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Children’s Trust Grant for Startup Pediatric Research Awarded UPMC Children’s Pediatric Nephrologist Aiden W. Porter, MD

December 6, 2023

This article was written by and originally appeared on the UPMC Children’s Hospital Foundation website. It appears in modified format here.

Each spring, a group of hand-selected researchers pitch next generation, budding research concepts to members of the Children’s Trust for a chance at winning seed funding to help kickstart their research. Trust members collectively vote to award grants to projects that aim to improve pediatric health, giving them direct influence on the future of medicine. Members receive quarterly research updates, providing them a behind the scenes look at their philanthropic contributions in action.

The second-place grant recipient for the 2023 cycle was Aidan W. Porter, MD, assistant professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Pediatric Nephrology at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.

Dr. Porter’s research focuses on acute kidney injury (AKI). He has identified novel roles for proteins that regulate the Unfolded Protein Response, a system by which cells cope with environmental stressors, such as ischemia and toxic drugs. His research has implicated this system in the pathogenesis Dr. Porter conducts his work in the Brodsky Laboratory, led by Jeffrey L. Brodsky, PhD, the Avinoff Chair in Biological Sciences and Director of the Center for Protein Conformational Diseases at the University of Pittsburgh.

Specifically, Dr. Porter’s research involves the study of glucose-regulated protein 170 (GRP-170), a molecular chaperone that functions to regulate protein folding in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). Dr. Porter is examining GRP-170’s role in the epithelial cells of the nephron, which are critical to AKI onset. Using a unique mouse model, Dr. Porter hopes to gain insights into kidney diseases in children and to identify potential drugs to prevent or treat AKI.

Dr. Porter was awarded a $40,000 grant to support his research project, “Treating Cell Stress to Prevent Kidney Failure in Children.”

“I am honored to have been recognized by the donors to the Children’s Trust. I can’t wait to put the valuable resources to use to develop a treatment for kidney injury. I hope my work will one day lead to a clinical trial right here at UPMC Children’s.”

Learn more about Dr. Porter.