U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Jeffrey Kopp
 

 Contact Info

 
Tel: 301-594-3403
Email: jeffreyk@mail.nih.gov
 

 Select Experience

 
  • Consulting NephrologistMark Hatfield Clinical Research Center, NIHPresent
  • Commissioned Officer (Captain) Active Member (Rapid Deployment Force Teams PHS 1)U.S. Public Health ServicePresent
  • Adjunct Professor of MedicineUniformed Services University of the Health SciencesPresent
  • Senior InvestigatorNIDDK, NIH1995-present
  • Medical Staff FellowNIH1987-1995
  • Complete Training in Internal Medicine and NephrologyUniversity of Washington1987
  • M.D.University of Pennsylvania Medical School1980
  • B.A.Harvard College1975
 

 Related Links

 
Specialties
  • Clinical Research
  • Genetics/Genomics
  • Health Disparities

Research in Plain Language

Our lab wants to translate the results from research on kidney diseases into medical practices for people who have these diseases.  We are studying causes and medical treatments for kidney diseases in which scarring occurs on parts of some of the glomeruli, the tissue structures in the kidney that filter unneeded and harmful substances out of the blood and into the urine.  This disease condition is called focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS).  Some highlights of what we have recently learned about FSGS include the following.

  • A gene for part of a protein exists that is used to maintain the structure inside of a cell.  A particular variant of this gene statistically accounts for nearly all of the increased risk that individuals of African descent have for both FSGS and for another disorder of the glomeruli that is associated with HIV infection.  Individuals with this risk gene variant are five times more likely to develop FSGS than individuals with other normally occurring variants of the gene.  They are seven times more likely (if HIV infected) to develop the other glomerular disorder.  Podocytes are the cells in the wall of the glomerulus that regulate what substances in the blood are filtered out.  We are testing the hypothesis that this risk gene variant makes the podocytes more fragile.  We are also trying to determine whether the scarring of the glomerulus (glomerulosclerosis) leads to high blood pressure or whether an existing tendency to have high blood pressure (essential hypertension) makes the fragile podocytes more susceptible to damage.  This can lead to the scarring of the glomeruli.
  • We are investigating whether the risk gene variant affects how well kidney transplants survive and whether kidney donors with the risk gene variant are more susceptible to glomerulosclerosis or to other signs of filtering problems, such as high levels of protein in the urine, after they donate.
  • We are studying people with HIV to determine how many have signs of glomerular filtering problems, what changes in the glomerular tissue are correlated with these problems, and whether the risk gene variant is a factor in how their kidneys function over time.
  • We are conducting clinical trials and working with other researchers to test several medications or combinations of medications for positive results in treating diseases of podocytes or, more generally, disorders of the glomeruli.
  • We also offer other researchers some of the specialized tools we have developed for conducting our research.  These tools include mice with specific alterations in their genes (transgenic mice), biomolecules produced by the immune system that bind very specifically to certain substances or cell parts (antibodies), and cultures of podocytes with specific inherited properties (podocyte cell lines).