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Assistant Professor, Division of Nephrology and Hypertension

Education and Experience

PhD: Florida State University, 2009; Postdoctoral Fellow: University of North Carolina, 2009-2016; Assistant Professor: University of North Carolina, 2016-present.

Research Interests

We are interested in understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying normal kidney function and disease states. We are particularly interested in the cell biology of podocytes, a kidney-specific cell type essential for renal filtration, and a common target in many diseases of the kidney. Using the powerful genetic tools available in model organisms such as zebrafish, Drosophila, and yeast, we are identifying the genes and cellular pathways required for kidney function. We are also developing novel screening platforms to characterize the autoantibody repertoire in patients with autoimmune diseases of the kidney, such as ANCA vasculitis. The knowledge we gain from our research will help guide the development of new therapeutic approaches to treat multiple forms of kidney disease

Selected Publications

Mysh M and Poulton JS. (2021) The Basolateral Polarity Module Promotes Slit Diaphragm Formation in Drosophila Nephrocytes, a Model of Vertebrate Podocytes. Journal of the American Society of Nephrology. DOI:

Poulton JS, McKay DJ, and Peifer M. (2019) Centrosome Loss Triggers a Transcriptional Program To Counter Apoptosis-Induced Oxidative Stress. Genetics. May;212(1):187-211. DOI: 10.1534/genetics.119.302051

Poulton JS, Cuningham J, Peifer M. (2017) Centrosome and Spindle Assembly Checkpoint loss leads to neural apoptosis and reduced brain size. Journal of Cell Biology. May 1;216(5):1255-65

Lerit DA and Poulton JS. (2016) Centrosomes are multifunctional regulators of genome stability. Chromosome Research. Jan;24(1):5-17

Lerit DA, Jordan HA, Poulton JS, Fagerstrom CJ, Galletta BJ, Peifer M, Rusan NM. 2015. Interphase centrosome organization by the PLP-Cnn scaffold is required for centrosome function. Journal of Cell Biology. Jul 6;210(1):79-97

Poulton JS, Cuningham J, Peifer M. 2014. Acentrosomal Drosophila epithelial cells exhibit abnormal cell division, leading to cell death and compensatory proliferation. Developmental Cell. Sep;30(6):731-45

Poulton JS, Mu FW, Roberts DM, Peifer M. 2013. APC2 and Axin promote mitotic fidelity by facilitating centrosome separation and cytoskeletal regulation. Development. Oct;140(20):4226-4236

Gao L, Shao L, Higgins CD, Poulton JS, Peifer M, Davidson MW, Wu X, Goldstein B, Betzig E. 2012. Noninvasive Imaging of Three-Dimensional Dynamics in Thickly Fluorescent Specimens Beyond the Diffraction Limit. Cell. Dec;151(6):1370-85

Poulton JS, Huang YC, Smith L, Sun J, Leake N, Schleede J, Stevens LM, Deng W-M. 2011. The microRNA pathway regulates the temporal pattern of Notch signaling in Drosophila follicle cells. Development. May;138(9):1737-45

Sagona AP, Nezis IP, Pedersen NM, Liestøl K, Poulton JS, Rusten TE, Skotheim RI, Raiborg C, Stenmark H. 2010. PtdIns(3)P controls cytokinesis through KIF13A-mediated recruitment of FYVE-CENT to the midbody. Nature Cell Biology. Apr;12(4):362-71

Yu J*, Poulton JS*, Huang YC, Deng W-M. 2008. The Hippo pathway promotes Notch signaling in regulation of cell differentiation, proliferation, and oocyte polarity. PLoS One. 3(3):e1761 *co-first

Poulton JS and Deng W-M. 2007. Cell–cell communication and axis specification in the Drosophila oocyte. Developmental Biology. 311(1):1-10

Poulton JS and Deng W-M. 2006. Dystroglycan down-regulation links EGF receptor signaling and anterior-posterior polarity formation in the Drosophila oocyte. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA. 103(34):12775-12780

  • Phone Number

    (919) 445-2630 (Office Phone)

  • Address

    5021 Burnett-Womack