My lab has two major research foci:

1. The biology of epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), a key process underlying tissue fibrosis. Our goal is to understand how normal epithelial cells (particularly of the kidney) transform into matrix-producing (scar-forming) invasive and contractile myofibroblasts. Our major interest is to explore the cellular and molecular mechanisms whereby injury of the intercellular contacts leads to EMT. This basic research allows insight into fundamental mechanisms responsible for the pathogenesis of major disease entities such as kidney and lung fibrosis and liver cirrhosis.

2. Signaling in osmotic stress and cell volume regulation. Normal volume and water content is vital for every cell. We investigate how dehydration and the corresponding cell shrinkage initiate adaptive responses that include reinforcement of the cell structure (cytoskeleton), remodeling of organelles, activation of ion transport processes and osmosensitive genes. We examine how volume-dependent signaling results in adaptation and survival or, in severe cases, a programmed cell death. This basic research helps elucidate how cells cope with stress conditions, which occur in a variety of disease states, including diabetes, dehydration, trauma and heart failure.

Recent Publications

  1. Mukkala, AN, Jerkic, M, Khan, Z, Szaszi, K, Kapus, A, Rotstein, O et al.. Therapeutic Effects of Mesenchymal Stromal Cells Require Mitochondrial Transfer and Quality Control. Int J Mol Sci. 2023;24 (21):. doi: 10.3390/ijms242115788. PubMed PMID:37958771 PubMed Central PMC10647450.
  2. Kofler, M, Kapus, A. Nuclear Import and Export of YAP and TAZ. Cancers (Basel). 2023;15 (20):. doi: 10.3390/cancers15204956. PubMed PMID:37894323 PubMed Central PMC10605228.
  3. Guo, X, Khosraviani, N, Raju, S, Singh, J, Farahani, NZ, Abramian, M et al.. Endothelial ACKR1 is induced by neutrophil contact and down-regulated by secretion in extracellular vesicles. Front Immunol. 2023;14 :1181016. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2023.1181016. PubMed PMID:37153544 PubMed Central PMC10160463.
  4. Naraiah Mukkala, A, Petrut, R, Goldfarb, R, Leigh Beroncal, E, Ho Leung, C, Khan, Z et al.. Augmented Parkin-dependent mitophagy underlies the hepatoprotective effect of remote ischemic conditioning used prior to hemorrhagic shock. Mitochondrion. 2023;70 :20-30. doi: 10.1016/j.mito.2023.03.002. PubMed PMID:36906251 .
  5. Burger, D, Abdelrasoul, A, Alexander, RT, Ballermann, B, Bridgewater, D, Chan, JSD et al.. Advancing Discovery Research in Nephrology in Canada: A Conference Report From the 2021 Molecules and Mechanisms Mediating Kidney Health and Disease (M3K) Scientific Meeting and Investigator Summit. Can J Kidney Health Dis. 2022;9 :20543581221144824. doi: 10.1177/20543581221144824. PubMed PMID:36545249 PubMed Central PMC9761209.
  6. Ailenberg, M, Kapus, A, Leung, CH, Szaszi, K, Williams, P, diCiano-Oliveira, C et al.. ACTIVATION OF THE MITOCHONDRIAL ANTIVIRAL SIGNALING PROTEIN (MAVS) FOLLOWING LIVER ISCHEMIA/REPERFUSION AND ITS EFFECT ON INFLAMMATION AND INJURY. Shock. 2022;58 (1):78-89. doi: 10.1097/SHK.0000000000001949. PubMed PMID:35670454 PubMed Central PMC9415233.
  7. Wang, AY, Coelho, NM, Arora, PD, Wang, Y, Eymael, D, Ji, C et al.. DDR1 associates with TRPV4 in cell-matrix adhesions to enable calcium-regulated myosin activity and collagen compaction. J Cell Physiol. 2022;237 (5):2451-2468. doi: 10.1002/jcp.30696. PubMed PMID:35150133 .
  8. Ailenberg, M, Kapus, A, Rotstein, OD. Improved SARS-CoV-2 PCR detection and genotyping with double-bubble primers. Biotechniques. 2021;71 (6):587-597. doi: 10.2144/btn-2021-0063. PubMed PMID:34519222 PubMed Central PMC8544493.
  9. Speight, P, Rozycki, M, Venugopal, S, Szászi, K, Kofler, M, Kapus, A et al.. Myocardin-related transcription factor and serum response factor regulate cilium turnover by both transcriptional and local mechanisms. iScience. 2021;24 (7):102739. doi: 10.1016/j.isci.2021.102739. PubMed PMID:34278253 PubMed Central PMC8261663.
  10. Miranda, MZ, Lichner, Z, Szászi, K, Kapus, A. MRTF: Basic Biology and Role in Kidney Disease. Int J Mol Sci. 2021;22 (11):. doi: 10.3390/ijms22116040. PubMed PMID:34204945 PubMed Central PMC8199744.
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Affiliations & Other Activities

  • Scientist, Keenan Research Centre for Biomedical Science, St. Michael’s Hospital
  • Member of the Basic Science Committee, Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, St. Michael’s Hospital
  • Associate Vice Chair of Research, Department of Surgery, University of Toronto
  • Former grant review panel member, Kidney Foundation of Canada
  • Member, Banting Foundation Grant Panel
  • Member of the research committee, Department of Surgery
  • Regular Member, Institute of Medical Science (IMS), University of Toronto
  • Member of the Appointments Committee, Institute of Medical Science (IMS), University of Toronto
  • Course Coordinator: Cell Migration Course, Human Biology Program
  • Seminar leader (biochemistry for medical students)
  • Reviewer at several international journals including Amer. J. Physiol., Amer. J. Pathol., Amer. J. of Respiratory Cell and Mol. Biol., Biochem. J., J. Cell Science, EMBO J, Exp. Cell Research, FEBS letters, J. Biol. Chem., J. Leukocyte Biol., Oncogene, PNAS, Thrombosis and Hemostasis and others