Skip to main content

Mary Helen Foster

Professor of Medicine
Medicine, Nephrology
Duke Box 103015, Durham, NC 27710
Msrbii Second Floor, Rm 2018, 106 Research Drive, Durham, NC 27710


Research in the Foster Lab focuses on autoimmune glomerulonephritis, a major cause of acute and chronic kidney disease worldwide.

Our experiments explore the origins and regulation of the pathogenic immune  responses that underlie glomerulonephritis, and are designed to: identify tolerance mechanisms that regulate nephritogenic lymphocytes, with an emphasis on B cells and autoantibodies; determine the molecular basis of tolerance; identify defects in immune regulation and the contributions of genetic autoimmune predisposition; and identify environmental disease triggers. These experiments use novel models relevant to immune nephritis in both kidney-restricted and systemic autoimmunity (Goodpasture syndrome and systemic lupus erythematosus, respectively), that are amenable to mechanistic dissection using basic immunological, molecular biological, and proteomics approaches. An ultimate goal is to advance novel diagnostic and therapeutic approaches to improve the lives of patients.

Current Appointments & Affiliations

Professor of Medicine · 2019 - Present Medicine, Nephrology, Medicine
Member of the Duke Cancer Institute · 2000 - Present Duke Cancer Institute, Institutes and Centers

Education, Training & Certifications

University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill · 1982 M.D.