About us

The overall objective for research in the Gurley lab is to understand pathogenesis of renal disease related to hypertension and diabetes, the leading causes of end-stage kidney failure in the US.  Our lab examines the function of specific genes in disease pathogenesis with an emphasis on cardiovascular, renal, and metabolic outcomes.  The long-term goal is to identify targets which can be used to prevent or treat kidney diseases of all types to reduce the costly burden of end-stage renal disease.

Gurley lab members

Susan Gurley, MD, PhD

Division Head, Nephrology and Hypertension; Associate Director, OHSU MD/PhD Program

Dr. Gurley joined OHSU in January 2018 as Division Head for Nephrology and Hypertension.  She is a nephrology physician-scientist who has enjoyed taking care of kidney patients and studying the field of kidney medicine for over 15 years.  She has clinical and research interests in diabetic and hypertensive kidney disease, the most common forms of CKD in the US.  Her approach includes educating the patient on the disease, reviewing treatment and prognosis, and viewing care as a team effort.


Jonathan Nelson, PhD

A native of the pacific northwest, Dr. Nelson attended the University of Washington for his undergraduate degree in Biochemistry before pursuing a PhD in Molecular and Medical Genetics at OHSU. Dr. Nelson has trained in multiple clinical departments including Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine, the Knight Cardiovascular Institute, and the Division of Hypertension and Perioperative Medicine. He has always had an interest in the intersection of vascular biology and medicine and is excited to steer the Gurley lab into new and exciting directions as an Instructor of Medicine. His research is currently funded by the National Institutes of Health, American Heart Association, and Collins Medical Trust.



Joshua Robertson

Josh has been at OHSU since 2007 and joined the Gurley lab in the spring of 2018. Josh manages the Gurley lab, maintains the animal colony, and leads animal studies and surgeries. Josh has lived in Oregon since 2007 and has a goldendoodle puppy named Tacoma that he likes to take on hikes and camping trips all around Oregon with his partner Chad.


Jackie Emathinger

Jackie is an MD/PhD student who joined the lab in summer 2019. She is currently investigating the protective role of ACE2 in acute kidney injury. Outside of the lab, Jackie devotes her time to reading, rowing on the Willamette river, and raising her puppy Willa (Tacoma’s little sister).