Profile: Associate Scientist, Hospital for Sick Children
Department: Department of Paediatrics, University of Toronto
Dr. Kamath’s research focuses on inherited biliary disorders. Although these diseases are rare, her research is fundamental to understanding biliary disease mechanisms that has generalizability to other more common and complex bile duct diseases. Her research approach is translational encompassing patient-based studies and collaborations with basic scientist colleagues. Her primary interest is Alagille syndrome, a multi-system disease with cholestasis associated with bile duct paucity – her goals are to understand the phenotypic manifestations, genotype-phenotype relationships and natural history of Alagille syndrome. Recently she has established a collaboration with Dr. Gordon Keller and Dr. Anand Ghanekar to develop a highly innovative protocol to differentiate cholangiocytes from induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). The goal is to derive patient-derived cholangiocytes, which can be used to study disease mechanisms of developmental biliary disorders, for understanding complex biliary diseases and in the future for drug screening. They have generated exciting preliminary data with iPSC-derived wild-type biliary epithelial cells, which share many of the structural and functional characteristics of mature cholangiocytes. They are currently applying this differentiation protocol from iPSCs derived from patients with cystic fibrosis and Alagille syndrome.