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  4. Peter Yuen, Ph.D.

Professional Experience

  • Research Fellow/Staff Scientist/Senior Associate Scientist, NIDDK, NIH, 2001-present
  • Visiting Scientist, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2000-2001
  • Assistant Professor, University of Tennessee, 1994-2001
  • HHMI Associate/Assistant Instructor, Vanderbilt University/University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, 1989-1994
  • Ph.D., University of Minnesota, 1989

Research Goal

We seek mechanism-based tools to identify, classify, treat, and monitor kidney disease.  Our short-term goal is to improve the quantity and quality of clinical trials.  Our long-term goal is to adjust therapies in individual patients to maximize efficacy and minimize toxicity.

Current Research

We leverage the synergy between pathophysiology, therapeutics, and biomarkers to advance our understanding of acute and chronic kidney disease.  We refine animal models to mimic disease characteristics identified in the clinic, especially by epidemiological studies.

Applying our Research

Kidney disease is a major health burden, costing billions of dollars annually and affecting hundreds of thousands of people.  Acute kidney injury is a major risk factor for death in hospitalized patients, especially those with sepsis.  Only one therapeutic has been approved in the last 30 years for sepsis (with or without kidney injury), but it was withdrawn from the market.

An estimated one in 15 adults has some form of chronic kidney disease.  Although we have several therapies available, many patients do not respond to any therapy. We need new therapies to treat these individuals, but they should be based on our understanding of the disease, which is incomplete.  Our work will help increase our understanding and may lead to better treatments.

Need for Further Study

Our current understanding of the series of events that drive chronic kidney disease and acute kidney injury comes from animal models, but their ability to predict how well therapies will work in human patients is limited.  In the animal models, we can get very detailed information about the disease that is not possible in patients.  Noninvasive biomarkers may be the simplest bridge between animal models and patients, and they need to be developed and validated extensively.  Recently, some nephrologists are increasing their use of kidney biopsies, which are a very rich source of information about kidney disease, as new DNA/RNA sequencing technologies can identify how complex changes are orchestrated at the resolution of a single cell.

Select Publications

BAM15 treats mouse sepsis and kidney injury, linking mortality, mitochondrial DNA, tubule damage, and neutrophils.
Tsuji N, Tsuji T, Yamashita T, Hayase N, Hu X, Yuen PS, Star RA.
J Clin Invest (2023 Apr 3) 133. Abstract/Full Text
The effect of continuous intravenous norepinephrine infusion on systemic hemodynamics in a telemetrically-monitored mouse model of sepsis.
Yamashita T, Street JM, Halasa BC, Naito Y, Tsuji T, Tsuji N, Hayase N, Yuen PST, Star RA.
PLoS One (2022) 17:e0271667. Abstract/Full Text
View More Publications

Research in Plain Language

Kidneys help clear toxins from the blood and help control blood pressure and your body’s response to infection and injury.  We study steps that cause kidney failure, a condition that can happen quickly or after a slow decline.  Kidney failure may be life-threatening itself, and can make many other diseases worse.

Last Reviewed October 2023