Finer Laboratory

Our interests lie in understanding mechanisms in kidney development, what leads to congenital anomalies of the kidney, and how chronic kidney disease develop in infants and children. We focus on the molecular signaling in kidney development to understand how disrupted processes lead to abnormal tissue development and renal anomalies. Current research projects study kidney progenitor cell populations and their differentiation to distinct renal cells that comprise the normal kidney. We strive to understand regulation of renal stem cells with the goal to contribute applied knowledge to the global effort of devising regenerative alternatives to kidney transplantation and dialysis.

Research Topics

Kidney Development
Renal Progenitors
Tissue Regeneration
Chronic Kidney Disease
Congenital Anomalies of the Kidney


Gal Finer MD, PhD 

Research Highlights


The stroma plays multiple important roles in kidney development including regulation of ureteric bud branching, vascularization, and mesenchymal-to-epithelial transition. Here we show that the Transcription Factor 21 (Tcf21) in Foxd1+ stromal progenitor cells play a critical role in the formation of the medullary stroma, the loop of Henle, and the collecting ducts via beta-Catenin/Wnt signaling. Our data also suggest that stromal Tcf21 regulates nephron progenitor cell differentiation non-autonomously. This work provides mechanistic insight to the complex crosstalk between the ureteric bud, cap mesenchyme and the stroma during kidney development, and advances our understanding of the instructive signals essential to devise regenerative solutions for kidney diseases. 

Principal Investigator

Gal Finer, MD, PhD

Gal Finer, MD, PhD, is a board-certified pediatrician and a pediatric nephrologist in the Division of Pediatric Nephrology at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, and is an Assistant Professor at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Dr. Finer has been caring for children with a variety of kidney diseases at Lurie Children’s since 2007. Her current interest lies in the research of Congenital Anomalies of the Kidney and Urinary Tract (CAKUT). Dr. Finer acquired knowledge in genetic diseases of the kidney while serving the Bedouin population in Israel, and in molecular pathways of renal fibrosis and kidney development while working in the laboratories of Dr. William H. Schnaper and Dr. Susan Quaggin. Dr. Finer is the recipient of the National Kidney Foundation of Illinois Young Investigator Award of 2017, and of the NIH-K08 Clinical Investigator Award in 2020.