Prof. Nina Jones at a microscope
Prof. Nina Jones

University of Guelph Prof. Nina Jones is available to discuss what is being learned about kidney disease and possible treatments on World Kidney Day, March 14.

Jones, with U of G’s Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, is the Canada Research Chair in Eukaryotic Cellular Signalling, and investigates what causes kidney cells to miscommunicate in kidney disease.

She has also studied the genetic causes of a serious kidney disease called congenital nephrotic syndrome (CNS), which develops during the first few months of life.

Babies diagnosed with CNS are unable to make critical proteins and typically progress to irreversible kidney failure. The only cure is a kidney transplant, and children usually require dialysis while they await donors.

Jones uses genome sequencing to learn about genetic mutations that lead to kidney disease, research that could lead to more personalized treatments.

According to the Kidney Foundation of Canada, about four million Canadians have some form of kidney disease. Many of them are unaware they are at risk, because the disease can progress without symptoms in the early stage.

With more Canadians developing kidney disease as they age, Jones hopes her work will lead to new treatments that can slow disease progression.

World Kidney Day is a global awareness campaign begun in 2006 to raise awareness of the importance of kidneys in overall health, and to reduce the frequency and impact of kidney disease and its associated health problems worldwide.