About the USC/UKRO Kidney Research Center


The USC/UKRO Kidney Research Center (KRC) was named in Sept. 2012 with a gift pledge of $3.5 million from the University Kidney Research Organization (UKRO), a Los Angeles based philanthropic group. Remodeling of the top two stories of the Mudd Memorial Research Building occurred in 2015 through support from the Keck School of Medicine, thereby creating the 5,000+ sq. ft of research and office space comprising the KRC, which opened in September, 2015. The onboarding of the new KRC Director, Kenneth R. Hallows, MD, PhD, who is an internationally recognized nephrology physician-scientist, brought the center into operation. Since then, we have assembled a growing team of dedicated researchers, physician scientists, and administrative staff.

Welcome to the USC/UKRO Kidney Research Center

Since its opening, the KRC has been equipped with scientific and analytic equipment and expertise for state-of-the-art kidney research. A Leica SP8 multiphoton confocal microscope enables scientists and trainees to obtain intravital kidney images in 3D format in live animals. A Leica DMi8 fluorescence microscope with incubation system allows us to image cells while they are in culture, makes recording and observing cell growth, migration and other biological changes a reality. For molecular and cell biological research, the KRC has fully equipped cell culture rooms on both floors where we can perform BSL 2 or BSL 2+ experiments. We also have an animal procedure room and a room for electrophysiology experiments in addition to traditional lab space. Additional core resources include a LI-COR Odyssey Fc imager that can image Western blots (including In-cell Western) in either ECL or fluorescence format, protein gels stained with Coomassie Blue, DNA gels stained with Ethidium Bromide, SYBR® Safe, SYBR® Green I, and other popular DNA dyes. There is also a GE Typhoon FLA-7000 IP phosphorimager for quantitative analysis of phosphorylated protein samples. We have obtained a Seahorse XFp Analyzer extracellular flux analyzer to assess cellular functions such as oxidative phosphorylation, glycolysis, fatty acid oxidation, and the functions of mitochondria in cells or tissues. A three-module spectrophotometric multi-well plate reader provides us a handy platform to perform ELISA, cell viability, and enzyme kinetics assays. Various centrifuges, freezers, cryostat, other fluorescence and inverted phase contrast microscopes, PCR machines, electrophoresis equipment, vapor pressure osmometer, etc. are available. There is also substantial equipment for electrophysiological experiments and in vivo experiments.


The mission of the KRC is to: 1) conduct innovative bench, translational and clinical research aimed at elucidating the causes of and better treatments and cures for various forms of kidney disease, thus making positive impacts on the lives of those affected by kidney disease; 2) establish ongoing sources of revenue to support kidney research at the KRC and promote larger scale collaborations both within the USC community and throughout the U.S. and world; and 3) provide resources to train and educate future researchers and physicians in the fields of nephrology and hypertension.


KRC’s vision is to become a leading center for basic, translational, and clinical research into kidney diseases in the U.S that significantly contributes to advances that improve the health of people living with kidney disease.