** To do our part in mitigating the spread of COVID-19 and keeping our staff, supporters and community safe, MDI Biological Laboratory is hosting many public events, courses and conferences in a virtual format. Our top priority is the safety of our employees, supporters and community. We will be hosting this Science Café online.**
The topic of the MDI Science Café for Monday, July 26, 2021 will be “Apple Trees, Lungfish, and Desert Mice: The Treatment of Heart Failure and Chronic Kidney Disease.” It will be presented by Hermann Haller, M.D., President and Professor of MDI Biological Laboratory and Professor, Director, Department of Nephrology and Hypertension, Hannover Medical School.
Renal disease is a global health problem, with an estimated 37 million Americans living with chronic kidney disease. For a long time, treatment options were limited to dialysis or transplant, but the last few years have seen a major breakthrough with the discovery of a molecule which inhibits the glucose and sodium transport in the kidney. These SGLT-2 inhibitors have advanced treatment strategies more over the last two years than seen in the previous decade.
In large clinical trials, it was observed that these compounds, which act on the proximal tubule of the kidney, have dramatic effects on the survival of patients with chronic kidney disease. Not only that, but they also play a beneficial role in the treatment of patients with heart failure. The function of failing organs is greatly preserved and improved, and patients live significantly longer. Interestingly, our understanding of how these treatments worked on the heart and the kidneys lagged behind the significant clinical effects/outcomes. Only recently have we started to understand exactly how these drugs work, and novel concepts of heart failure and chronic kidney disease have evolved. Basic research, such as we do every day at MDIBL, has greatly contributed to our growing body of knowledge.
MDIBL has played no small role in this process. The concepts developed at MDIBL on kidney function in such diverse animals as the lungfish and the desert mouse makes the unexpected clinical effects of SGLT-inhibitors understandable. The almost century-old research MDIBL carried out on the function of the kidney investigated in desert mice and other animals living under extreme conditions contributed to our understanding of the effects of the novel drugs.
Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory’s contribution over the last hundred years is still pertinent today, and in this case has led to the revival of concepts initially developed and described at MDIBL for the first time. In this lecture, we will discuss the impact of the novel treatment strategy on human health and disease and show how the understanding of kidney and heart physiology has contributed to a new concept of preservation of heart and kidney function.
Dr. Hermann Haller directs the department of nephrology and hypertension at Hannover Medical School in Hanover, Germany. He holds an undergraduate degree in art history and a medical degree from the Free University of Berlin and was a postdoctoral research fellow at Yale University in New Haven, Conn. A long-time visiting scientist at MDIBL, Dr. Haller was named President in 2018.
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MDI Science Cafés are offered in fulfillment of the MDI Biological Laboratory’s mission to promote scientific literacy and increase public engagement with science. The popular events offer a chance to hear directly from speakers about trends in science.
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