Injury of the kidney can also activate the body’s own immune system, and the resulting inflammatory response plays a critical role in the overall outcome. There is an ‘innate’ immune response that we all muster when we are exposed to bacteria and viruses. Under these conditions this system is highly protective. However, this system can also be activated when the kidney is injured, such as following prolonged cardiac bypass surgery. Under these conditions the development of an inflammatory response may do more harm than good. My laboratory is actively searching to identify the pathways by which the innate immune system is triggered in kidney disease. We are also testing and developing new therapies to block specific parts of the immune system. It is our hope that some of the new drugs being developed will one day hit the clinic and have an impact on the ever increasing burden of kidney disease the Nation is facing.