Additional Research Team Members

Xueping Fan MD, PhD

Instructor / Research Scientist

Dr. Fan received his PhD degree in Biology and MS degree in Pharmacology from McGill University in Canada. He completed his postdoctoral training in molecular biology and neuroscience in the University of Pennsylvania, Washington University, and Northwestern University in the US before joining the Renal Section at Boston University Medical Center. Dr. Fan is an outstanding molecular biologist, cell biologist, and protein biochemist. He has been involved in SLIT-ROBO signaling research and novel kidney therapeutics discovery and development for the past 15 years and is an expert on protein interaction and cell migration and adhesion.

Sudhir Kumar | School of Medicine
Sudhir Kumar PhD Instructor / Research Scientist

Dr. Kumar received his PhD degree in Genetics from Ludwig Maximilians University Munich in Germany and a MS degree in Veterinary Science and Animal Biotechnology from Chaudhary Charan Singh Haryana Agricultural University in Hisar India. He completed his postdoctoral training in mouse genetics and kidney development in Leibniz Institute for Age Research in Jena Germany and Boston University School of Medicine. Dr. Kumar is an expert on mouse genetics, gene expression, and animal models of human kidney disease.

Zhiyong U. Wang PhD

Instructor / Research Scientist

Dr. Wang has a PhD in Molecular Medicine and Pathology granted in 1990 by the Peking Union Medical College, Beijing, P. R. C.  He served as a post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine from 1995-1996 before becoming a Research Instructor in the BU Section of Nephrology in 1997.   Dr. Wang’s research interests focus on the role of ischemia-induced acute kidney failure (AKI), an important cause of patient morbidity and mortality. After renal ischemia, apoptosis, necrosis and perhaps, other forms of cell death such as necroptosis contribute to renal cell injury and organ failure. In the kidney, we show that nucleophosmin, (NPM) is an important cell death regulator by acting as a key Bax chaperone that causes mitochondrial injury and renal cell death during AKI.   His research focuses on post-translational changes that convert NPM to a cell toxin. Using mass spectrometry, he helped discover that only 5 phosphorylation changes are responsible for the toxic behaviors of NPM. He developed bioassays to measure the NPM functions known to render it toxic, and has generated tagged NPM phospho-mutant proteins required to determine the role of the differential phosphorylation changes that occur during ischemia. He developed both in vitro and in vivo models of experimental AKI to generate new diagnostics and therapeutics in the clinic, and has produced lead peptide that interferes with NPM function and successfully treats AKI.

Norifumi Hayashi MD, PhD

Postdoctoral Researcher / Visiting Scientist

Dr. Hayashi is a visiting researcher from Kanazawa Medical University in Japan who is studying novel pathways involved in the pathogenesis of membranous nephropathy.

Insa Marie Schmidt MD, MPH Postdoctoral Researcher

Dr. Schmidt received her M.D. degree from Hanover Medical School in Germany and her M.P.H. degree from Harvard University. She joined the Waikar lab in July 2019 as a postdoctoral researcher and has a broad range of interest in quantitative and qualitative clinical research. Her projects focus on associations of chronic kidney and cardiovascular disease, the development of novel biomarkers for prediction of adverse clinical events, and various aspects of clinical care including differences in medical values and practices and interpersonal aspects of patient care.

Clarissa Tio MD Research Fellow

Dr. Tio grew up in Manila, Philippines, and studied medicine at the Duke-National University of Singapore (Duke-NUS) Graduate Medical School. She completed her Internal Medicine residency training at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and Parkland Hospital, and subsequently joined the Combined Nephrology Program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital. She is interested in the roles of uric acid and oxalate in the progression of chronic kidney disease (CKD) and the renal handling of dietary oxalate in persons with CKD. In her free time, she enjoys eating, cooking, and learning Pilates, Barre, and Muay Thai. 

Ashish Verma MD Research Fellow

Dr. Verma studied medicine at the Stanley Medical College, Chennai. After moving to the US, he completed his internal medicine residency training at University of Tennessee and subsequently joined the nephrology fellowship program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital. He has a broad range of interests in clinical and translational research, with projects focusing on CKD phenotyping, mechanisms of CKD progression, renal physiology, cardiorenal syndrome, and acid-base and electrolyte disorders. In his free time, he enjoys watching movies, listening to music, reading and traveling.

Jian Liu MD Visiting Researcher, PhD. Candidate

Jing was born and has been living in China. She received her double bachelor degrees in clinical medicine and pediatrics from Chongqing Medical University. She is now a PhD candidate in the Nephrology Department of the West China School of Medicine, Sichuan University, after graduating with a master’s degree in internal medicine. She is now working as a research scholar in Sushrut Waikar’s laboratory at Boston Medical Center, supported by an 18-month Joint PhD Program from the China Scholarship Council. Her research fields include clinical epidemiological research and clinical data analysis. In my spare time, she enjoys music, cooking, playing badminton and traveling.

Mia Colona BS

Clinical Research Co-ordinator

Mia grew up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania before moving to Boston for college. She attended Boston University for her undergraduate degree, where she studied Human Physiology. Mia joined the Waikar Lab in 2017 as a research trainee and subsequently as a research coordinator in 2019. She is hoping to apply to medical school in the future. Outside of work, Mia enjoys baking, traveling, and running.

Aneesha Pydi BA

Medical Student

Ms. Pydi is a second year Medical Student in Boston University School of Medicine. She is a member of the prestigious Boston University 7 Year Liberal Arts / Medical Education Program. Aneesha is currently performing her medical student research project on kidney development and disease in Dr. Lu’s laboratory.

Rhianna DelBene

Undergraduate Student

Ms. DelBene is a rising senior, chemistry major, pre-med student in Boston University College of Arts & Sciences. Rhianna is currently conducting her summer research project on kidney fibrosis using single cell RNA sequencing technology in Dr. Lu’s lab as a part of Boston University Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP).