Pluznick to Deliver BWIS Lecture on Thursday, 6/28: 'The "Sniffing" Kidney'

By Amber Aponte

Jennifer Pluznick

Jennifer Pluznick

Jennifer Pluznick, Associate Professor at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, will speak on “The Sniffing Kidney” at Brookhaven National Laboratory, in the Physics Large Conference Rm. (Bldg. 510), Thursday, June 28, at 4 p.m. as part of the Brookhaven Women in Science (BWIS) lecture series.

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The lecture is free and open to the public. Visitors age 16 and over must bring a photo ID.

Pluznick is interested in the idea that the chemical sensors our body uses for smell and taste, which are ‘classically’ found in the nose and tongue, are also found in the kidney and blood vessels, and that these individual sensors play functional roles in physiology. 

These sensors are chemical detectors, very well-developed to do their functions by evolution, and recent studies have shown that many other organs and tissues in the body take advantage of these receptors.  Pluznick is particularly interested in how the kidney – which is responsible for maintaining homeostasis, or balance, in the body – utilizes these receptors.

Since 2010, Pluznick and her lab at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine have researched the role of the olfactory signaling system. Most recently, they’ve found a possible connection between the bacteria in the gut and how the kidney manages blood pressure.

Pluznick received her Ph.D. in renal physiology from the University of Nebraska Medical Center in 2005. She then spent five years training as a postdoctoral fellow at Yale University where she studied both renal physiology and sensory biology systems. She is now an Associate Professor at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, where her research interests are focused on how the renal and cardiovascular systems employ G-protein coupled receptor "sensory" signaling pathways to monitor various substances in the plasma and forming urine, and thus aid in the maintenance of homeostasis.

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