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Stephen Parnell, Ph.D.

Stephen Parnell portrait
Research Associate Professor, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Professional Background

University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC, Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, 2001-2006
University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City KS, PKD Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow, 2006-2008
University of Kansas Medical Center, Research Assistant Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 2008-present

Education and Training
  • BS, Biology, University of Iowa
  • PhD, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Kansas Medical Center



Major Research Interest

Autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD) is a common genetic disorder affecting 1:400-1,000 individuals and leading to ~10% of all end-stage renal disease. The hallmark of ADPKD is the presence of many fluid-filled renal cysts. Proliferation and expansion of these cysts leads to the progressive loss of renal function, with roughly half of the disease population undergoing renal failure by the sixth decade of life.

Mutations in the PKD1 gene are responsible for ~85% of all cases of ADPKD. The product of the PKD1 gene, polycystin-1 (PC1) is a large, membrane associated protein that has been implicated in the regulation of a number of cellular pathways, including heterotrimeric G protein, nuclear factor of activated T-cells (NFAT), AP-1, b-catenin, mTOR, and intracellular calcium signaling However, the mechanism(s) by which PC1 is able to control such diverse signaling events remains unclear.

My laboratory utilizes biochemical and molecular biological approaches to elucidate the mechanisms of PC1-mediated signal transduction. Understanding the molecular function of PC1 will provide fundamental insights into the pathogenic pathways associated with ADPKD.