1987 B.S. Life Sciences St. Xavier’s College University of Bombay, India
1991 M.S. Molecular Biology Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts
PhD: Molecular and Cellular Biology Graduate Program, Tulane Univ. School of Medicine, New Orleans, LA (1997)
Postdoctoral Fellow: Section of Pediatric Nephrology, Tulane Univ. School of Medicine, New Orleans, LA (1997-1999)
Dr. Saifudeen graduated with a B.S. in Life Sciences from St. Xavier’s College, University of Bombay in 1987. After earning an M.S. in Molecular Biology from Northeastern University in Boston, MA in 1991, she moved to New Orleans and enrolled in the Interdepartmental Molecular and Cellular Biology Graduate Program at Tulane SOM. In line with her interest in transcription and cancer, and under the mentorship of Dr. Melanie Ehrlich in the Department of Biochemistry, her Ph.D. dissertation was on transcriptional regulation by methylated DNA binding proteins. Upon graduation in 1997, she started her post-doctoral training with Dr. Samir El-Dahr in Tulane's Department of Pediatrics. Her research involved transcriptional regulation of kidney development. During her training period, she received and was supported by an NRSA (2001-2004), followed by a National Kidney Foundation Young Investigator Grant (2005-2007) and the American Society of Nephrology Career Development Award (Carl W. Gottschalk Research Scholar) (2006-2008). From 2007-2012, she received funding as a Junior Investigator from the Hypertension COBRE (Dr. Navar, P.I.; Dr. El-Dahr, mentor). She was promoted Associate Professor in 2015. As indicated by her publications, Dr. Saifudeen's research continues to focus on kidney development, specifically on p53-regulated signaling and metabolic pathways in nephron progenitor cell self-renewal. Dissecting the function of a potent tumor-suppressor such as p53 in a normal physiological setting rather than in a pathophysiological one is of considerable clinical significance not only to renal disease but to cancer as well.
Abnormal kidney development is the most common cause of kidney failure in infants and children. Available treatments include dialysis and transplantation, but no cure. Research in our lab is focused on understanding the basic mechanisms of kidney development, with emphasis on regulation of nephron progenitor cell renewal by energy metabolism and the transcription factor p53. Nephron abundance varies amongst individuals and populations, with demonstrated influence of genetics and maternal nutritional status on nephron number in humans. Impaired nephron progenitor cell renewal in embryogenesis results in fewer nephrons; low nephron number at birth is strongly associated with adult onset diseases such as hypertension and chronic kidney disease. We are using mouse models, kidney organ culture, primary cell culture, RNA-Seq, chromatin immunoprecipitation and metabolic profiling to characterize requirements for nephron stem cell renewal versus differentiation in vivo as well as at molecular and biochemical levels. How the metabolic status of the nephron stem cell switches the cellular program from self-renewal to nephrogenesis has potentially huge implications on the influence of the maternal environment on embryonic kidney development. The knowledge gained can be utilized to adjust maternal conditions for optimal nephrogenesis during fetal development and towards regenerative therapies.
Publications & Presentations
1. Liu J, Edgington-Giordano F, Dugas C, Abrams A, Katakam P, Satou R and Saifudeen Z. Regulation of Nephron Progenitor Cell Self-Renewal by Intermediary Metabolism. J Am Soc Nephrol. 2017 Jul 28. pii: ASN.2016111246. [Epub ahead of print]. PMID: 28754792
2. El-Dahr SS, Li Y, Liu J, Gutierrez E, Hering-Smith KS, Signoretti S, Pignon JC, Sinha S and Saifudeen Z. p63+ ureteric bud tip cells are progenitors of intercalated cells. JCI Insight. 2017 May 4; 2(9). PMID: 28469077
3. El-Dahr S, Hilliard S, Saifudeen Z. Regulation of kidney development by the Mdm2/Mdm4-p53 axis.. J Mol Cell Biol. 2017 Feb 1;9(1):26-33. PMID: 28096292
4. Saifudeen Z. Tissue-Specific Functions of p53 During Kidney Development. Results Probl Cell Differ. 2017;60:111-136. Review. PMID: 28409344
5. Li Y, Liu J, Li W, Brown A, Baddoo M, Li M, Carroll T, Oxburgh L, Feng Y and *Saifudeen Z. p53 Enables Metabolic Fitness and Self-Renewal of Nephron Progenitor Cells. Development, 2015 Apr 1; 142(7):1228-41. PMID: 25804735
PubMed listing for Zubaida Saifudeen