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Emmanuelle Cordat, PhD

Award: Amgen - KRESCENT Joint New Investigator Award
Institution: University of Alberta
Year: 2010-2013

Dr. Emmanuelle Cordat is a new investigator at the University of Alberta. She obtained her M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees from the Université Nice Sophia Antipolis (France) and completed post-doctoral training with Dr. Reinhart Reithmeier at the University of Toronto in 2007. Dr. Cordat’s research focuses on understanding distal renal tubular acidosis and preventing the formation of kidney stones.

The kidney is the body’s filter, ensuring all waste products are eliminated while retaining vital components. One of these vital molecules is bicarbonate, which must be retained to compensate for the acid produced while processing food. A specialized protein inside our kidney, the anion exchanger 1 (AE1), ensures that bicarbonate is pumped back into the blood. Some individuals are unable to properly retain bicarbonate because their AE1 bicarbonate pump is not working properly due to inherited mutations, and so bicarbonate is eliminated in the urine instead of being retained. As a result, those affected may produce kidney stones, may have difficulty to thrive, and may develop bone disease. For several years Dr. Cordat’s research has focused on this disease and great progress has been made to understand how it develops. She uses kidney cells to express these altered AE1 pumps and studies them to understand why they are not working properly. Once her team has a good understanding of why this malfunctioning pump is inducing the disease they will be able to look for tools to prevent it from developing.