Last Name

Weining Lu, MD

TitleAssociate Professor
InstitutionBoston University School of Medicine
Address650 Albany St Evans Biomed Research Ctr
Boston MA 02118
Phone(617) 414-1770
ORCID ORCID Icon0000-0002-6570-3044
Other Positions
InstitutionBoston Medical Center

 Research Expertise & Professional Interests
The primary research interests in Dr. Lu’s laboratory focus on three scientific areas: 1. Molecular genetics of renal tract development and birth defects in the kidney and urinary tract; 2. Biological functions and disease mechanisms of the renal tract birth defect genes and their roles after birth in common kidney disease; 3. SLIT-ROBO signaling in kidney development and disease.

Congenital anomalies of the kidney and urinary tract (CAKUT) is a complex birth defect with a diverse phenotypic spectrum, including kidney anomalies (e.g. renal agenesis, multicystic dysplastic kidney (MCDK), renal cystic disease, hydronephrosis), and ureteric anomalies (e.g. vesicoureteral reflux (VUR), reflux nephropathy, and obstructive uropathy) (Ref 1, 2). CAKUT is a genetically heterogeneous disorder with an incidence of 1 in 100 infants and accounts for up to 50-60% of the diagnoses underlying chronic kidney disease among the 0 to 12-year age group. CAKUT is also the leading cause of chronic kidney disease and renal failure in children and may manifest as primary renal diseases in adults as increasing numbers of children with congenital or inherited renal tract birth defects are surviving to adulthood. Despite the high incidence of CAKUT in children with chronic kidney disease, the genetic and molecular bases of CAKUT remain largely unclear.

Dr. Lu’s translational research program has adopted combined human and mouse molecular genetics approaches to identify a number of developmental genes to the study of renal tract development and pathogenesis of CAKUT and chronic kidney disease. The first human molecular genetics approach is to study individuals with CAKUT and apparent genetic defects, with the aim of using gene mutations, genomic imbalances and chromosomal rearrangements as signposts to identify these critical genes (reverse genetics) (Ref 2). Thereafter, molecular identification and analysis of candidate genes as well as mutation studies in affected individuals with a familial pattern of CAKUT will be carried out (forward genetics) (Ref 2, 3). The second approach is to study temporal and spatial expression patterns of candidate genes in human and mouse. Meanwhile, knockout and transgenic mouse models of candidate genes will be studied to elucidate more fully their roles in kidney and urinary tract development and disease (Ref 4-6). Once these candidate genes (e.g. SLIT2, ROBO2, ZEB2) have been identified, a multidisciplinary approach will be taken to gain further mechanistic insights in vivo and in vitro on the role of these genes in normal and abnormal developmental processes of the kidney and urinary tract, and on the pathogenesis of CAKUT and chronic kidney disease (Ref 4-6). This multidisciplinary approach includes the application of human and mouse genetics, developmental biology, biochemistry, molecular biology, pathology, pharmacology, and experimental therapeutics. The goal is to provide new knowledge of disease mechanisms underlying developmental antecedents of renal tract disorder and chronic kidney disease, which may lead to discoveries of novel drug targets and therapeutics for patients with chronic kidney disease (Ref 6).

Current research activities in Dr. Lu’s lab include (1) Role of SLIT2-ROBO2 signaling in renal tract development and disease, podocyte biology and injury; (2) Discovery of novel causative and susceptibility genes (e.g. ROBO2, ZEB2) for renal tract birth defects in children with chronic kidney disease; (3) Identify novel drug targets and therapeutics for patients with chronic kidney disease. Dr. Lu’s research program is supported by grants from the National Institute of Health (NIH), March of Dimes Foundation, Pfizer Centers for Therapeutic Innovation, and Massachusetts Life Sciences Center.


(1). Lu W, Bush KT, Nigam SK. Regulation of ureteric bud outgrowth and the consequences of disrupted development. In Kidney Development, Disease, Repair and Regeneration (ed. Little MH), Pages 209-227 (Elsevier, 2016) (
(2). Lu W, van Eerde AM, Fan X, et al. Disruption of ROBO2 is associated with urinary tract anomalies and confers risk of vesicoureteral reflux. Am J Hum Genet 2007; 80:616-632. PMID: 17357069 (
(3) Hwang DY, Kohl S, Fan X, et al. Mutations of the SLIT2-ROBO2 pathway genes SLIT2 and SRGAP1 Confer Risk for Congenital Anomalies of the Kidney and Urinary Tract. Hum Genet 2015; 134(8):905-916; PMID: 26026792 (
(4). Fan X, Li Q, Pisarek-Horowitz A, et al. Inhibitory effects of Robo2 on nephrin: a crosstalk between positive and negative signals regulating podocyte structure. Cell Reports 2012; 2:52-61. PMID: 22840396 (
(5). Rasouly HM, Kumar S, Chen S, et al. Loss of Zeb2 in mesenchyme-derived nephrons causes primary glomerulocystic kidney disease. Kidney Int 2016; Aug 30. PMID: 27591083 (
(6) Fan X, Yang H, Kumar S, et al. SLIT2/ROBO2 signaling pathway inhibits nonmuscle myosin IIA activity and destabilizes kidney podocyte adhesion. JCI Insight 2016, Nov 17; 1(19):e86934. PMID: 27882344 (


Xueping Fan (PhD, McGill University), Instructor in Medicine, 617-414-1772,

Sudhir Kumar (DVM, Ludwig Maximilians University Munich), Postdoc, 617-638-7353,

Richa Sharma (PhD, SGPGIMS Medical Institute in Lucknow), Postdoc, 617-414-2298,


Anna Pisarek-Horowitz (PhD, Graduate Program in Molecular Translational Medicine, Graduate Medical Sciences, Boston University School of Medicine).

Hila Milo Rasouly (PhD, Graduate Program in Genetics and Genomics, Graduate Medical Sciences, Boston University School of Medicine).

Inquiry about thesis project and research position in Dr. Lu’s lab, please contact:

 Self-Described Keywords
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Kidney and urinary tract development
  • Podocyte biology and injury
  • Slit-Robo signaling pathway
  • Vesicoureteral reflux (VUR)
  • Renal cystic disease
Publications listed below are automatically derived from MEDLINE/PubMed and other sources, which might result in incorrect or missing publications. Faculty can login to make corrections and additions.
List All   |   Timeline
  1. Fan X, Yang H, Kumar S, Tumelty KE, Pisarek-Horowitz A, Rasouly HM, Sharma R, Chan S, Tyminski E, Shamashkin M, Belghasem M, Henderson JM, Coyle AJ, Salant DJ, Berasi SP, Lu W. SLIT2/ROBO2 signaling pathway inhibits nonmuscle myosin IIA activity and destabilizes kidney podocyte adhesion. JCI Insight. 2016 Nov 17; 1(19):e86934. PMID: 27882344.
    View in: PubMed
  2. Havasi A, Lu W, Cohen HT, Beck LH, Wang Z, Igwebuike C, Borkan SC. Blocking Peptides & Molecular Mimicry as Treatment for Kidney Disease. Am J Physiol Renal Physiol. 2016 Sep 21; ajprenal.00601.2015. PMID: 27654896.
    View in: PubMed
  3. Rasouly HM, Kumar S, Chan S, Pisarek-Horowitz A, Sharma R, Xi QJ, Nishizaki Y, Higashi Y, Salant DJ, Maas RL, Lu W. Loss of Zeb2 in mesenchyme-derived nephrons causes primary glomerulocystic disease. Kidney Int. 2016 Dec; 90(6):1262-1273. PMID: 27591083.
    View in: PubMed
  4. Lu W, Bush KT, Nigam SK. Regulation of Ureteric Bud Outgrowth and the Consequences of Disrupted Development. In "Kidney Development, Disease, Repair and Regeneration" (ed. Little MH). Academic Press. Elsevier. 2016; 209-227.
    View in: External Website
  5. Zhang Y, Fan J, Ho JW, Hu T, Kneeland SC, Fan X, Xi Q, Sellarole MA, de Vries WN, Lu W, Lachke SA, Lang RA, John SW, Maas RL. Crim1 regulates integrin signaling in murine lens development. Development. 2016 Jan 15; 143(2):356-66. PMID: 26681494.
    View in: PubMed
  6. Vivante A, Kleppa MJ, Schulz J, Kohl S, Sharma A, Chen J, Shril S, Hwang DY, Weiss AC, Kaminski MM, Shukrun R, Kemper MJ, Lehnhardt A, Beetz R, Sanna-Cherchi S, Verbitsky M, Gharavi AG, Stuart HM, Feather SA, Goodship JA, Goodship TH, Woolf AS, Westra SJ, Doody DP, Bauer SB, Lee RS, Adam RM, Lu W, Reutter HM, Kehinde EO, Mancini EJ, Lifton RP, Tasic V, Lienkamp SS, Jüppner H, Kispert A, Hildebrandt F. Mutations in TBX18 Cause Dominant Urinary Tract Malformations via Transcriptional Dysregulation of Ureter Development. Am J Hum Genet. 2015 Aug 6; 97(2):291-301. PMID: 26235987.
    View in: PubMed
  7. Hwang DY, Kohl S, Fan X, Vivante A, Chan S, Dworschak GC, Schulz J, van Eerde AM, Hilger AC, Gee HY, Pennimpede T, Herrmann BG, van de Hoek G, Renkema KY, Schell C, Huber TB, Reutter HM, Soliman NA, Stajic N, Bogdanovic R, Kehinde EO, Lifton RP, Tasic V, Lu W, Hildebrandt F. Mutations of the SLIT2-ROBO2 pathway genes SLIT2 and SRGAP1 confer risk for congenital anomalies of the kidney and urinary tract. Hum Genet. 2015 Aug; 134(8):905-16. PMID: 26026792.
    View in: PubMed
  8. Quintero-Rivera F, Xi QJ, Keppler-Noreuil KM, Lee JH, Higgins AW, Anchan RM, Roberts AE, Seong IS, Fan X, Lage K, Lu LY, Tao J, Hu X, Berezney R, Gelb BD, Kamp A, Moskowitz IP, Lacro RV, Lu W, Morton CC, Gusella JF, Maas RL. MATR3 disruption in human and mouse associated with bicuspid aortic valve, aortic coarctation and patent ductus arteriosus. Hum Mol Genet. 2015 Apr 15; 24(8):2375-89. PMID: 25574029.
    View in: PubMed
  9. Rasouly HM, Lu W. Lower urinary tract development and disease. Wiley Interdiscip Rev Syst Biol Med. 2013 May-Jun; 5(3):307-42. PMID: 23408557.
    View in: PubMed
  10. Fan X, Li Q, Pisarek-Horowitz A, Rasouly HM, Wang X, Bonegio RG, Wang H, McLaughlin M, Mangos S, Kalluri R, Holzman LB, Drummond IA, Brown D, Salant DJ, Lu W. Inhibitory effects of Robo2 on nephrin: a crosstalk between positive and negative signals regulating podocyte structure. Cell Rep. 2012 Jul 26; 2(1):52-61. PMID: 22840396.
    View in: PubMed
  11. Wang H, Li Q, Liu J, Mendelsohn C, Salant DJ, Lu W. Noninvasive assessment of antenatal hydronephrosis in mice reveals a critical role for Robo2 in maintaining anti-reflux mechanism. PLoS One. 2011; 6(9):e24763. PMID: 21949750.
    View in: PubMed
  12. Paredes J, Sims-Lucas S, Wang H, Lu W, Coley B, Gittes GK, Bates CM. Assessing vesicoureteral reflux in live inbred mice via ultrasound with a microbubble contrast agent. Am J Physiol Renal Physiol. 2011 May; 300(5):F1262-5. PMID: 21325495.
    View in: PubMed
  13. Bonegio RG, Beck LH, Kahlon RK, Lu W, Salant DJ. The fate of Notch-deficient nephrogenic progenitor cells during metanephric kidney development. Kidney Int. 2011 May; 79(10):1099-112. PMID: 21270765.
    View in: PubMed
  14. Higgins AW, Alkuraya FS, Bosco AF, Brown KK, Bruns GA, Donovan DJ, Eisenman R, Fan Y, Farra CG, Ferguson HL, Gusella JF, Harris DJ, Herrick SR, Kelly C, Kim HG, Kishikawa S, Korf BR, Kulkarni S, Lally E, Leach NT, Lemyre E, Lewis J, Ligon AH, Lu W, Maas RL, MacDonald ME, Moore SD, Peters RE, Quade BJ, Quintero-Rivera F, Saadi I, Shen Y, Shendure J, Williamson RE, Morton CC. Characterization of apparently balanced chromosomal rearrangements from the developmental genome anatomy project. Am J Hum Genet. 2008 Mar; 82(3):712-22. PMID: 18319076.
    View in: PubMed
  15. Lu W, Quintero-Rivera F, Fan Y, Alkuraya FS, Donovan DJ, Xi Q, Turbe-Doan A, Li QG, Campbell CG, Shanske AL, Sherr EH, Ahmad A, Peters R, Rilliet B, Parvex P, Bassuk AG, Harris DJ, Ferguson H, Kelly C, Walsh CA, Gronostajski RM, Devriendt K, Higgins A, Ligon AH, Quade BJ, Morton CC, Gusella JF, Maas RL. NFIA haploinsufficiency is associated with a CNS malformation syndrome and urinary tract defects. PLoS Genet. 2007 May 25; 3(5):e80. PMID: 17530927.
    View in: PubMed
  16. Lu W, van Eerde AM, Fan X, Quintero-Rivera F, Kulkarni S, Ferguson H, Kim HG, Fan Y, Xi Q, Li QG, Sanlaville D, Andrews W, Sundaresan V, Bi W, Yan J, Giltay JC, Wijmenga C, de Jong TP, Feather SA, Woolf AS, Rao Y, Lupski JR, Eccles MR, Quade BJ, Gusella JF, Morton CC, Maas RL. Disruption of ROBO2 is associated with urinary tract anomalies and confers risk of vesicoureteral reflux. Am J Hum Genet. 2007 Apr; 80(4):616-32. PMID: 17357069.
    View in: PubMed
  17. Leach NT, Sun Y, Michaud S, Zheng Y, Ligon KL, Ligon AH, Sander T, Korf BR, Lu W, Harris DJ, Gusella JF, Maas RL, Quade BJ, Cole AJ, Kelz MB, Morton CC. Disruption of diacylglycerol kinase delta (DGKD) associated with seizures in humans and mice. Am J Hum Genet. 2007 Apr; 80(4):792-9. PMID: 17357084.
    View in: PubMed
  18. Wilson SJ, Amsler K, Hyink DP, Li X, Lu W, Zhou J, Burrow CR, Wilson PD. Inhibition of HER-2(neu/ErbB2) restores normal function and structure to polycystic kidney disease (PKD) epithelia. Biochim Biophys Acta. 2006 Jul; 1762(7):647-55. PMID: 16797938.
    View in: PubMed
  19. Hughes P, Robati M, Lu W, Zhou J, Strasser A, Bouillet P. Loss of PKD1 and loss of Bcl-2 elicit polycystic kidney disease through distinct mechanisms. Cell Death Differ. 2006 Jul; 13(7):1123-7. PMID: 16282979.
    View in: PubMed
  20. Cuajungco MP, Leyne M, Mull J, Gill SP, Lu W, Zagzag D, Axelrod FB, Maayan C, Gusella JF, Slaugenhaupt SA. Tissue-specific reduction in splicing efficiency of IKBKAP due to the major mutation associated with familial dysautonomia. Am J Hum Genet. 2003 Mar; 72(3):749-58. PMID: 12577200.
    View in: PubMed
  21. Nauli SM, Alenghat FJ, Luo Y, Williams E, Vassilev P, Li X, Elia AE, Lu W, Brown EM, Quinn SJ, Ingber DE, Zhou J. Polycystins 1 and 2 mediate mechanosensation in the primary cilium of kidney cells. Nat Genet. 2003 Feb; 33(2):129-37. PMID: 12514735.
    View in: PubMed
  22. Liu S, Lu W, Obara T, Kuida S, Lehoczky J, Dewar K, Drummond IA, Beier DR. A defect in a novel Nek-family kinase causes cystic kidney disease in the mouse and in zebrafish. Development. 2002 Dec; 129(24):5839-46. PMID: 12421721.
    View in: PubMed
  23. Silverman ES, Le L, Baron RM, Hallock A, Hjoberg J, Shikanai T, Storm van's Gravesande K, Auron PE, Lu W. Cloning and functional analysis of the mouse 5-lipoxygenase promoter. Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 2002 Apr; 26(4):475-83. PMID: 11919084.
    View in: PubMed
  24. Lee ML, Lu W, Whitmore GA, Beier D. Models for microarray gene expression data. J Biopharm Stat. 2002 Feb; 12(1):1-19. PMID: 12146717.
    View in: PubMed
  25. Herron BJ, Lu W, Rao C, Liu S, Peters H, Bronson RT, Justice MJ, McDonald JD, Beier DR. Efficient generation and mapping of recessive developmental mutations using ENU mutagenesis. Nat Genet. 2002 Feb; 30(2):185-9. PMID: 11818962.
    View in: PubMed
  26. Lu W, Shen X, Pavlova A, Lakkis M, Ward CJ, Pritchard L, Harris PC, Genest DR, Perez-Atayde AR, Zhou J. Comparison of Pkd1-targeted mutants reveals that loss of polycystin-1 causes cystogenesis and bone defects. Hum Mol Genet. 2001 Oct 1; 10(21):2385-96. PMID: 11689485.
    View in: PubMed
  27. Mrug M, Green WJ, DasGupta S, Beier DR, Lu W, D'Eustachio P, Guay-Woodford LM. An integrated genetic and physical map of the 650-kb region containing the congenital polycystic kidney (cpk) locus on mouse chromosome 12. Cytogenet Cell Genet. 2001; 94(1-2):55-61. PMID: 11701955.
    View in: PubMed
  28. Pritchard L, Sloane-Stanley JA, Sharpe JA, Aspinwall R, Lu W, Buckle V, Strmecki L, Walker D, Ward CJ, Alpers CE, Zhou J, Wood WG, Harris PC. A human PKD1 transgene generates functional polycystin-1 in mice and is associated with a cystic phenotype. Hum Mol Genet. 2000 Nov 1; 9(18):2617-27. PMID: 11063721.
    View in: PubMed
  29. Lu W, Lu W. Chinese herbs and urothelial carcinoma. N Engl J Med. 2000 Oct 26; 343(17):1269; author reply 1269-70. PMID: 11183353.
    View in: PubMed
  30. Lu W, Fan X, Basora N, Babakhanlou H, Law T, Rifai N, Harris PC, Perez-Atayde AR, Rennke HG, Zhou J. Late onset of renal and hepatic cysts in Pkd1-targeted heterozygotes. Nat Genet. 1999 Feb; 21(2):160-1. PMID: 9988265.
    View in: PubMed
  31. Lu W, Peissel B, Babakhanlou H, Pavlova A, Geng L, Fan X, Larson C, Brent G, Zhou J. Perinatal lethality with kidney and pancreas defects in mice with a targetted Pkd1 mutation. Nat Genet. 1997 Oct; 17(2):179-81. PMID: 9326937.
    View in: PubMed
  32. Geng L, Segal Y, Pavlova A, Barros EJ, Löhning C, Lu W, Nigam SK, Frischauf AM, Reeders ST, Zhou J. Distribution and developmentally regulated expression of murine polycystin. Am J Physiol. 1997 Apr; 272(4 Pt 2):F451-9. PMID: 9140045.
    View in: PubMed
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