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Current Members of the Research Team

Brian Becknell, MD/PhD. Dr. Becknell is currently an Assistant Professor in the Division of Pediatric Nephrology and Center for Clinical and Translational Research at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. His research focuses on understanding the roles of urothelium in children with congenital obstructive nephropathy and urinary tract infections. 
  1. Spencer JD, Jackson AR, Li B, Ching CB, Vonau M, Easterling RS, Schwaderer AL, McHugh KM, Becknell B. (2015) Expression and Significance of the HIP/PAP and RegIIIγ Antimicrobial Peptides during Mammalian Urinary Tract Infection. PLoS One. 10(12):e0144024. PMID: 26658437.
  2. Becknell B, Mohamed AZ, Li B, Wilhide ME, Ingraham SE. (2015) Urine Stasis Predisposes to Urinary Tract Infection by an Opportunistic Uropathogen in the Megabladder (Mgb) Mouse. PLoS One. 10(9):e0139077. PMID: 26401845.
  3. Becknell B, Eichler TE, Beceiro S, Li B, Easterling RS, Carpenter AR, James CL, McHugh KM, Hains DS, Partida-Sanchez S, Spencer JD. (2015) Ribonucleases 6 and 7 have antimicrobial function in the human and murine urinary tract. Kidney Int. 87(1):151-61. PMID: 25075772.


Christina B. Ching, MD. Dr. Ching is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Pediatric Urology and Center for Clinical and Translational Research at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Her research efforts focus on how the bladder urothelium responds to injury and how this could be used to help better heal or even prevent bladder injury in the future.
  1. Carpenter AR, Becknell B, Ching CB, Cuaresma EJ, Chen X, Hains DH, McHugh KM. Uroplakin 1b is Critical in Urinary Tract Development and Urothelial Differentiation and Homeostasis. Kidney Int 89(3): 612-624.
  2. Spencer JD, Jackson AR, Li B, Ching CB, Vonau M, Easterling RS, Schwaderer A, Kolls JK, McHugh KM, Becknell B. Expression and significance of the HIP/PAP and RegIIIγ antimicrobial peptides during mammalian urinary tract infection. PLoS One 10(12): e0144024
  3. Stephany HA, Strand DW, Ching CB, Tanaka ST, Milne GL, Cajaiba MM, Thomas JC, Pope JC 4th, Adams MC, Brock JW 3rd, Hayward SW, Matusik RJ, Clayton DB. Chronic Cyclic Bladder Over-distension Upregulates Hypoxia-Dependent Pathways. J Urol 190 (4 Suppl): 1603-1609, 2013.


Ashley Jackson, PhD. Dr. Jackson is a postdoctoral fellow in the Center for Clinical and Translational Research at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Her research efforts focus on understanding spatiotemporal patterns of urothelial development and identification of cell-type specific remodeling during injury repair. She is currently developing a diphtheria toxin-mediated, cell specific depletion model in mice to better understand the roles these cells may play in urothelial injury in humans. 
  1. Carpenter, A. R., McHugh, K. M. (2016). Role of renal urothelium in the development and progression of kidney disease. Pediatr Nephrol. doi: 10.1007/s00467-016-3385-6.
  2. Carpenter, A. R., Becknell, M. B., Ching, C. B., Cuaresma, E. J., Chen, X., Hains, D. S., & McHugh, K. M. (2016). Uroplakin 1b is critical in urinary tract development and urothelial differentiation and homeostasis. Kidney Int, 89(3), 612-624. doi: 10.1016/j.kint.2015.11.017.
  3. Becknell B.*, Carpenter, A. R.*, Allen, J. L., Wilhide, M. E., Ingraham, S. E., Hains, D. S., & McHugh, K. M. (2013). Molecular basis of renal adaptation in a murine model of congenital obstructive nephropathy. PLoS One, 8(9), e72762. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0072762.


Sheryl Justice, PhD. Dr. Justice is an Assistant Professor in the Center for Microbial Interface Biology at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Her research focuses on investigation of bacterial-host interactions that enhance bacterial persistence during infection. She is particularly interested in the role of bacterial morphological changes and the development of intracellular bacterial communities as mechanisms of innate immune evasion. The ultimate goal of the Justice laboratory is the rational design of novel diagnostic tools and therapeutic approaches for the detection and treatment of infection based upon mechanistic insight into the disease process. 
  1. Horvath DJ Jr., Patel AS, Mohamed A, Storm DW, Singh C, Li B, Zhang J, Koff SA, Jayanthi VR, Mason K and Justice S.S. (2016) Association of O-antigen serotype with the magnitude of initial systemic cytokine responses and persistence in the urinary tract. Journal of Bacteriology. Jan 198(6):964-972. PMID:26755631.
  2. Lucas EJ, Baxter C, Singh C, Mohamed AZ, Li B, Zhang J, Jayanthi VR, Koff SA, VanderBrink B and Justice S.S. (2016) Comparison of the microbiological milieu of patients using either hydrophilic or conventional PVC catheters for clean intermittent catheterization. Journal of Pediatric Urology. Feb 18. pii:S1477-5131(16)00036-X. doi: 10.1016/j.purol.2015-12-012. [Epub ahead of print]. PMID:26951923.
  3. Harrison A, Dubois LG, St. John-Williams L, Moseley MA, Hardison RL, Heimlich DR, Stoddard A, Kerschner JE, Justice S.S., Thompson JW, and Mason KM.  (2016) Comprehensive proteomic and metabolomics signatures of acute otitis media.  Molecular Cell Proteomics. Mar 15(3):1117-1138. PMID:26711468.


Samantha King, PhD. Dr. King is an Associate Professor in the Center for Microbial Interface Biology at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. The focus of her laboratory is to understand how pneumococcal modification of host carbohydrates contributes to the ability of the bacteria to cause disease. Dr. King’s work has direct relevance to elucidating the molecular mechanisms associated with UTIs.


Kirk M. McHugh, PhD. Dr. McHugh is Professor and Director of the Division of Anatomy at The Ohio State University and a senior member of the research team in the Center for Clinical and Translational Research at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. His research efforts focus on the urinary tract development and pathogenesis utilizing the megabladder mouse model of congenital obstructive chronic kidney disease. He has developed a novel model of renal adaptation that centers on the role of the renothelium to modify kidney development and disease progression.
  1. Singh, S., Robinson, M., Nahi, F., Coley, B., Robinson, M., Bates, C., Kornacker, K., McHugh, K.M. 2007 Identification of a Unique Transgenic Mouse Line that Develops Megabladder, Obstructive Uropathy, and Renal Dysfunction, Journal American Society of Nephrology, 18:461-471, PMID  17202422.
  2. McHugh, K.M. 2014 Megabladder Mouse Model of Congenital Obstructive Nephropathy: Genetic Etiology and Renal Adaptation, Invited Review, Pediatric Nephrology, Apr; 29(4):645-650, PMID 24276861.
  3. Carpenter, A. R., Becknell, B., Ching, C. B., Cuaresma, E. J., Chen X, Hains, D. H., McHugh K. M. 2016 Uroplakin 1b is Critical in Urinary Tract Development and Urothelial Differentiation and Homeostasis, Kidney International, March; 89: 612-624.


Andrew Schwaderer, MD. Dr. Schwaderer is an Associate Professor in the Division of Pediatric Nephrology and Center for Clinical and Translational Research at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. His research focuses on urinary stone disease as well as the role of genetic variation in antimicrobial genes in the development of UTIs.
  1. Hains DS, Chen X, Saxena V, Barr-Beare E, Flemming W, Easterling R, Becknell B, Schwartz GJ, Schwaderer A.L. Carbonic anhydrase 2 deficiency leads to increased pyelonephritis susceptibility. Am J Physiol Renal Physiol. 2014 Oct 1;307(7):F869-80. PMID: 25143453.
  2. Schwaderer A.L, Wang H, Kim S, Kline JM, Liang D, Brophy PD, McHugh KM, Tseng GC, Saxena V, Barr-Beare E, Pierce KR, Shaikh N, Manak JR, Cohen DM, Becknell B, Spencer JD, Baker PB, Yu CY, Hains DS. Polymorphisms in –Defensin encoding DEFA1A3 Associate with Urinary Tract Infections in Children with Vesicoureteral reflux. J Am Soc Nephrol. PMID: 26940096.
  3. Barr-Beare E, Saxena V, Hilt EE, Thomas-White K, Schober M, Li B, Becknell B, Hains DS, Wolfe AJ, Schwaderer A.L. The Interaction between Enterobacteriaceae and Calcium Oxalate Deposits. PLoS One. 2015 Oct 8;10(10) PMID: 26448465.


John David Spencer, MD. Dr. Spencer is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Pediatric Nephrology and Center for Clinical and Translational Research at NCH. His NIH-funded research focuses on defining the molecular mechanisms that regulate and prevent infections in the kidney and urinary tract, with an emphas is on the role that antimicrobial peptides play in maintaining sterility in the urinary tract.
  1. Eichler TE, Becknell B, Easterling RS, Ingraham SE, Cohen DM, Schwaderer AL, Hains DS, Li B, Cohen A, Metheny J, Tridandapani S, Spencer J.D. Insulin and the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase signaling pathway regulate Ribonuclease 7 expression in the human urinary tract. Kidney Int. 2016 Sep;90(3):568-79. doi:10.1016/j.kint.2016.04.025. Epub 2016 Jul 9. PubMed PMID: 27401534.
  2. Becknell B, Eichler TE, Beceiro S, Li B, Easterling RS, Carpenter AR, James CL, McHugh KM, Hains DS, Partida-Sanchez S, Spencer J.D. Ribonucleases 6 and 7 have antimicrobial function in the human and murine urinary tract. Kidney Int. 2015 Jan;87(1):151-61. doi: 10.1038/ki.2014.268. Epub 2014 Jul 30. PubMed PMID:25075772;PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4281292.
  3. Spencer J.D., Schwaderer AL, Wang H, Bartz J, Kline J, Eichler T, DeSouza KR,Sims-Lucas S, Baker P, Hains DS. Ribonuclease 7, an antimicrobial peptide upregulated during infection, contributes to microbial defense of the human urinary tract. Kidney Int. 2013 Apr;83(4):615-25. doi: 10.1038/ki.2012.410. Epub 2013 Jan 9. PubMed PMID: 23302724; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3612368.​
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