null Elena Torban, PhD

Scientist, RI-MUHC, Glen site

Metabolic Disorders and Complications Program

Centre for Translational Biology

Associate Professor, Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, McGill University

Department of Medicine, Division of Nephrology, MUHC



kidney development • planar cell polarity • cilia formation and ciliophaties • glomerular disease • mouse models of human kidney diseases • cell culture • omics • biochemistry

Research Focus

My laboratory pursues two major research programs. One focus is on pathogenic mechanisms of kidney birth defects in humans, which arise when specific genes do not function properly. We study how a novel planar cell polarity pathway is involved in normal mammalian development and how its dysfunction contributes to the kidney defects. Our second program investigates glomerulus. Some people feel well for many years until unexpectedly their kidneys stop working: they start losing protein from blood and may develop irreversible changes in the kidney filtration unit. These patients suffer from idiopathic focal segmental glomerulosclerosis, a condition that progressively leads to kidney failure, necessitating dialysis and transplantation. We focus on elucidating cellular and molecular mechanisms that underlie this acquired kidney disease. My lab uses many molecular and biochemical methods, unique cells and mouse models of disease, searches for genetic mutations, and screens patient sera to ascertain underlying pathogenic mechanisms in order to find efficient novel treatments.

Selected Publications

Click on Pubmed to see my current publications list

  • Chung CF, Kachurina N, Pessina K, Babayeva S, Cybulsky AV, Kitzler T, Goodyer P, and Torban E (2019). TNF signaling pathway is implicated in the pathogenesis of Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis, Plos One, in press.

  • Kitzler T, Kachurina N, Bitzan, M, Torban E and Goodyer P (2018). Novel Paradigm for Categorizing Subtypes of Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis: a Pilot Study, PedNeph, Oct;33(10):1741-1750.

  • Kachurina N, Chung CF, Benderoff E, Babayeva S, Bitzan M, Goodyer P, Kitzler T, Motar D, Cybulsky A, Alachkar N and Torban E (2016). Novel unbiased assay for circulating podocyte-toxic factors associated with recurrent focal segmental glomerulosclerosis, American Journal of Physiology –Renal, 2016 May 15;310(10):F1148-56.

  • Rocque B, Babayeva S, Li J, Leung V, Nezvitsky L, Cybulsky A, Gros P and Torban E (2015). Deficiency of the Planar Cell Polarity Protein Vangl2 in Podocytes Affects Glomerular Morphogenesis and Increases Susceptibility to Injury JASN, Aug 2015.

  • Rocque B and Torban E (2015). Planar cell polarity signaling pathway in kidney development and function. Advances in Nephrology, Feb 2015.