We use cutting-edge techniques to discover cures for kidney disease

mouse models

We culture mouse embryonic stem cells and perform gene targeting by using Crispr/Cas9 and HDR. Our experience with genome modification allows us to generate unique models to interrogate disease models with precision.

Gene Editing

Crispr-Cas9 based gene editing offers genome editing with unparalleled specificity and speed. All trainees learn this technology which we apply in cell lines and stem cells.

Stem Cell Biology

The ability to generate patient-specific pluripotent stem cells gives hope that we can grow replacement kidneys ‘in a dish’ that can someday be used in transplantation. Understanding the potential of kidney organoids is a major focus.


We are leveraging single cell RNA-seq approaches including DropSeq, sNucDropSeq, InDrops and FACS-Seq to generate transcriptional atlases of kidney organoids and adult kidney in health and during the course of disease.

Watch the Lab Grow

The Lab

Our mission: To develop new cures for human kidney disease

Working together to cure kidney disease
Over 100,000 people per year develop kidney failure in the US and most are treated with dialysis therapy. While life-saving, this procedure is costly, inconvenient and accelerates heart disease.

An average dialysis patient has a 1 in 5 chance of dying every year. Paying for dialysis costs 7 percent of the entire Medicare budget, even though these patients make up only 1 percent of the Medicare population.

In The Humphreys Lab we are developing new and innovative treatments to help patients with kidney disease. We are using human stem cells to generate kidney organoids in a dish, with a goal of one day transplanting them into patients with kidney failure. We also study the kidney’s ability to regenerate itself so that we can harness this ability for therapeutic uses.


Genetic mouse models


Gene Profiling

Our Team

Humphreys Lab Members at Washington University in St. Louis

Benjamin D. Humphreys MD, PhD

Principal Investigator

monica Chang-panesso MD

Assistant Professor of Medicine

Jeff Lai MD

Postdoctoral Fellow

Margaux Heritier

Masters Student

Yoshiharu Muto, MD

Postdoctoral Fellow

Yuhei Kirita ,MD

Postdoctoral Fellow

Sai Mukund Ramakrishnan


Erinn Donnelly

Research Technician I

Zhao Sun PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow

Kohei Uchimura PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow

Haojia Wu PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow

Ashima Chadha

Medical Student

Recent Work


We have identified Gli1 as a marker for resident mesenchymal stem cells across organs (Kidney, Heart, Lung, Liver, Bone Marrow). Using lineage analysis, we show that chronic injury drives these cells to proliferate and differentiate into scar-secreting myofibroblasts.

Cell Stem Cell

We are using CRISPR/Cas9 technology to edit the mammalian genome in iPS cells, mouse ES cells and cell lines. This review article summarizes the approaches we take.

J Am Soc Nephrol

Here we show that hedgehog-Gli pathway activation is required in kidney fibrosis, and targetting Gli proteins represent a novel therapeutic approach to slow progression in chronic kidney disease. Such drugs are in clinical development already to treat cancer, and could be repurposed.

J Clin Invest

Support Our Mission to Cure Kidney Failure

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