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Marko Skrtic, MD, PhD

Supervisor: Dr. Lisa Robinson
Award: KRESCENT Post-Doctoral Fellowship
Institution: Hospital for Sick Children
Year: 2019-2022

Study title: Pro-resolving mediators and Slit2-Robo pathway in acute kidney injury

Dr. Skrtic grew up in the industrial city of Hamilton. After undergraduate studies in Biology at McMaster University, he pursued the MD PhD program at the University of Toronto where he completed his PhD under the supervision of Dr. Aaron Schimmer studying mitochondrial biology in acute myeloid leukaemia. Afterwards, he completed internal medicine training at the University of Toronto, now followed by Nephrology fellowship at McMaster University. His research post-doctoral studies will be with Dr. Lisa Robinson at the Hospital for Sick Children studying inflammation in acute kidney injury.
Lay Summary
Acute kidney injury occurs in 4-10% of adults during hospital admission. Although scientific research over the past fifty years has learned more about the biology of this condition, a proven treatment is yet to be determined. The inflammatory response in the body is part of the immune system machinery in response to injury. Dr. Skrtic previously demonstrated that the Slit family of protein machinery is important in the immune system response to repair kidneys after injury. More recently, omega-3 derived fats in the body have been implicated in the inflammatory response. He proposes to further understand the impact of the Slit proteins in the body on omega-3 derived fats during the kidney injury response.
He will carry out experiments in different cells of the immune system and in mice models of kidney scarring to better understand the interaction of Slit proteins and omega-3 derived fats. The second goal is to test the use of Slit protein and omega-3 derived fat therapy for prevention of kidney injury. He will also use mouse models of kidney injury to study the combination of these two possible therapies. When the immune system is hyperactive during an injury response in the body, long-term scarring may occur. The resulting information will enable the planning of new early clinical studies in human patients with kidney injury.
The long term goal of this research is to improve the outcomes of patients with kidney injury. The body’s fat compounds have recently been recognized to be important parts of the immune system. This research may also potentially provide future insight into new therapies of acute kidney injury that are targeting the regulation of the body’s immune system.