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Oraly Sanchez-Ferras, PhD

Supervisor: Dr. Maxime Bouchard
Award: KRESCENT Fellowship
Institution: Goodman Cancer Research Center - McGill University
Year: 2015-2018

Dr. Oraly Sanchez-Ferras will pursue her post-doctoral fellowship under the supervision of Dr. Maxime Bouchard at the Goodman Cancer Research Center of McGill University in Montreal. Dr. Sanchez-Ferras seeks to better understand the genetics of CAKUT by studying the molecular pathways and forces that control morphogenesis of the nephric duct during embryonic development.

Congenital Anomalies of the Kidney and Urinary Tract (CAKUT) are amongst the most common congenital diseases and a leading cause of end-stage kidney disease in children. In spite of this clinical relevance there is still a poor understanding of the genes and molecular mechanisms involved in CAKUT. The Nephric Duct (ND) or Wolffian duct is a central component of the urogenital system. A failure of – or inappropriate timing in – ND formation, migration, guidance or insertion into the cloaca is a well-known cause of CAKUT. Dr. Sanchez-Ferras’s research will focus on studying the molecular and cellular mechanisms that control morphogenesis of the nephric duct and identify critical regulators of ND collective cell migration downstream of the transcription factor Gata3. Dr. Sanchez-Ferras uses a combination of murine genetics (particularly the CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing technology) as well as time lapse live imaging. With this strategy she expects to find potential therapeutic targets for CAKUT and better understand the genetic networks implicated in renal diseases.