The kidney and the epididymis (a male reproductive organ) both contain epithelial cells. These cells line the inner surfaces of cavities—called lumen—and perform similar functions. Dr. Sylvie Breton, Canada Research Chair in Epithelial Dynamics of Kidney and Reproductive Organs, is trying to shed light on the role these cells play in kidney disease and male infertility.
Breton and her research team have already demonstrated that epithelial cells in the kidney and the epididymis can perform a variety of tasks, including mediating immunity and inflammation. Their goal is to fill the knowledge gaps when it comes to the non-traditional role of epithelial cells in order to improve the way male infertility and kidney disease are diagnosed and treated in the future.