Fluorescent kidney histology
Image credit: Ryan Cornelius, PhD

Our research programs address fundamental questions related to kidney function in health and disease. We employ a variety of experimental model systems ranging from yeast to humans.

Our basic science faculty use a wide array of techniques, including molecular biology, genetics, biochemistry, and microscopy, to study the physiology of the kidney and the mechanistic bases of kidney disease and hypertension. Our clinical research faculty utilize varying epidemiologic and clinical research techniques to strengthen our knowledge of kidney disease. As a division, we aim to transform our findings into the improved treatment of renal diseases in collaboration with the Oregon Clinical and Translational Research Institute.

Basic Science Research

  • Genetic factors in systemic water balance and clinical disorders of water and electrolyte balance (Cohen Lab)
  • Role of COP9 signalosome in kidney disease and hypertension (Cornelius Lab)
  • Interactions between diet, genes, and aldosterone in causing and treating high blood pressure (Ellison Lab)
  • Causes and treatment of diuretic resistance and kidney tubule remodeling (Ellison Lab)
  • Role of proximal tubule megalin in rhabdomyolysis-induced acute kidney injury (Hutchens Lab)
  • Pathologic mechanisms of acute cardiorenal syndromes (Hutchens Lab)
  • Molecular regulation of sodium and potassium homeostasis (McCormick Lab)

Clinical Research

Glomerulonephritis and Renal Pathology

  • Oral steroids in IgA, NefIgArd randomized clinical trial (Rupali Avasare)
  • Glomerulonephritis clinical outcomes (Rupali Avasare)
  • Clinical-pathologic disease correlations in diabetic nephropathy, Trident Cohort Study (Rupali Avasare)
  • Renal pathology and clinical correlations (Nicole Andeen)

Transplant Medicine

  • Estimating GFR in kidney donors pre- and post-donation (Raghav Wusirika)


  • Quality improvement in dialysis outcomes (Pavan Chopra)
  • Depression associated with chronic dialysis (Pavan Chopra)
  • Development of multidisciplinary electronic care plans for chronic kidney disease (Pavan Chopra)
  • Off-target effects of anti-proteinuric therapy (Cohen Lab)
  • Streamlining care for thrombosed vascular access (Raghav Wusirika)


  • Renal denervation for hypertension, SPYRAL-ON randomized clinical trial (Jose Rueda and Rob Rope)
  • Kidney disease and hypertension in older adults (Jessica Weiss)
  • Development of clinical decision support tools in hypertension (Rob Rope)
  • Circadian rhythm and hypertension physiology (Rob Rope)


  • Pricing and availability of pharmaceuticals (Cohen Lab)
  • Million Veteran Program and All of Us Research Programs on genotype-phenotype investigations (Cohen Lab)

Ellison Lab

SGLT2 inhibitors, hemodynamics, and kidney protection

Ellison, D.H.

Distal convoluted tubule Cl - concentration is modulated via K + channels and transporters

Xiao-Tong Su, Nathan J Klett, Avika Sharma, Charles N Allen, Wen-Hui Wang, Chao-Ling Yang, David H Ellison

Renal COP9 Signalosome Deficiency Alters CUL3-KLHL3-WNK Signaling Pathway

Ryan J. Cornelius, Jinge Si, Catherina A. Cuevas, Jonathan W. Nelson, Brittany D.K. Gratreak, Ruggero Pardi, Chao-Ling Yang and David H. Ellison

Potassium (K+) intake modulates NCC activity via the K+ channel, Kir4.1

Ming-Xiao Wang, Catherina Cuevas Gallardo, Xiao-Tong Su, Peng Wu, ZhongXiuzi Gao, Dao-Hong Lin, James A. McCormick, Chao-Ling Yang, Wen-Hui Wang, and David H. Ellison

More from the Ellison Lab...

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McCormick Lab

Molecular Mechanisms of Renal Magnesium Reabsorption

David H Ellison, Yujiro Maeoka, James A McCormick

Roles of WNK4 and SPAK in K+-mediated dephosphorylation of the NaCl cotransporter

Anindit Mukherjee, Chao-Ling Yang, James A McCormick, Kevin Martz, Avika Sharma, David H Ellison

NaCl cotransporter activity and Mg 2+ handling by the distal convoluted tubule

Yujiro Maeoka, James A McCormick

Mg 2+ Restriction Downregulates NCC Through NEDD4-2 and Prevents Its Activation by Hypokalemia

Mohammed Z Ferdaus, Anindit Mukherjee, Jonathan W Nelson, Philip J Blatt, Lauren N Miller, Andrew S Terker, Olivier Staub, Dao-Hong Lin, James A McCormick

Cullin-Ring Ubiquitin Ligases in Kidney Health and Disease

Ryan J Cornelius, Mohammed Z Ferdaus, Jonathan W Nelson, James A McCormick

More from the McCormick Lab...

Clinical Publications

Potassium-Switch Signaling Pathway Dictates Acute Blood Pressure Response to Dietary Potassium 
Paul A. Welling, Robert Little, Lama Al-Qusairi, Eric Delpire, David Ellison, Robert Fenton, P. Richard Grimm

Characteristics and Outcomes of NELL1 Membranous Nephropathy in Lipoic Acid Users and Nonuser 
Rupali S. Avasare, Samantha Clark, Rebecca I. Spain, Raghav Wusirika, Robert Rope, Susan Gurley, Madison Stanaway, Miroslav Sekulic, Dominick Santoriello, Andrew S. Bomback, Pietro Canetta, Sitalakshmi J. Iyer

Empagliflozin in Heart Failure: Regional Nephron Sodium Handling Effects
Veena S Rao, Juan B Ivey-Miranda, Zachary L Cox, Julieta Moreno-Villagomez, Christopher Maulion, Lavanya Bellumkonda, John Chang, M Paul Field, Daniel R Wiederin, Javed Butler, Sean P Collins, Jeffrey M Turner, F Perry Wilson, Silvio E Inzucchi, Christopher S Wilcox, David H Ellison, Jeffrey M Testani

Legal Performance-enhancing Drugs Alter Course and Treatment of Rhabdomyolysis-induced Acute Kidney Injury
Jessica F Hebert, Mahaba B Eiwaz, Megan N Nickerson, Adam C Munhall, Akash A Pai, Tahnee Groat, Nicole K Andeen, Michael P Hutchens

Cullin 3 and Blood Pressure Regulation: Insights From Familial Hyperkalemic Hypertension
Yujiro Maeoka, Ryan J Cornelius, James A McCormick

Editorial: 30th anniversary of the molecular cloning and identification of the Na-Cl cotransporter, NCC
Paola de los Heros, 1 David H. Ellison, Gerardo Gamba

Targeted Transcriptional Analysis of IgA Vasculitis, IgA Nephropathy, and IgA-Dominant Infection-Related Glomerulonephritis Reveals Both Distinct and Overlapping Immune Signatures
Vanderlene L Kung, Rupali Avasare, Marcia A Friedman, Stephanie Mengden Koon, Tanaya L Neff, Sara Protzek, Christopher Corless, Victoria Krajbich, Naly Setthavongsack, Rebecca Ditmore, Randall Woltjer, Nicole K Andeen

Novel Antigens and Clinical Updates in Membranous Nephropathy
Rupali Avasare, Nicole Andeen, Laurence Beck

Non-Full House Membranous Lupus Nephritis Represents a Clinically Distinct Subset
Julia Ye, Nicole Croom, Megan L Troxell, Neeraja Kambham, Jonathan E Zuckerman, Nicole Andeen, Maria Dall'Era, Raymond Hsu, Vighnesh Walavalkar, Zoltan G Laszik, Anatoly Urisman

Modifying Dietary Sodium and Potassium Intake: An End to the 'Salt Wars'?
Robert Little, David H Ellison

Management of Lupus Nephritis: New Treatments and Updated Guidelines
Rupali Avasare, Yelena Drexler, Dawn J. Caster, Alla Mitrofanova, J. Ashley Jefferson

Sustained Response to Eculizumab in a Patient With COVID-19–Associated Acute Thrombotic Microangiopathy of the Allograft Kidney: A Case Report
Shehzad Rehman, Angelo de Mattos, Megan Stack, Douglas Norman, Sarah Zapata, Pei Li Wang, Abdul Hai Mansoor, Vanderlene Kung, Nicole K. Andeen

Home-Based Dialysis: A Primer for the Internist
Robert Rope, Eric Ryan, Eric D Weinhandl, Graham E Abra

Increased rates of supplement-associated oxalate nephropathy during COVID-19 pandemic
Peter Fong, Raghav Wusirika, Jose Rueda, Kalani L. Raphael, Shehzad Rehman, Megan Stack, Angelo de Mattos, Renu Gupta, Kendall Michels, Firas G. Khoury, Vanderlene Kung, Nicole K. Andeen

De novo thrombotic microangiopathy in two kidney transplant recipients from the same deceased donor: A case series
Daniel Roberts, Ingrid Siegman, Nicole Andeen, David Woodland, Thomas Deloughery, Jose Rueda, Ali Olyaei, Shehzad Rehman, Doug Norman, Joe Lockridge

Acute kidney injury in a patient with Monoclonal Gammopathy
Janie Luong, Nicole Andeen, Robert Rope, Rebecca Silbermann, Mazdak Khalighi, Rupali Avasare.

Nephrotoxicity of Select Rheumatologic Drugs 
Tyler Woodell, Rupali S. Avasare

The Clone Wars: Diagnosing and Treating Dysproteinemic Kidney Disease in the Modern Era
Rupali S Avasare, Nicole K Andeen, Andrea Havasi, Jonathan J Hogan

New onset diabetes after kidney transplantation in Asian Americans – Is there an increased risk?
Joseph B. Lockridge, Joseph B.Pryor, Megan N.Stack, Shehzad S.Rehman, Douglas J.Norman, Angelo M.DeMattos, Ali J.Olyaei

DNA J homolog subfamily B member 9 and other advances in fibrillary glomerulonephritis
Nicole K Andeen, Rupali S Avasare

Depression Screening Tools for Patients with Kidney Failure: A Systematic Review
Karli Kondo , Jennifer R Antick , Chelsea K Ayers, Devan Kansagara, Pavan Chopra

Abundant CD8+ Tumor Infiltrating Lymphocytes and beta-2-microglobulin Are Associated With Better Outcome and Response to interleukin-2 Therapy in Advanced Stage Clear Cell Renal Cell Carcinoma
Dale Davis, Maria S Tretiakova, Chris Kizzar, Randy Woltjer, Victoria Krajbich, Scott S Tykodi, Christian Lanciault, Nicole K Andeen

Enemy Action in the Distal Convoluted Tubule
David H. Ellison and Shih-Hua Lin

Global Health Training Opportunities in North American Nephrology Fellowships
Robert Rope, Jeffrey Perl, Shuchi Anand, International Society of Nephrology North American and Caribbean Regional Board

Mechanistic Insights Into Loop Diuretic Responsiveness in Heart Failure
David H Ellison

Collapsing Glomerulopathy in Older Adults
Benjamin Kukull, Rupali S Avasare, Kelly D Smith, Donald C Houghton, Megan L Troxell, Nicole K Andeen

When to Stop Eculizumab in Complement-Mediated Thrombotic Microangiopathies
Sven R Olson, Eric Lu, Emilio Sulpizio, Joseph J Shatzel, Jose F Rueda, Thomas G DeLoughery

Industry Payments to Physician Specialists Who Prescribe Repository Corticotropin
Daniel M. Hartung, PharmD, MPH; Kirbee Johnston, MPH; David M. Cohen, MD; Thuan Nguyen, MD, PhD; Atul Deodhar, MD; Dennis N. Bourdette, MD

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Mechanistic importance of reduced KLHL3 and CUL3 expression in CUL3-A9-mediated familial hyperkalemic hypertension

Mechanistic importance of reduced KLHL3 and CUL3 expression in CUL3-A9-mediated familial hyperkalemic hypertension

Recurrent Pneumothorax in a Marfanoid Adolescent with Autosomal Dominant Polycystic Kidney Disease

Recurrent Pneumothorax in a Marfanoid Adolescent with Autosomal Dominant Polycystic Kidney Disease

Effect of oral sodium bicarbonate on calcium-phosphate nephrolithiasis risk in chronic kidney disease.

Kalani Poster

Prolonged dietary potassium restriction increases NCC activity and DCT length to maintain electrolyte balance.

SU Kidney Week
Kidney Week 2020 Poster
Xiao-Tong Su, Turgay Saritas, Chao-Ling Yang, Paul Welling, and David H. Ellison

A novel, inducible, distal convoluted tubule (DCT)-specific, NaCl cotransporter (NCC)-driven Cre-recombinase mouse model.

2020 ASN
Click on the poster for more information.

Nrf2 Deletion Attenuates Kidney Injury Caused by Cullin Ring Ligase Dysfunction

Poster for ASN
Click on the poster for more information.

The Distal Convoluted Tubule Serves As a Potassium Switch In an intracellular Chloride Dependent Mechanism

XTS poster
Click on the poster for more information.

DNAJB9 protein accumulation in fibrillary glomerulonephritis is not due to local RNA upregulation

DNAJB9 protein poster

Dietary Mg2+ restriction downregulates NCC through a SPAK-independent pathway

 Dietary Mg2+ restriction downregulates NCC through a SPAK-independent pathway

Calcineurin in the distal convoluted tubule plays a key role in tacrolimus-induced hypomagnesemia and hypercalciuria

Tacolimus poster BDKG
Click on the poster for more information.
    • Degrees

      • B.A., 2007, Johns Hopkins University
      • M.D., 2012, Oregon Health & Science University
    • Areas of interest

      • Renal Pathology
      • Genitourinary pathology
      • Bone and soft tissue pathology
      • Surgical pathology
    • Degrees

      • B.S., 2005, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
      • M.D., 2009, New York University School of Medicine
    • Areas of interest

      • Glomerulonephritis clinical outcomes
    • Degrees

      • B.S., 1974, Stanford University
      • M.D., 1978, Rush Medical College
    • Additional associations

      • Program in Molecular and Cellular Biosciences, School of Medicine
    • Areas of interest

      • Translational medicine
      • Nephrology
    • Degrees

      • B.A., 1990, University of Mississippi
      • Ph.D., 1994, University of Mississippi
      • M.D., 1998, Washington University School of Medicine
    • Areas of interest

      • Chronic Kidney Disease
      • Diabetic Kidney Disease
      • Physiology
      • Pharmacology
      • Pathologic mechanisms of hypertensive and diabetic kidney disease
      • Sodium homeostasis in blood pressure regulation
    • Areas of interest

      • Cardiovascular Critical Care
      • Surgical Critical Care
      • Acute Cardiorenal Syndrome
      • Cardiac Arrest and Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation
      • Acute Kidney Injury to Chronic Kidney Disease Transition
      • Renal Physiology
    • Degrees

      • B.S., 1996, University of Edinburgh
      • Ph.D., 2000, University of Edinburgh
    • Additional associations

      • Program in Molecular and Cellular Biosciences, School of Medicine

Our department welcomes earnest students and researchers of all backgrounds in our mission to elucidate the mechanisms of disease in the human kidney. Openings in our lab are in a constant state of flux and depend on mentorship availability, commitment levels, and the nature of the projects we are focusing on. Please contact us for the most up-to-date information.

Student Volunteers

Undergraduate or recent grads are welcome to reach out about gaining laboratory experience as volunteers at any time to assist us in certain projects.

  • A background in biology and laboratory experience is preferred, but not required. 
  • Availability requirements depend on the nature of each individual project, but at least a 3 month commitment is preferred.
  • Ability to align with mentor schedules and be punctual is critical to success.
  • Research techniques to be mastered will likely include immunofluorescence of kidney tissue and Western blotting.
The OHSU School of Medicine has launched a new Ph.D. Program in Biomedical Sciences that provides a flexible and interdisciplinary training experience that prepares students to make significant contributions to biomedical research in diverse scientific careers. Listen to our students and faculty talk about the opportunities and experience at OHSU, then learn more here:

Lamfrom Biomedical Research Building

3215 SW Pavilion Loop
Portland, Oregon 97239