The Genetic Origins and Complications of Urinary Tract Abnormalities


The Columbia University O’Brien Urology Center brings together research programs in Human Genetics and Mouse models to address the causes of congenital urinary tract malformations.


Bladder Development

Formation of the adult urinary bladder, showing smooth muscle actin expression (green) and uroplakin expression (red).


Urinary Tract Obstruction is a collection of abnormalities including Posterior Urethral Valves, Vesicoureteral Reflux and Hydronephrosis that are common birth defects in humans accounting for 20% chronic kidney failure in children. The origins of these congenital defects and the pathogenesis of their complications (such as recurrent urinary tract infections and kidney injury) are not well understood. This proposal aims for a multidisciplinary, collaborative approach to address this important problem in Pediatric Urology.

The scientific aims of our research are highly interconnected. We focus on identifying the genetic and embryological causes of obstruction and the related events that lead to renal disease, and sharing our findings with other researchers in the field of benign urology. We will accomplish these goals by providing research opportunities for students, fellows, and under-represented minorities; hosting seminars; internal research meetings, and an annual Symposium – all of which are aimed at attracting new researchers to the field and educating the next generation of clinician-scientists.

To find out more about our research and educational programs, or to share scientific findings, contact us.