Channing Kidney Stone Disease Research

Multidisciplinary Approach to Understand the Etiology and Pathobiology of Kidney Stone Disease to Improve Diagnosis, Prognosis and Treatment

Kidney stone disease (nephrolithiasis) affects more than 19 million U.S. adults and tens of millions more worldwide. Although rarely fatal, the morbidity and costs are substantial. A large number of modifiable risk factors for kidney stones have been identified, including diet, fluid intake, and other lifestyle factors.

Current research

Investigators at the Channing Division of Network Medicine (CDNM) have built a comprehensive research strategy to:

  • Study the epidemiology of nephrolithiasis
  • Identify key dietary factors associated with risk of nephrolithiasis
  • Identify the urinary risk factors for nephrolithiasis
  • Study other health conditions associated with kidney stone disease

We apply a multidisciplinary approach to understand the etiology and pathobiology of nephrolithiasis to improve diagnosis and prognosis, and to develop therapeutics for treatment.


Our work has changed clinical practice regarding the prevention of kidney stone formation. Our early research found that a higher dietary calcium intake was associated with a lower risk of stone formation.

Since then, we have collected over 6,000 24-hour urines from over 6,000 participants. Our researchers have identified many additional dietary factors associated with stone risk, as well as other modifiable factors. We have found that more than half of all incident kidney stones could be prevented by lifestyle modification.


Genetic information is available to study several aspects of kidney stone formation, including thousands of 24-hour urine collections.


Increasing number of samples are becoming available to allow examining plasma metabolomics and nephrolithiasis.

Study populations

Study populations developed by CDNM investigators include:

  • Nurses' Health Study (N=121,000)
  • Nurses' Health Study II (N=116,000)
  • Health Professionals Follow-Up Study (N=51,000)
  • Growing Up Today Study (N=160,000)

National and international collaborations

CDNM collaborates with investigators across the U.S., Canada, and Italy.