Dr. Sharma is an internationally renowned expert in kidney disease whose research has focused primarily on the pathogenesis of diabetic kidney disease (DKD). Dr. Sharma has consistently taken a translational approach to research, utilizing animal and cell culture models, testing hypotheses in clinical studies, and pursuing promising therapeutics in clinical trials. His laboratory helped define the central roles of the cytokine Transforming Growth Factor-b (TGF-b), adiponectin, and AMPK in DKD and contributed to the development of a anti-fibrotic treatment that was tested in a clinical research trial under Dr. Sharma’s guidance. In 2013 Dr. Sharma’s group published a paradigm-shifting paper on superoxides in DKD which highlighted the impact of altered cellular metabolism on the disease process. Recent studies with metabolomics have established a key role for mitochondrial dysfunction in DKD and have identified key metabolites whose levels are altered in DKD. These metabolites may serve as biomarkers for individuals at risk for developing DKD, and clinical studies to pursue this hypothesis are currently underway under Dr. Sharma’s leadership.
Dr. Sharma has explored the use of new technologies to push the limits of our knowledge of DKD throughout his career, developing expertise in phenotype analysis using imaging, molecular and biochemical methods, genomics, microarray, proteomics, lipidomics, and metabolomics. His lab is now a leader in utilizing a new technology called mass spec imaging to study the ways in which individual cells are using energy and functioning in different disease states.
Dr. Sharma’s research has consistently been supported by federal, private foundational, and investigator-initiated industry grants. He is currently the PI of several large multi-center and multi-PI awards in addition to single-investigator awards.