Clinical Focus

  • Nephrology

Academic Appointments

Honors & Awards

  • Postdoctoral Fellowship, American Heart Association (1/1/2016-1/1/2018)
  • Tashia and John Morgridge Endowed Postdoctoral Fellow, Child Health Research Institute (7/1/2013-12/31/2015)

Professional Education

  • Fellowship:Stanford Hospital and ClinicsCA
  • Board Certification: Internal Medicine, American Board of Internal Medicine (2012)
  • Residency:Scripps Mercy Hospital (2012) CA
  • Internship:Scripps Mercy Hospital (2009) CA
  • Medical Education:University of California San Diego (2008) CA
  • Bachelor of Arts, Johns Hopkins University (2004)
  • Doctor of Medicine, University of California San Diego (2008)

Research & Scholarship

Current Research and Scholarly Interests

Diabetes and hypertension are among the most common diseases treated in the US. The combination of these disease greatly increased the risk of heart attack, stroke, and early death. While over 90% of patients with diabetes have high blood pressure, its cause is unknown. Working in the laboratory of Vivek Bhalla, I am interested in understanding the mechanisms that diabetes contributes to high blood pressure. We current are focused on the regulatory role of insulin on sodium reabsorption in the kidney, which is a master regulator of blood pressure. Using a mouse model of diabetes and transgenic technologies, we utliize classical metabolic experiments, expression, electrophysiological, and primary cell culture techniques to understand the role of insulin in regulating sodium transport in the kidney, blood volume in the body, and increased blood pressure in diabetes.

Lab Affiliations


Graduate and Fellowship Programs

  • Nephrology (Fellowship Program)


All Publications

  • Harvest and primary culture of the murine aldosterone-sensitive distal nephron. American journal of physiology. Renal physiology Labarca, M., Nizar, J. M., Walczak, E. M., Dong, W., Pao, A. C., Bhalla, V. 2015; 308 (11): F1306-15


    The aldosterone-sensitive distal nephron (ASDN) exhibits axial heterogeneity in structure and function from the distal convoluted tubule to the medullary collecting duct. Ion and water transport is primarily divided between the cortex and medulla of the ASDN, respectively. Transcellular transport in this segment is highly regulated in health and disease and is integrated across different cell types. We currently lack an inexpensive, high-yield, and tractable technique to harvest and culture cells for the study of gene expression and physiologic properties of mouse cortical ASDN. To address this need, we harvested tubules bound to Dolichos biflorus agglutinin (DBA) lectin-coated magnetic beads from kidney cortex and characterized these cell preparations. We determined that these cells are enriched for markers of distal convoluted tubule, connecting tubule, and cortical collecting duct, including principal and intercalated cells. In primary culture these cells develop polarized monolayers with high-resistance (1000-1500 Ω*cm(2)), and maintain expression and activity of key channels. These cells demonstrate an amiloride-sensitive short-circuit current that can be enhanced with aldosterone and maintain measurable potassium and anion secretion. Our method can be easily adopted to study the biology of the ASDN and to investigate phenotypic differences between wild-type and transgenic mouse models.

    View details for DOI 10.1152/ajprenal.00668.2014

    View details for PubMedID 25810438

  • Harvest and primary culture of the murine aldosterone-sensitive distal nephron AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PHYSIOLOGY-RENAL PHYSIOLOGY Labarca, M., Nizar, J. M., Walczak, E. M., Dong, W., Pao, A. C., Bhalla, V. 2015; 308 (11): F1306-F1315