Nephrology Research

The Division of Pediatric Nephrology is involved in many ongoing clinical research projects, particularly in the sub-specialties of hypertension, CKD, dialysis, and transplantation.

The Houston Pediatric and Adolescent Hypertension Program (HPAHP) conduct blood pressure screenings in area schools to determine the prevalence of pediatric high blood pressure in the general community. HPAHP was established in 1999 with the goal to evaluate children of all ages for abnormal blood pressure in a committed outpatient setting. To date, over 20,000 school children have been screened for increased cardiovascular risk due to hypertension and more than 700 children with hypertension have been identified through this mechanism. Through these screens along with our referral population we have performed over 4,000 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure monitorings in children. Our proven experience with screening for cardiovascular dysfunction due to hypertension in children and our location in a diverse, metropolitan city gives our program the unique skills needed to identify cardiovascular risks in children as early as possible.

McGovern Medical School is home to the ambulatory blood pressure monitoring coordinating center for the national, NIH funded, multi-site study Chronic Kidney Disease in Children (CKiD). The CKiD study longitudinally follows children with chronic kidney disease for up to 10 years to assess and monitor changes in the ongoing mental and physical health of growing children and adolescents with chronic kidney disease. In addition, McGovern Medical School is one of the 50+ sites in the study that recruits patients to take part in the longitudinal CKiD study.

HPAHP has developed simplified blood pressure percentile charts similar to growth charts to ease the identification of abnormal blood pressure in children.

Current ongoing research studies

  • Longitudinal study to monitor the mental and physical health of growing children with chronic kidney disease (CKiD study), funded by NIH, PI Joshua Samuels, MD, MPH
  • Prospective study to assess executive function in children with primary hypertension, funded by NIH, PI Joshua Samuels, MD, MPH
  • SHIP-AHOY study to examine hypertensive cardiovascular injury that emerges at an early phase of primary hypertension, funded by NIH, PI Joshua Samuels, MD, MPH
  • Studying novel approaches to individualizing the choice of pharmacologic therapy for children with hypertension, funded by NIH/CTSA K award, PI Joyce Samuel, MD, MS
  • Developmental studies in Xenopus (frog) embryos to determine how Wnt/ Planar Cell Polarity signaling regulates nephrogenesis and ciliogenesis, funded by NIH K-award, PI Rachel K. Miller, PhD
  • Alexion patient registry for atypical HUS, PI Rita Swinford, MD