vasculitis. 

  1. The Core Group 

Within the Renal Research Group we have a core group under the direction of Hans-Peter Marti, as the principle investigator (PI). Postdoctoral fellow: Janka Babickova, PhD; PhD students: Øystein Eikrem, MD, Lea Landolt, MD, & Hassan Elsaid, MSc; technicians (former postdocs): Tarig Osman, PhD, & Jessica Furriol, PhD, and forskerlinje students: Philipp Straus, Even Koch, and Sigrid Nakken (application submitted). In addition, Miroslav Sekulic, MD, Pathology, Harvard University, Boston, USA, had joined our group during the first half of 2017 with a Fulbright scholarship. In 2018, we will welcome Anne Christina Kipp, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Basel, Switzerland, who will complete her master thesis in our group.

Methodologies: RRG members have extensive experience with key methodology of all ongoing projects, including the proposed PhD theses. Examples are clinical epidemiology, statistics & bioinformatics, investigation of renal histology by stereology & automated image analyses, laser capture microdissection of nephron compartments of renal biopsies, next generation sequencing of mRNA & miRNA, proteomics, CRISPR/Cas9 technology, cell culturing and interventional animal studies.

Laboratory infrastructure: Respective laboratory space including animal facilities and all necessary apparatus are available in our institution at the University of Bergen. They are either located in the Laboratory Building at Haukeland University Hospital (e.g. Renal Laboratory in the 7th floor) or in the adjacent Building for Basic Biological Research (BBB) of the Department of Biomedicine.

Funding: The studies of the core group are funded mainly through Helse Vest, three competitive international industry grants and the Research Council of Norway (BIA grant 245588 to our coillaborator BerGenBio, AS).

  1. Research Projects 

The core group of Hans-Peter Marti is involved in three main projects:

  1. Novel biomarkers and therapeutic targets in Fabry nephropathy and in membranous nephropathy
  2. Therapy of experimental renal fibrosis with Axl receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitors
  3. Prognostic markers and therapy of human and experimental clear cell renal cell carcinoma

We would be very happy indeed to welcome students from all over Norway to join these projects!

  1. Key Collaborative Institutions 

We foster an interdisciplinary, well-funded research environment that involves a spectrum of institutions in academia and industry.

The Norwegian Kidney Biopsy Registry (NKBR) at Helse Bergen:  NKBR provides samples with Fabry nephropathy and membranous nephropathy.

Department of Molecular Biology, Zebrafish Facility at UiB: Sîan Kristin Phillips, PhD, and Naouel Gharbi, PhD, for the establishment of a zebrafish model of renal fibrosis.

Department of Clinical Science, at UiB: Gunnar Houge for CRISPR/Cas9 studies, and Nicolas Delaleu, PhD, for bioinformatic analyses of RNA sequencing data.

Biomedicine at UiB: Nils Halberg, PhD, for CRISPR/Cas9 studies.

BerGenBio AS, Bergen: Gro Gausdal, PhD, and Jim Lorens, PhD, for renal fibrosis studies with Axl inhibitors.

Helse Stavanger: Terje Apeland, PhD, Nephrology, Stavanger University Hospital, for analyses of redox biomarkers.

University of Oslo (UiO): Trond Jenssen, PhD, Erik Hyerdahl Strøm, PhD, and Melinda Raki, PhD, from Rikshospitalet for Fabry nephropathy studies.

Fraunhofer-Institute, Germany: Holger Cynis, PhD, Fraunhofer-Institute for Cell Therapy and Immunology (IZI), Halle, Germany, for Fabry drug screening in vitro.

INSERM UMRS 702, University of Paris VI, Hôpital Tenon, Paris: Professor Pierre Ronco, for membranous nephropathy studies.

  1. Publications

Publications of the Renal Research Group are accessible through the following link: