Robert A. Star, MD
As director of the Division of Kidney, Urologic, and Hematologic Diseases, Dr. Star is responsible for managing a research portfolio on basic, translational, and clinical studies of the kidney, urinary tract, and disorders of the blood and blood-forming organs. The Division supports research on important health problems, including chronic kidney disease, end-stage renal disease, diabetic nephropathy, acute kidney injury, urinary incontinence, urinary tract infections, urologic chronic pelvic pain syndromes, hematopoiesis, hemoglobin disorders, sickle cell disease, and iron deficiency. The Division provides researchers with resources that advance the study of the kidney, urinary tract, and blood—for example, databases, registries, repositories, and scientific tools. Dr. Star's responsibilities also include oversight of programs that support the training and career development of individuals committed to academic and clinical research in these areas.
As senior investigator and chief of the Renal Diagnostics and Therapeutics Unit, Dr. Star leads a team that studies sepsis and acute kidney injury (AKI)—both are associated with high rates of illness and death. The team focuses on identifying markers to detect and therapies to treat or prevent sepsis and AKI. The recent research findings include: models of sepsis and sepsis-AKI that better mimic human disease; how chronic kidney disease amplifies sepsis mortality and changes the mechanisms of sepsis; demonstrations of individual and combination agents that show promise for inhibiting sepsis and renal injury; and development of several imaging methods that could serve as noninvasive diagnostic tools to detect renal dysfunction.