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Joachim H. Ix Research


About Dr. Ix

Joachim H. Ix, M.D., MAS is Professor and Chief of the Division of Nephrology-Hypertension at UC San Diego. He graduated with his MD degree from the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine and completed his internal medicine residency and nephrology fellowship at UC San Francisco before joining the faculty at UC San Diego. He is a nephrologist, epidemiologist, and clinical trialist.

His research focuses in two main areas:

  1. novel therapies in chronic kidney disease mineral bone disorders (CKD-MBD), and
  2. non-invasive assessment of kidney tubule health and understanding the impacts of impaired tubule health on cardiovascular disease and kidney disease outcomes.


Novel therapies in chronic kidney disease mineral bone disorders (CKD-MBD)

Chronic kidney disease leads to altered homeostasis of calcium, phosphate, and associated regulatory hormones. These factors, in turn, are strongly associated with vascular calcification and cardiac structural abnormalities. Dr. Ix's team has used large observational epidemiology studies to determine the presence and quantify the strength of associations of these factors with cardiovascular disease and related outcomes in CKD patients. The strength and consistency of these findings makes intervention to improve CKD-MBD an important target in lowering cardiovascular disease event risk in CKD patients.

Dr. Ix and his team have identified novel therapies that lower intestinal phosphate absorption, and are conducting clinical trials to evaluate the safety and efficacy of these therapies in CKD patients in multi-center randomized clinical trials.


Non-invasive assessment of kidney tubule health

Second, his team is interested in identifying novel non-invasive markers of kidney tubule cell health. While contemporary clinical markers of kidney disease focus primarily on the health of the glomerulus, the kidney tubules are responsible for a myriad of important functions of the kidney including electrolyte transport, hormone production, and acid/base homeostasis. Pathologic studies demonstrate that kidney tubule atrophy and fibrosis are important determinants of kidney disease progression, but are poorly captured by glomerular markers of kidney health.

Dr. Ix and his team have evaluated a myriad of blood and urine proteins that non-invasively assess the health of kidney tubule cells, and are working to determine if these markers improve assessment of risk of future kidney disease progression and cardiovascular disease risk.