Harvard's Opeyemi Olabisi, nephropathy investigator, commits to Duke

Monday, July 15, 2019

Opeyemi Olabisi, MD, PhD, a researcher at Massachusetts General Hospital who investigates the use of patient-stem cell-derived podocytes as tools for uncovering disease mechanisms of APOL1 nephropathy, will join the Duke Division of Nephrology and the Duke Molecular Physiology Institute later this year.

Myles Wolf, MD, MMSc, division chief, announced the recruitment, praising Dr. Olabisi's passion for translating basic research into prevention and innovative therapy for patients at risk for or suffering from chronic kidney disease.

"We are delighted that Ope accepted our offer to join the faculty at Duke to advance his research in the critically important area of APOL1 kidney disease, which is extremely common in our [patient] community," said Dr. Wolf. "We look forward to watching Ope’s career flourish at Duke."

Olabisi graduated summa cum laude from The City College of New York with a bachelor’s degree in Biology. He received his MD and PhD degrees in 2009 from Albert Einstein College of Medicine, where he studied the molecular regulation of the transcription factor, NFAT. He completed internal medicine residency at the Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School in 2012 and completed a fellowship in nephrology at the MGH and Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

At Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital, Olabisi performed postdoctoral research in the laboratory of Martin Pollak, investigating the molecular and cellular mechanisms of APOL1 risk alleles in mammalian cell lines and zebrafish. Olabisi and his colleagues provided early descriptions of the cytotoxic phenotypes of APOL1 risk alleles in these model systems.

"Nephrology's recruitment of Dr. Olabisi is an exciting reflection of the opportunities and priorities outlined in the Department's new research strategic plan," said Kathleen Cooney, MD, chair of the Department of Medicine. "His strong basic science focus, as well his desire to collaborate across disciplines, is just what we pledged to support."

[Medicine faculty and staff can find the 2019 research strategic plan here.]

Olabisi's research is funded by the prestigious Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development Award from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Outside of the lab, Olabisi enjoys cycling and playing basketball along with his 2 pre-teenage boys—who are big fans of Duke Blue Devil basketball.