Associate Professor of Critical Care Medicine and Clinical and Translational Science
Core Faculty, Center for Critical Care Nephrology, CRISMA Center, Department of Critical Care Medicine
Dr. Murugan’s research interests span a number of domains in critical illness including acute kidney injury (AKI), sepsis, mechanisms of recovery, and organ transplantation. In particular, Murugan conducts cutting edge research in AKI in critically ill patients with particular focus on epidemiology, biomarkers, recovery and long term outcomes from AKI. Murugan recently completed an NIH-funded career development award (KL-2) to understand the mechanisms of recovery from AKI. His project, entitled “Modeling renal recovery from sepsis-induced acute kidney injury,” examined the susceptibility, biomarkers of inflammation, coagulation, thrombolysis, in patients with community-acquired pneumonia. This study employed a variety of methods, including systems biology, mechanistic mathematical and computational modeling techniques, and biostatistics, to model the complex networks that influence recovery from sepsis-induced AKI. In a 2010 study published in Kidney International, Murugan and fellow researchers found that patients hospitalized with moderately severe pneumonia who develop AKI are more likely to die after discharge and at 1 year than those patients without AKI. The study also found that patients with AKI but without severe sepsis had higher inflammatory and fibrinolysis biomarker concentrations. He also found that nearly one third of patients with AKI died of cardiovascular disease.
In a more recent study, Murugan found that several biomarkers were associated with poor renal recovery in critically ill patients receiving renal replacement therapy, and that use of intensive renal replacement therapy does not influence marker concentrations. More recently Murugan and colleagues found that a very simple clinical model and a biomarker predicts long term renal recovery in critically ill patients receiving renal replacement therapy. Murugan also researches other treatment methods for AKI including timing and modality of renal replacement therapy. He is also a site investigator for two phase II clinical trials examining alkaline phosphatase infusion in sepsis-induced AKI and use of angiotensin II for catecholamine-resistant hypotension. Murugan partners with Dr. John Kellum and is a key faculty in the Center for Critical Care Nephrology in the CRISMA Center. He has publications in several high impact journal including Kidney International, Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, Nature Reviews Nephrology, Nephrology Dialysis and Transplantation, Critical Care, Lancet Respiratory Medicine, and Clinical Evidence (BMJ).