Meet Dr Oded Volovelsky, fellow at the Wohl Institute and head of the kidney developmental lab and pediatric nephrology unit at Hadassah. Dr. Volovelsky treats kidney diseases in children and searches for their cure.

He has discovered a means of improving kidney development in the fetus during pregnancy. It turns out that premature babies are at a much higher risk of developing Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD). While current measures focus on the short term effects of prematurity,
no intervention has been proposed for the improvement of renal development in preterm infants. Dr Volovelsky’s research, published in 2018, could change this significantly by giving premature infants a better starting point.

"For years, researchers throughout the world investigated the reasons leading to kidney failure and tried to find solutions. Our research identified the protein that controls kidney development and how to manipulate this protein to prevent kidney disease for those born prematurely."

Over two million people around the world suffer from CKD and require dialysis or a kidney transplant, according to the National Kidney Foundation. Dr. Volovelsky and his team identified which of the body’s proteins need to be manipulated - information that will be critical in enabling drug companies to develop a way to improve kidney function in those born prematurely.