Ortega Lab


The Ortega Laboratory was established in March 2021 at The Queen’s Medical Center. The lab is headed by Michael Ortega, Ph.D. and located within the University of Hawaii Tower on the campus of The Queen’s Medical Center.


Research in the Ortega lab spans the fields of cellular stress and damage response within the scope of kidney disease. Our lab’s mission is to investigate and deconvolute the fundamental mechanisms that drive chronic inflammatory responses in chronic kidney disease (CKD). This endeavor encompasses fundamental molecular and translational strategies, as well as the development of deep learning models to inform our evolving kidney-focused research program. By dissecting the underpinnings of CKD signaling mechanisms, we aim to establish a solid foundation for the development of innovative therapeutic strategies that protect, preserve, and restore kidney health.

Ortega Lab Members

Michael Ortega, PhD

Principal Investigator
Tel: 1 (808) 691-7902
Fax: 1 (808) 691-7939

Former Lab Members

Jonas Nordhoff

Undergraduate Summer Researcher

Selected Publications

Plasma galectin-3 is associated with decreased glomerular filtration rate in chronic HIV

Vares-Lum D.L, Gangcuangco L.M.A., Park J., Manzano E., Ortega M.A. Chow D., Shikuma C.
HIV Research & Clinical Practice (in press)
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/25787489.2023.2261753  PMID: in progress

Exocyst inactivation in urothelial cells disrupts autophagy and activates non-canonical NF-κB

Ortega M.A., Villiger R.K.,  Harrison-Chau M., Lieu S., Tamashiro K.-K., Lee A.J., Fujimoto B.A., Patwardhan G.Y., Kepler J., Fogelgren B.
Disease Models and Mechanisms 15 (10):dmm049785 (2022).
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1242/dmm.049785  PMID: 36004645

Using single-cell multiple omics approaches to resolve tumor heterogeneity.

Ortega M.A., Poirion O., Zu X., Huang S., Wolfgruber T.K., Sebra R., Garmire L.X.
Clin. Transl. Med. 6:41 (2017).
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1186/s40169-017-0177-y  PMID: PMC574694

Presence of the paternal pronucleus assists embryo in overcoming cycloheximide induced abnormalities in zygotic mitosis.

Ortega M.A., Ko M., Marh J., Finberg A., Oshiro M., Ward W.S.
J. Cell Biochem. 117:1806 (2016).
DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1002/jcb.25480  PMID: PMC490515

ORC proteins in the mammalian zygote.

Ortega M.A., Nguyen H., Ward W.S.
Cell Tissue Res. 363:195 (2016).
DOI: https://10.1007/s00441-015-2296-3   PMID: PMC4703507