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Vishal Patel, M.D., is a Physician-Scientist and an Associate Professor (with Tenure) in the Dept. of Internal Medicine at UT Southwestern Medical Center. He obtained his medical degree from India in 2000 and completed his Internal Medicine residency at Northwestern University in 2004 and clinical Nephrology fellowship at UT Southwestern in 2005. Following his clinical training, he studied kidney genetics and primary cilia biology as an NIH-funded Physician-Scientist trainee at UT Southwestern from 2005 to 2009.

         In 2009-10, as an independent investigator, Dr. Patel charted a new course in the then little-studied non-coding RNA field, which has become the central theme of his research laboratory. They study the basic aspects of RNA biology (mRNA translation regulation, RNA chemical modifications, non-coding RNAs, etc.) in the context of polycystic kidney disease (PKD), other genetic kidney disorders, and kidney development. Their seminal scientific contribution is devising a feasible framework for an endogenous, mutation-agnostic, PKD1/2 mRNA therapy approach, which has the potential to transform the autosomal dominant PKD (ADPKD) treatment landscape. ADPKD is caused due to heterozygous mutations of PKD1 or PKD2. The Patel lab has discovered that microRNA-17 binds to the mRNAs made by the remaining non-mutated PKD1/2 allele and represses its expression. Inhibiting miR-17 or preventing it from binding to PKD1/2 stabilizes the mRNAs and ameliorates preclinical PKD. They have co-developed an anti-miR-17 drug, which has already traversed from bench to clinical testing. Dr. Patel’s lab has been continuously funded by the NIH since 2009. They have published their work in highly-regarded journals such as PNAS, Nature Communications, and Cell Metabolism.

           Dr. Patel is the Director of a Comprehensive PKD and kidney genetics clinic at UT Southwestern, which now, with nearly 250 patients, is among the largest nationally. He has brought innovative new clinical trials to this clinic. Dr. Patel has mentored eight postdocs; five now have academic faculty appointments, including one who is a K08-funded physician-scientist and another who is a K01-funded basic scientist. He has also mentored eight undergraduate students, including two who are now MD-PhDs, six women scientists, four URM trainees, and two first-generation college graduates. In 2021, he assumed the leadership of the UT Southwestern Nephrology NIH training program and devised an ambitious new multi-institutional “Dallas-Fort Worth” post-doctoral training program, which seeks to train cross-disciplinary next-generation researchers in kidney, urology, and hematology fields.

         Dr. Patel is active in several important national leadership positions. He serves NIH and DOD grant study sections, including as a study section chair. He is the vice-chair of the scientific advisory committee for the PKD Foundation and will assume the role of Chair in 2023. He is an elected member of the ASCI (2023). He serves as an Editor for Scientific Reports and Frontiers of Physiology and is a scientific consultant for several pharmaceutical companies.


Medical School
Pramukhswami Medical School, India (2000)
Mount Sinai Hospital Medical Center (2002), Internal Medicine
McGaw Medical Center of Northwestern University (2004), Internal Medicine
UT Southwestern Medical Center (2006), Nephrology
Research Fellowship
UT Southwestern Medical Center (2008), Research

Research Interest

  • Kidney Development and Homeostasis
  • microRNAs, ncRNAs
  • mRNA translation regulation
  • Polycystic Kidney Disease
  • RNA metabolism
  • RNA therapeutics


Featured Publications LegendFeatured Publications

Anti-microRNA screen uncovers miR-17 family within miR-17~92 cluster as the primary driver of kidney cyst growth.
Yheskel M, Lakhia R, Cobo-Stark P, Flaten A, Patel V Sci Rep 2019 Feb 9 1 1920
Planar cell polarity genes Celsr1 and Vangl2 are necessary for kidney growth, differentiation, and rostrocaudal patterning.
Brzóska HL, d'Esposito AM, Kolatsi-Joannou M, Patel V, Igarashi P, Lei Y, Finnell RH, Lythgoe MF, Woolf AS, Papakrivopoulou E, Long DA Kidney Int. 2016 Dec 90 6 1274-1284

Honors & Awards

  • PKD Foundation Grant
    PKD Foundation (2014)
  • Rising Star in Nephrology - State of Texas
    Super Doctors (2012)
  • Career Development Award
    National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (2009)
  • O'Brien Center Pilot and Feasibility Grant
    UT Southwestern (2009)
  • Young Investigator Travel Award
    Southern Society for Clinical Investigation (2007)
  • Chief Fellow, UT Southwestern Medical Center-Nephrology fellowship
  • Chief Nephrology Fellow
    UT Southwestern (2005-2008)

Professional Associations/Affiliations

  • American Society of Nephrology