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Institute of Physiology


July 2023

New publication by Olivier Devuyst et al. in Nature Communications and in UZH News:

Lysosomal cystine export regulates mTORC1 signaling to guide kidney epithelial cell fate specialization

October 2021

Publication by Olivier Devuyst et al. in NEJM in UZH News "Towards precision medicine for dialysis patients"

A common gene variant for the protein Aquaporin-1 lowers the amount of water channels in the cell membranes. This reduces water transport and leads to a higher risk of death in patients with kidney failure treated with peritoneal dialysis. In such cases, specific osmotic solutions should be used, as the research team Prof. Devuyst UZH has shown. NEJM 21 Oct 2021 AQP1 Promoter Variant, Water Transport, and Outcomes in Peritoneal Dialysis.

February 2021

Research from the Devuyst group featured among the Year in Review - Genetics in 2020 (Nature Reviews Nephrology, Feb 2021) ! These studies highlighted the role of uromodulin, illustrating the complementarity between GWAS and mechanistic insights relevant for rare and common disorders - including urinary tract infections. NRN_Genetics in 2020 (PDF, 645 KB)

January 2021

KDIGO announces new guideline on ADPKD - Prof. Olivier Devuyst is co-director of the KDIGO Guideline Work Group more

November 2020

Congratulations to François Seghers, who recently co-authored a Cover Story: Endocytosis under pressure in Science Signaling (13 October 2020, vol. 13, issue 653)!

The collaborative study between the groups of Philippe Gailly (UCLouvain, Brussels) and Olivier Devuyst (UZH, Zurich) established that mechanosensing induced by fluid flow through the proximal tubule activated the cation channel TRPV4 to promote the endocytosis of albumin in tubular epithelial cells and, thus, its retention. Experimental manipulations that increased the permeability of the glomerular filter exacerbated proteinuria in mice lacking TRPV4 globally or specifically in the proximal tubule. Thus, defects in TRPV4-mediated endocytosis may underlie proteinuria, a common symptom of many kidney diseases.

Mechanical activation of TRPV4 channels controls albumin reabsorption by proximal tubule cells. By Roberta Gualdani, François Seghers, Xavier Yerna, Olivier Schakman, Nicolas Tajeddine, Younès Achouri, Fadel Tissir, Olivier Devuyst, Philippe Gailly. Science Signaling; 13 Oct 2020

Article & Supplementary Material

October 2020

Swiss Medical Forum 2020; 20: 512-513: Kurz und Bündig:
"Chronische tubulointerstitielle Nephropathie: an genetische Ursachen denken!"

Swiss Medical Forum (PDF, 418 KB)

September 2020

In a collaboration with the Gallop Lab at Gurdon Institute (UK) the Devuyst Lab UZH shows that alpelisib alleviates actin defects, endocytic blockage and restores kidney function in the mouse model of Lowe syndrome and Dent disease 2.

Berquez M et al. (2020) Kidney International  DOI: 10.1016/j.kint.2020.05.040.

 Press release on EurekAlert!

 News Gurdon Institute

August 2020


Innovative Therapies in Rare Diseases – Challenges and Opportunities aims to promote the development of new therapies to treat rare diseases. The URPP is headed up by immunologist Janine Reichenbach, physiologist Olivier Devuyst and metabolic diseases expert Matthias Baumgartner.

Some 400 million people around the world suffer from rare diseases. In Switzerland, rare diseases affect around 500,000 people, most of whom are children. These diseases often result in premature death or chronic disability. There is a great need for novel therapies as well as information campaigns to raise awareness among the public. The URPP ITINERARE: Innovative Therapies in Rare Diseases – Challenges and Opportunities aims to promote the development of new therapies to treat rare diseases. By involving researchers from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, the Faculty of Law as well as the Faculty of Theology, the program also aims to create a network that can answer ethical, legal and pedagogic questions around the treatment of rare diseases.

University Research Priority Programs

February 2020

Prof. O. Devuyst and Dr. A. Luciani published a study in Nature Communications, which links some inherited mitochondrial deficiencies to a rare, potentially fatal metabolic disease. It represents a proof of concept that may allow the development of new therapies.

Heidi News: Le point sciences

Nature Communications


January 2020

WEF Logo

AcceleRare was present at the WEF in Davos on 22nd January 2020 to share the vision about advancing drug discovery for rare diseases with politicians, entrepreneurs, investors, and scientists. The project was met with enthusiastic responses during a round table discussion. Swiss head of foreign affairs Ignazio Cassis spoke out his support and called attention to the need of new treatments for rare diseases.

News AcceleRare

Twitter UNIGE

Cover Journal

Olivier Devuyst has been named in the Advisory Board of the prestigious journal Nature Reviews Nephrology, which presents in-depth reviews and topical discussions in the field of kidney physiology and disease.

October 2019

Dr. Alessandro Luciani has won the SGN Publication Award 2019 with Impaired autophagy bridges lysosomal storage disease and epithelial dysfunction in the kidney, Nature Communications, 2018; 9: 161.

September 2019

Prof. O. Devuyst participated in a platform on rare diseases at EPFL – Sunday 15 Sept. 2019  Heid News  EPFL  Twitter   Facebook

Congratulations to Dr. Beatrice Paola Festa for her new post-doctoral position at the Cambridge Institute for Medical Research, Prof. David Rubinsztein. more

August 2019

Dr. Alessandro Luciani presented an invited lecture on Endolysosomal disorders during the 2019 Gordon Research Conference on Organellar Channels and Transporters, August 04, 2019 - August 09, 2019, Mount Snow in West Dover VT United States. more

July 2019

Investigations on rare diseases yield important information on processes operating in normal conditions and also in common diseases. This concept is at the core of an extensive review by Olivier Devuyst and colleagues, just published in the prestigious journal Physiological Reviews (van der Wijst J et al. Physiol Rev 2019; 99: 1575-1653). Learning Physiology from inherited kidney disorders (PDF, 3 MB)

June 2019

Prof. O. Devuyst has received the 2019 Award for Outstanding Basic Science Contributions to Nephrology from the European Society of Nephrology, Dialysis and Transplan-tation (ERA-EDTA), for his cumulative work on genetic kidney diseases and the meachnisms of dialysis. more

May 2019

Prof. O. Devuyst is also a recipient of the 2019 Dr. D.G. Oreopoulos Memorial Award and Lecture of the Canadian Society of Nephrology. more


B.P. Festa from the Devuyst MIKD-Group receives a UZH semester prize of the Science Faculty for her paper: Impaired autophagy bridges lysosomal storage disease and epithelial dysfunction in the kidney, Nature Communications, 2018; 9: 161.