News Release

Virtual population model predicts and stops kidney damage in Black Americans

Virtual patients also had improved heart sizes

Peer-Reviewed Publication

Experimental Biology

John Clemmer, PhD

image: John Clemmer, PhD view more 

Credit: John Clemmer, PhD

PHILADELPHIA (April 2, 2022)—Researchers have successfully used a virtual population to replicate a clinical trial that examined kidney damage in Black Americans, according to a new study at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson. John S. Clemmer, PhD, a physiologist and lead author of the study, said his team model used a calcium channel blocker to predict kidney damage. They were also able to simulate stopping the damage by adding drug therapy (angiotensin inhibitor) and reducing salt intake. The simulated treatments also improved virtual patients’ heart sizes. The research will be presented in person at the American Physiological Society’s (APS) annual meeting at Experimental Biology 2022 in Philadelphia. 


In this study, researchers used a long-term existing clinical trial to determine the effect of calcium channel blockers in Black patients with poor kidney function. Then, they deployed a physiological model to simulate clinical trials and predict outcomes. The hope is that “these results and this technique could be used to predict potential risks to certain therapies in vulnerable populations,” Clemmer said.


According to the National Kidney Foundation, Black people in the U.S., among other minorities, “may be at an increased risk for kidney disease.” In fact, Black people are more than three times as likely as their white counterparts to have kidney failure. In addition, Black people have “much higher rates of high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity and heart disease, all of which increase the risk for kidney disease,” the foundation reported.


NOTE TO JOURNALISTS: To schedule an interview with a member of the research team, and/or request abstract R603, “Modeling the progression of hypertensive kidney disease in African Americans,” please contact APS Media Relations or call 301.634.7314. Find more research highlights in the APS Newsroom.


About Experimental Biology 2022

Experimental Biology is the annual meeting of five societies that explores the latest research in physiology, anatomy, biochemistry and molecular biology, investigative pathology and pharmacology. With a mission to share the newest scientific concepts and research findings shaping clinical advances, the meeting offers an unparalleled opportunity for global exchange among scientists who represent dozens of scientific areas, from laboratory to translational to clinical research.


About the American Physiological Society

Physiology is a broad area of scientific inquiry that focuses on how molecules, cells, tissues and organs function in health and disease. The American Physiological Society connects a global, multidisciplinary community of more than 10,000 biomedical scientists and educators as part of its mission to advance scientific discovery, understand life and improve health. The Society drives collaboration and spotlights scientific discoveries through its 16 scholarly journals and programming that support researchers and educators in their work.


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