Scott Thomson

Professor, Medicine, UC San Diego

Dr. Thomson is a practicing physician and kidney physiologist whose research interest lies in the control of renal function, in particular the basic physiology of crosstalk between the tubule and glomerulus. His approach to scientific problems stems from prior training in physics and electrical engineering, which provide and a concise logic for analyzing systems of moving parts. In 1986 he begun to learn the method of in vivo renal micropuncture and to describe micropuncture data with simple motifs from control theory. This has led to the occasional epiphany. Examples include the adaptation of tubuloglomerular feedback (TGF) to protect its own efficiency (Am J Physiol 1993, Am J Physiol 1997, Am J Physiol 1998), the counterintuitive realization that feedback control of proximal tubular Angiotensin II actually makes salt homeostasis less efficient (J CIin Invest 2006), the recognition that error signals recorded in the macula densa salt delivery imply that the proximal tubule exerts dominant control over glomerular filtration in early diabetes, notwithstanding any primary defect in vasomotion of the glomerular microvessels (reviewed Am J Physiol 2004, updated Ann Rev Physiol 2012), and a transition to anomalous TGF responses in the early remnant kidney exposed to high NaCl diet (2013). This research is supported by grants from National Institutes of Health and the Department of Veterans Affairs.