Research Fellowship Fuels Hope of New Treatments for Kidney Disease

Research Fellowship Fuels Hope of New Treatments for Kidney Disease

New research is critical to tackling kidney disease, the ninth leading cause of death in the U.S. In order to advance research efforts and help find a cure, the American Society of Nephrology (ASN) established The Ben J. Lipps Research Fellowship as part of its KidneyCure foundation.

The fellowship is named after the former CEO of Fresenius Medical Care North America (FMCNA), and the company has contributed $10 million to this effort since the fellowship’s creation in 2012. The program supports research over a two-year period, with five new fellowships funded annually. Since 2012, the program has supported 45 unique studies.

“The Ben J. Lipps Research Fellowship gave me a brilliant start,” said Daria Ilatovskaya, PhD, one of the first recipients of the fellowship in 2013, whose research examined causes of nephrotic syndrome, a disorder that passes too much protein through the urine. “The fellowship provided me with protected time to work on this project and develop my own research ideas without worrying about funding running out.”

The program will select another five new fellows for this year and each of the research projects seeks to tackle a unique aspect of kidney disease and new treatments.

Katherine Scovner, MD, of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, is a 2019 fellow examining whether patient outcomes can be predicted by trends in acid-base status, which is associated with sudden cardiac arrest.

“I hope my research will contribute to our understanding of how hemodialysis affects patient physiology so that we may make it safer for patients overall,” Scovner to told ASN’s Kidney News when receiving her fellowship. “The ASN Foundation provides support for those, like me, in the early stages of their research career as well as some of the most innovative contributions occurring in the field of nephrology.”

The program is highly selective, with an annual funding rate of only 22 percent of applications. Each application is evaluated by the quality of the candidate, including recommendation letters and past productivity. In addition, they are reviewed in terms of the research project, the proposal’s scientific value and feasibility, as well as the research environment, assessing the commitment of the institution associated with the proposed study.

“I was wondering how to move forward in my research career until I received the prestigious Ben J. Lipps fellowship award,” said Nabin Poudel, PhD, whose work examined the mechanism of acute kidney injury (AKI) with a focus on finding new treatments. “My long-term goal is to transition to an independent investigator in the field of AKI research and to train the next generation of investigators.”

The complete list of Ben J. Lipps Research Fellowship recipients for 2019 is:

  1. Lakshmi Ganesan, MD, MAS
    Stanford Hospital; Pediatric Peritoneal Dialysis and Uremic Solutes

  2. Kana Miyata, MD
    CRCHUM, University of Montreal; Novel Role of Heterogeneous Nuclear Ribonucleoprotein F (hnRNP F) in Regulation of Sodium-Glucose Cotransporter 2 (Sglt2) Expression in Diabetes

  3. Nabin Poudel, PhD
    University of Virginia; Pannexin1 and Acute Kidney Injury

  4. Katherine Scovner, MD
    Brigham and Women's Hospital; Acid-Base Status of Hospitalized Patients on Maintenance Hemodialysis as a Predictor of Hospital Outcomes

  5. Seyedmohammad Ebrahim Tahaei, PhD
    University of Maryland, Baltimore; Illuminating the Mechanisms that Control Salt Balance in the Face of NCC Inhibition


The complete list of Ben J. Lipps Research Fellowship recipients for 2020 is:

  1. Michael D. Donnan, MD
    Northwestern University
    Defining the Role of Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor 3 (VEGFR3) in the Fenestrated Microvascular Beds of the Kidney

  2. Seolhyun Lee, MD
    Stanford University
    Improved Removal of Protein-Bound Solutes During Hemodialysis by Partial Regeneration of the Dialysate

  3. Kyle McCracken, MD, PhD
    Brigham and Women's Hospital
    Characterization and Manipulation of Proximal Tubule Development In Kidney Organoids

  4. Yuvaram N.V. Reddy, MBBS
    Massachusetts General Hospital
    Novel Methods to Inform Health Care Policy in Home Dialysis

  5. Joshua S. Waitzman, MD, PhD
    Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
    Structure and Molecular Mechanism of Apol1

The complete list of Ben J. Lipps Research Fellowship recipients for 2021 is:  

  1. Fabian Bock, MD, PhD
    Vanderbilt University
    Rac1 and Collecting Duct Repair

  2. Amanda J. Clark, MD
    University of Texas Southwestern
    NAD+ Biosynthesis Impairment in Acute Kidney Injury

  3. Irma Husain, MBBS, MD
    Duke University
    Role of Macrophage AIF-1 in Ischemia Reperfusion Injury and Kidney Allograft Rejection

  4. Felix Poppelaars, MD, PhD
    University of Colorado Denver
    Molecular Imaging: A Novel Tool for Non-Invasive Tracking of Disease Activity in Lupus Nephritis

  5. Ghazal Z. Quinn, MD
    University of Pennsylvania
    Immune Cells in Renal Fibrosis and CKD

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