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Faculty headshot of Benjamin S. Freedman, PhD

Benjamin Freedman PhD

Associate Professor

Email: benof@uw.edu | Phone: 206.685.4653

Kidney disease is a major global health problem, affecting ~10 % of the U.S. population. Current treatments for kidney disease are limited and non-specific. Human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) present new opportunities for modeling kidney disease in the laboratory and developing therapies. Our laboratory has developed techniques to efficiently differentiate hPSCs into kidney organoids in a reproducible, multi-well format – a prototype ‘kidney-in-a-dish’. In addition, we have generated hPSC lines carrying naturally occurring or engineered mutations relevant to human kidney diseases, such as polycystic kidney disease and nephrotic syndrome. The goal of our research is to use these new tools to model human kidney disease and identify therapeutic approaches, including kidney regeneration. Current research projects include:

  • Bioengineering functional human kidney tubules from stem cells
  • Modeling polycystic kidney disease using human pluripotent stem cells
  • Podocyte differentiation and glomerular function
The kidney remains a new realm for hPSC research and there is fertile ground for advancing the state of clinical nephrology through the development of disease-specific treatments that inhibit early and late-stage pathophysiological processes. Our laboratory aims to accelerate the pace of this research and enable the translation of basic research findings into clinical diagnostics and therapies.