Bhalla Lab Members

Vivek Bhalla, MD

Principle Investigator

I direct a basic science research program on the role of the kidney in diseases such as diabetes and hypertension using in vivo and in vitro approaches. I collaborate with investigators at Stanford, and others nationally, and internationally. My current research programs include five components related to kidney physiology and pathophysiology. I study: (1) diabetic kidney disease, (2) mechanisms of hypertension in the setting of obesity an dinsulin resistance, (3) the regulation of potasssium transport in obesity and insulin resistance, (4) role of Clcnkb in ion transport, and (5) diuretic-induced tubular hyperplasia and hypertrophy. As a physician-scientist and a practicing nephrologist, I have complementary clinical and translational research interests related to mechanisms of kidney disease and hypertension. I also have leadership roles both at Stanford and nationally. I founded and direct the nationally-accredited Stanford Hypertension Center and direct the Renal physiology curriculum for the School of Medicine. Additionally, I am incoming Chair of the Kidney and Cardiovascular Disease Council of the American Heart Association. I have mentored predoctoral (11), and postdoctoral (18) trainees, including a recent K08 awardee, and of whom several have publications based on our work and five are now academic faculty. I participate as a mentor for basic science trainees at national meetings through Kidney STARS at Kidney Week and the APS-Renal Section of the Experimental Biology Annual Meeting and have advocated for funding for basic science nephrology trainees both in periodicals and on social media. I received a Gottschalk award and know the value of funding of young investigators. 

Postdoctoral Scholars

Alexandre Gaudet, MD, PhD

Dr. Gaudet is a physician scientist specialized in Critical Care Medicine at the teaching hospital of Lille, France. His PhD, completed in 2018 at the University of Lille, focused on the involvement of esm1 in the regulation of acute pulmonary inflammation.  

Dr. Gaudet is currently spending a year as a Visiting Postdoctoral Fellow and Fulbright Scholar in the laboratory of Dr. Vivek Bhalla in the Stanford Medicine Division of Nephrology to conduct research on the effects of esm1 in a model of acute kidney inflammation in mouse.

George Kunkel, MS, PhD, MPH

Dr. Kunkel completed his PhD in 2017 under the supervision of Drs. Suresh Tyagi in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics at the University of Louisville School of Medicine. He studied the role of TFAM in cardiomyocyte stability. He joined the Bhalla laboratory in July, 2019 as a T32 fellow and is working on the role of Wnt4 in tubular remodeling and transdifferentiation.

Ying Shi, MBBS, MMed, PhD

Dr. Shi completed her PhD in March 2019 under the supervision of Professor Carol Pollock in the department of Medicine, Northern Clinical School at the University of Sydney, Australia. Her PhD project investigates the role of RIPK3 in renal fibrosis by using diabetes and folic-acid induced nephropathy mouse models. She joined the Bhalla Laboratory in October 2019 as a postdoctoral scholar and is working on the role of insulin and SGLT2 in diabetic kidney disease.

Xiaoyi Zheng, PhD

Dr. Zheng joined the laboratory in 2013 as a recent graduate of Temple University. He has performed glomerular transcriptomic profiling from mice with differential susceptibility to diabetic kidney disease and published this work in Plos One. He is now characterizing the function and contribution of one of these genes in vivo.  He has presented his research at the American Society of Nephrology and Experimental Biology Annual Meetings, and his preliminary data helped to secure an NIH pilot grant for the Sponsor. In 2018, he successfully transitioned to a Research Scientist position in the Division of Nephrology within our laboratory.

Predoctoral Scholars

Demetri Maxim

Demetri is a junior at Stanford studying computational biology and joined the lab in September 2018 to complete an honors thesis project. Demetri’s research interests are focused on using the CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing system to better understand cyst formation in polycystic kidney disease (PKD) and how repairing the underlying disease mutations may aid in the development of future gene therapies. 

Demetri has completed prior research training in nephrology at Tufts University, Harvard Medical School, the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and the Jackson Laboratory where he has worked on projects related to diagnostics in kidney transplant rejection and bioengineering functional kidney tissue from stem cells. He has presented his work at several scientific conferences including the American Society of Nephrology's Kidney Week and the Biomedical Engineering Society's Annual Meeting, and published his work in several scientific journals including the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (JASN). He was also a finalist in the 2016 Intel Science Talent Search, the nation's most prestigious pre-college science competition, and a Two-Time First Place Winner at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, the world's largest pre-college science competition. Demetri is also the founder of Nephrogen, an early-stage biotech company developing novel diagnostics for acute kidney injury (AKI) in cancer patients on chemotherapy.


Research Assistants

Holly Deremo

Research Assistant

Holly completed her B.A. in Environmental Biology from the University of Michigan’s School for Environment and Sustainability in 2013 as a Graham Scholar and worked under the supervision of Dr. Mike Shriberg at the UM Graham Institute. 

She joined the Bhalla laboratory in October 2017 and has worked on rare disease data collection, patient recruitment, and literature searches. Her research interests include investigating the connection between autonomic disorders and tubulopathies, inherited chloride channel diseases, and disparities in kidney transplant outcomes. Holly is an active member of Research to the People, a biomedical research initiative based in San Francisco focused on patient co-led research. 


Winnie Ellerman

Administrative Coordinator, Stanford Nephrology

Winnie Ellerman is an Administrative Coordinator for Stanford School of Medicine, Division of Nephrology. She received her BS in Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology from the University of California Santa Cruz before serving in the US Peace Corps in Namibia, and later working in the field of Global Health at an Oakland-based nonprofit organization affiliated with the United Nations. 

At Stanford, Winnie works with the Bhalla Laboratory on administrative needs, and enjoys supporting the research of Dr. Bhalla's team. Along with supporting Dr. Bhalla, Winnie coordinates administrative needs of faculty in the division. She can be reached at

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