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Nir Hacohen, PhD

Director, Center for Cell Circuits and Center for Cancer Immunology

Broad Institute, Inc.

Distinguished Innovator Award (DIA)


Dissecting the Immune Landscape in Lupus Nephritis

About half of patients with lupus develop lupus nephritis, or lupus kidney disease. This complication is the leading cause of illness and death in patients with lupus. However, researchers don’t know which cells are injuring the kidneys. That’s what Dr. Hacohen’s project aims to determine. In a previous study, his lab analyzed the kidneys of patients with lupus kidney disease and discovered 21 types of immune cells, most of which are absent from healthy kidneys. With the Distinguished Innovator Award, they will extend this work and examine tissue biopsies from newly diagnosed patients to ascertain which of the 21 immune cell types are present in patients with the most or least severe kidney injury. This analysis will allow his team to determine which types are related to kidney damage, function, and response to therapy. The results will provide new targets for treatments, as well as new tools to predict whether patients will respond to treatment and to provide insight into their future kidney health.

What this study means for people with lupus:
Dr. Hacohen’s research seeks to determine which cells cause kidney damage in lupus. Identifying these cells could lead to new treatments that prevent this damage.


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