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Terry J. Watnick, MD

Joan B. and John H. Sadler, MD Professor of Nephrology

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Education and Training

  • Brown University (Magna Cum Laude), Sc.B., Providence, RI, 1981
  • Yale University School of Medicine, M.D., New Haven, CT, 1987
  • Yale-New Haven Hospital, Internship, Internal Medicine, 1988
  • Yale-New Haven Hospital, Residency, Internal Medicine, 1990
  • Johns Hopkins Hospital, Fellowship, Nephrology, 1995



Dr. Watnick is a graduate of the Yale School of medicine and she trained in Internal Medicine at Yale-New Haven Hospital. She completed both clinical and research fellowships in nephrology at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. During her research training, she became interested in inherited kidney diseases and specifically in autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD).

She has been involved in both basic and clinical research related to polycystic kidney disease.  Her laboratory has been studying the vascular phenotype that is associated with PKD1/2 mutations in humans and in mice. She directs an inherited renal disease clinic and has served as the site prinicipal investigator for several clinical trials testing therapies in patients with ADPKD. Dr. Watnick is the Principal Investigator for the NIDDK-funded Maryland Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) Research and Translation Core Center (RTCC) and Co-PI of the Coordinating Site for the national PKD RTCC program. 



Highlighted Publications

Gulati A, Bae T, Somlo S, Watnick T. Genomic Analysis Avoids Misdiagnosis of Adults with Bilateral Renal Cysts. In Press, Annals of Internal Medicine, 2018.

Perrone RD, Malek AM, Watnick T. Vascular Complications in Autosomal Dominant Polycystic Kidney Disease. Nat Rev Nephrol. 11: 589-98, 2015.

Liu D, Wang CJ, Judge DP, Halushka MK, Ni J, Habashi JP, Moslehi J, Bedja D, Gabrielson KL, Xu H, Qian F, Huso D, Dietz HC, Germino GG, Watnick T. A Pkd1-Fbn1 genetic interaction implicates TGF-b-Signaling in the pathogenesis of vascular complications in ADPKD. J Am Soc Nephrol 25: 81-91, 2014.

Outeda P,  Huso DL, Fisher SA, Halushka MK, Kim H,  Qian F, Germino GG and Watnick T.  Polycystin signaling is required for directed endothelial cell migration and lymphatic development. Cell Reports 7: 634-44, 2014.

Outeda P, Menezes L, Hartung E, Bridges S, Zhou F, Zhu X, Xu H, Huang Q, Yao Q, Qian F, Germino GG and Watnick T. A Novel Model of Autosomal Recessive Polycystic Kidney Questions the Role of the FPC C-terminus in Disease Mechanism. Kidney Int. 92:1130-44, 2017

Garcia-Gonzalez MA, Outeda P, Zhou Q, Zhou F, Menezes LF, Huso DL, Germino GG, Piontek KB, Watnick T. Pkd1 and Pkd2 are required in trophoblasts and endothelial cells for normal placental development. PLoS One5(9): pii: e12821, 2010.

Watnick TJ, Jin Y, Matunis E, Kernan MJ, Montell C.  A flagellar polycystin-2 homolog required for male fertility in DrosophilaCur Biol, 13:2179-2184, 2003

Kottgen M, Hofherr A, Li W, Chu K, Cook S, Montell C, Watnick T. Drosophila Sperm Swim Backwards in the Female Reproductive Tract and Are Activated via TRPP2 Ion Channels. PLoS One6(5): e20031, 2011.

Research Interests

Research in my laboratory focuses on understanding the biology of cystic kidney diseases.  Autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD) is the most common of these disorders and is caused by mutations in two genes PKD1 (proteins, polycystin-1) and PKD2 (protein-polycystin-2).  We are using a variety of model systems/organisms to understand the biology of these proteins.

A major interest in the lab is to understand how mutations in PKD1/PKD2 result in vascular aneurysms, which are a significant cause of morbidity and mortality in ADPKD.  Although there are no adult mouse models that can be reliably used to study this phenotype, mice with homozygous null mutations in Pkd1 or Pkd2 die in mid gestation with hemorhage and edema. We are using these mouse models along with conditional alleles and cell-based systems to understand the function of polycystins in both endothelial cells and vascular smooth muscle cells. We recently found that polycystins are essential for normal lymphatic development and we are pursing the role polycystin signaling in these cells.  In addition we are interested in genotype phenotype correlations in patients with ADPKD and aneurysms. 

A second project in the lab involves the use Drosophila melanogaster to dissect the molecules involved in ciliary trafficking of Polycystin-2.  This is important because virtually all the protein products implicated in cystic diseases including have been found to localize to the primary cilia.  Polcystins are conserved in Drosophila and play a key role in male fertility. 

I am the Principal Investigator for the Baltimore Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) Research and Clinical Core Center (P30DK090868 Baltimore Polycystic Kidney Disease Research and Clinical Core Center. Our mission is to promote translational PKD research by providing unique resources and expertise to an international group of investigators. We are one of four such PKD Centers in the United States.  The Center has 4 biomedical Research Cores:

  1. Antibody Validation and Vector Core (Director: Feng Qian, Ph.D.)
  2. Mouse Models and Biobank Core (Director: Patricia Outeda-Garcia, Ph.D.)
  3. Cell Culture/Cell Engineering Core (Director: Paul Welling, M.D. and Co-Director:Owen Woodward, Ph.D.)
  4. Clinical/Translational Core (Director: Stephen Seliger, M.D. M. S. and Co-Director: Terry Watnick, M. D.)

Clinical Specialty Details

My clinical specialty is in the area of Inherited kidney diseases including Autosomal Dominant Polycystic Kidney Disease, adult forms of autosomal recessive polycystic kidney disease, Alport syndromeand Fabry disease. My inherited renal disease clinic at the University of Maryland serves as a referral center for the mid-Atlantic Region. I am an investigator in several multicenter Clinical Trials recruiting patients with ADPKD.

Awards and Affiliations

1981: Susan Colver Rosenberger Prize in Portuguese and Brazilian Studies
1981: Honors in Biology, Magna Cum Laude, Brown University
1994-96: National Research Service Award DK09055, National Institutes of Health
1997: Solo Cup Institutional Clinician Scientist Award, The Johns Hopkins University
1998-04: NIH Physician Scientist Award
1999: ISN Travel Fellowship, Buenos Aires, Argentina
2004: Norman S. Coplon Grant Award (Satellite Research Foundation)

2003: Lillian Jean Kaplan International Prize for Advancement in the Understanding of Polycystic Kidney Disease

Professional Activity

2013-Editorial Board, Journal of the American Society of Nephrology

2010-2013 Vice-Chair, Scientific Advisory Board, Polycystic Kidney Disease Foundation

2013-2017 Chair Scientific Advisory Committee, Polycystic Kidney Disease Foundation

2013- Board of Trustees Polycystic Kidney Disease Foundation

Links of Interest