Aylin Rodan portrait
  • Adjunct Associate Professor, Human Genetics
  • Associate Professor, Internal Medicine

Research Summary

The kidney plays a central role in maintaining homeostasis of ions and water in the body. However, the diet of early humans (low sodium, high potassium) is the opposite of the modern diet (high sodium, low potassium). My laboratory is interested in how the kidney responds to the high sodium, low potassium diet in ways that are both adaptive and maladaptive. We use the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster as a model organism to study ion and water homeostasis pathways relevant to human physiology.


  • BS, Biology, Yale University
  • MD, PhD, Medicine/Genetics, University of California San Francisco
  • Residency, Internal Medicine, University of California San Francisco
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship, Genetics, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
  • Fellowship, Nephrology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center


I am a physician-scientist with an interest in hypertension, electrolyte disorders, and the underlying epithelial ion transport mechanisms in the kidney driving these clinical syndromes. I obtained my bachelor’s degree at Yale University and got started in my scientific career studying the role of endoplasmic reticulum chaperones in protein folding. I then enrolled in the Medical Scientist Training Program at UCSF, where I studied the mechanisms of behavioral changes in Drosophila melanogaster in response to alcohol, examining the effects of protein kinase A signaling in different parts of the brain, as well as the role of insulin signaling. I continued at UCSF for internal medicine residency, then moved to Dallas for nephrology fellowship training at UT Southwestern, where I deepened my understanding of renal physiology and clinical nephrology. The next logical step was to use my favorite organism, Drosophila, to study questions of relevance to mammalian renal physiology. Using this system, my lab is now studying ion channels and transporters, and the signaling cascades that regulate them, in the Drosophila renal system; this work is ongoing at the University of Utah. Our goal is to understand these transporters, channels and their regulation in greater mechanistic detail, identify new regulatory factors by performing forward genetic screens, and translate these insights into improved understanding of human kidney disorders. We also have projects studying our favorite transport pathways in circadian rhythm and salt sensitivity. I also see patients with kidney disorders and teach undergraduate, graduate and medical students and housetaff, with an emphasis on renal physiology.