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 to further our understanding of disease, testing hypotheses in clinical studies, and pursuing promising therapeutics in clinical trials. His laboratory helped define the central role of the cytokine Transforming Growth Factor-b (TGF-b) in DKD and contributed to the development of a highly innovative anti-fibrotic approach that was tested in a clinical research trial under Dr. Sharma’s guidance. His group was also the first to describe the role of adiponectin in podocyte function and has been a major contributor to our understanding of the role of AMPK in DKD. 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 current clinical studies to pursue this hypothesis are underway under Dr. Sharma’s leadership.
Dr. Darshi is a biochemist with expertise in mitochondrial biology, mass spectrometry-based metabolomics, and cell and molecular biology working at the interface of basic research and translational research. She is involved in multiple inter-disciplinary projects focused on addressing the mechanisms of diabetic kidney disease and identifying biomarkers for the prediction of disease development and progression and the development of therapeutics. Her current research interests are to identify predictive and mechanistic biomarkers and signaling pathways for metabolic diseases mainly due to mitochondrial dysfunctions. She employs a multi-omics approach (metabolomics, mass-spectrometrimy imaging, lipidomics, proteomics) to identify protein and metabolite biomarkers and animal and cell culture models and human samples to further study mitochondrial structural and functional mechanisms using Seahorse extracellular flux analyzer and oroboros O2K.