Assistant Professor-in Residence
Department of Urology

Project Title: Elucidating the Role of Biofilm-Forming Bacteria in Nephrolithiasis

Gerard Wong PhD- UCLA
George O’Toole, Ph.D. -Dartmouth
Margaret Pearle MD Ph.D.- UT Southwestern
Paul Boutros Ph.D MBA- UCLA

Multidisciplinary expertise:
Renal and ureteral physiology, molecular biology,

Project Description: Kidney stone disease is an increasingly prevalent disease. However, its pathogenesis is still poorly understood. Recent publications have utilized next-generation sequencing to identify bacterial infestation in calcium stones despite no evidence of prior or concurrent urinary tract infection in those patients. We hypothesize that bacteria interact with calcium stones and that this interaction plays a key role in the propagation of kidney stones. We will test this hypothesis using three specific aims: 1) to investigate stone biofilm formation and 2) to investigate a role for surface sensing in the bacteria-kidney stone interaction and 3) to investigate how bacteria respond to urine-specific environments and kidney stone propagation using an in vitro three-dimensional kidney model. These aims will be accomplished by utilizing multiple imaging and complementary quantitative techniques, as well as single-cell analyses and molecular genetic techniques to investigate biofilm initiation.