When it comes to building a kidney, only nature possesses the complete set of blueprints. But a USC-led team of scientists has managed to borrow some of nature’s pages through a comprehensive analysis of how kidneys form their filtering units, known as nephrons.

Published in the journal Developmental Cell, the study from Andy McMahon’s lab in the Department of Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine at USC was led by Nils Lindström, who started the research as a postdoctoral fellow and is now an assistant professor in the same department.

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