Rannar Airik, Ph.D.

  • Assistant Professor of Pediatrics

Major Lectureships and Seminars

  • “The Nephronophthisis Gene Anks6 Regulates Glomerular Development,” UPMC Presbyterian Hospital Internal Medicine Grand Rounds, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine June 2017
  • Lecturer in the Integrative Systems Biology Graduate School course Model Systems (#2035), University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

Professional Affiliations/Society Memberships

  • American Society of Nephrology
  • American Society of Human Genetics

Study Sections

  • Kidney Research UK, ad hoc reviewer

Education & Training

  • PhD: Medical University of Hannover, Germany, Molecular Biology
  • Postdoctoral Researcher: University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, US
  • Instructor in Pediatrics: Boston Children’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School, Boston, US

Research Interests

Rannar Airik’s research focuses on deciphering the mechanisms of chronic kidney disease (CKD), using mouse models of a genetic form of childhood CKD, nephronophthisis (NPHP), an autosomal recessive chronic kidney disease, characterized by tubulointerstitial fibrosis, tubular basement membrane disruption, and kidney cysts. Renal fibrosis is the primary determinant of end-stage kidney disease. The pathomechanisms underlying NPHP are only poorly understood. Although NPHP has long been considered a “ciliopathy,” caused by a dysfunction in cilia, recent gene identification in humans has linked the pathogenesis of NPHP to defective DNA damage response signaling, resulting in genome instability and cell-cycle defects. To study the disease mechanisms of NPHP and to understand the cellular and molecular mechanisms of DNA damage response in the renal pathology of NPHP, Airik generated knock-out mouse models of the human condition. He employed primary and secondary cell-culture models of NPHP to interrogate the disease mechanisms. His research was supported by one NIH grant and several intramural funds.