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Dr. Andrey Cybulsky

2023 Medal for Research Excellence
“Dr. Cybulsky's body of research is an essential resource for the exploration of new methods to tackle kidney disease. The Medal for Research Excellence provides us with a great opportunity to highlight significant achievement and a lifetime of commitment. Basic research is important to gain an overall understanding of kidney function and disease, and it adds to the building blocks on which the field improves the lives of patients through informing changes to clinical care. The Foundation remains committed to supporting all forms of kidney research and strives to help build excellence in the kidney field.” - Elizabeth Myles, National Executive Director, The Kidney Foundation of Canada.

As a clinician-scientist, Dr. Cybulsky has made significant discoveries about the biology of podocytes. These specialized cells support the structure and function of the kidney's glomeruli—filtration units in nephrons (the kidney's million tiny filters). Podocytes help regulate blood filtration and are the target of injury in glomerular diseases.

Much of his work has focused on the mechanisms of injury in glomerular diseases, and specifically how podocytes are injured. The goal is to understand better both the routes leading to injury and the processes activated to reduce injury or protect injured cells.

"Over the years, we have characterized several cellular pathways in podocytes," explains Dr. Cybulsky. "These have included protein kinases, stress pathways, and pathways involving lipid metabolism. We study how these pathways collectively maintain the functions of podocytes and how they are dysregulated in disease."

Supporting others early on in their careers is another of Dr. Cybulsky's priorities, and to date, he has mentored more than 50 graduate students and post-doctoral fellows, many of whom have won prestigious awards and gone on to build their own successful careers in nephrology basic science research.

In addition, through his publications, which include 90 original peer-reviewed articles and 30 review papers, as well as through his involvement in organizing international meetings such as the 12th International Podocyte Conference in 2018, he has contributed substantially to the sharing of knowledge in his field.