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I am interested in understanding kidney regeneration and development using zebrafish as a vertebrate model system. Kidney disease is a major health problem worldwide due to increasing rates of diabetes and hypertension, and current treatments (such as dialysis and kidney transplant) are not meeting the demand of patients. As such, there is an urgent need for an alternative stem cell/regenerative therapy for treating kidney disease. To this end, I have recently identified for the first time stem cells that are capable of regenerating new kidney tissue after transplantation into recipient fish with kidney failure (Diep et al., Nature, 2011). Projects in my lab focus on how these stem cells are regulated during regeneration and determining their role in development of the adult kidney. Understanding the mechanism that regulates these stem cells in zebrafish will provide an important first step towards developing a novel stem cell/regenerative therapy for treating kidney disease.