SAN DIEGO—The American Society of Nephrology (ASN) recognized contributions to the field with the presentation of awards here at the society's Kidney Week 2012.
Dolph Chianchiano, JD, MPA, Health Policy Advisor for the National Kidney Foundation (NKF), was honored with the ASN President's Medal. The President's Medal “recognizes outstanding leadership and accomplishment in kidney care,” honoring “those whose personal and professional contributions have propelled advances that benefit the kidney community and help improve the lives of people with kidney disease,” the society noted. It is awarded only at the discretion of the ASN Council.
“For more than 30 years, Dolph Chianchiano has served the National Kidney Foundation and the kidney community,” said Ronald J. Falk, MD, during the award presentation. Dr. Falk is now Past President of the ASN.
“In addition to decades of services as a strong and effective advocate for kidney patients, Dolph Chianchiano was the heart and soul of NKF's research program. Under his inspired leadership, the program expanded to include not only grants to physicians and scientists but to other members of the health care team, such as nurses, technicians, dietitians, and social workers.”
During Mr. Chianchiano's time as administrator of NKF's research program, about $80 million in grants were awarded, and he oversaw the distribution of about 1,100 NKF fellowships, which have helped build the careers of kidney professionals.
Ernest M. Wright, PhD, DSc, Professor of Physiology and Mellinkoff Professor of Medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, was recognized with the Homer W. Smith Award. The Award is presented annually to an individual who has made outstanding contributions to the science of nephrology, including the understanding of the pathobiology, cellular and molecular mechanisms, and genetics influencing the function and diseases of the kidney. It is named for “one of the major intellectual forces in renal physiology,” the ASN noted.
Dr. Wright was first to identify sodium–glucose transporter (SGLT) proteins, and his research team cloned intestinal and renal transporters SGLT1 and SGLT2. This led to studies identifying mutations in the SGLT1 gene that cause glucose-galactose malabsorption. Today, Dr. Wright's work is focused on understanding diabetic drug interactions with SGLTs in the kidney and intestine.
“Dr. Wright's careful analysis, creative research, and career-long focus are some of the strengths that make his great success possible,” the award presentation noted. “They have earned him the respect of his colleagues: researchers and nephrologists around the world.”
Donald E. Kohan, MD, PhD, Professor of Medicine at the University of Utah School of Medicine, was honored with the Robert G. Narins Award for contributions to the education of nephrologists.
Dr. Kohan cultivated higher standards of achievement for the ASN's educational program. He was the society's first Director of Education for Fellowship Training, and he initiated the development of nephrology fellowship curricula. In addition, Dr. Kohan served as the long-time Chair of ASN's Training Program Directors Executive Committee, putting together a course to prepare incoming training program directors and developing websites for both program directors and nephrology fellows. He also helped develop nephrology guidelines for the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education.
Thomas D. DuBose Jr., MD, the Tinsley R. Harrison Professor and Chair of Internal Medicine at Wake Forest School of Medicine, was presented with the John P. Peters Award. The award, which is named for one of the fathers of nephrology, recognizes individuals who have made substantial research contributions to the field and have sustained achievements in one or more areas of academic medicine, including clinical care, education and leadership.
Dr. DuBose, who is also Professor of Physiology and Pharmacology at Wake Forest, has focused his research on identifying the factors governing the regulation of tubule transporters, which have been implicated in monogenic diseases associated with renal tubular acidosis, chronic metabolic acidosis of chronic progressive kidney disease, and abnormalities in potassium balance and blood pressure regulation. He served as ASN President in 2006.
Nathan W. Levin, MD, Attending Physician at Beth Israel Medical Center and Professor of Medicine at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, received the Belding H. Scribner Award “for his exceptional insight into the understanding of dialysis and dedication to improving care for kidney patients.” The award is named for the physician who developed the arteriovenous shunt that first made long-term hemodialysis for chronic renal failure possible.
Dr. Levin is the founder of the Renal Research Institute (RRI), and he served as its Medical and Research Director. He cochaired the NKF Kidney Disease Outcomes Quality Initiative (KDOQI) and is a member of the Executive Committee of Kidney Disease: Improving Global Outcomes (KDIGO). In addition, Dr. Levin is Cochair of the Dialysis Committee of the International Society of Nephrology and is a member of the Steering Committee of the Dialysis Outcomes and Practice Patterns Study (DOPPS) and the Medical Advisory Board of the American Association of Kidney Patients.
Tobias B. Huber, MD, of Freiburg University Medical Center in Germany, received the Young Investigator Award for his work in podocyte biology.
The award is presented “to an individual with an outstanding record of achievement and creativity in basic or patient-oriented research related to the functions and diseases of the kidney. This award is cosponsored by the American Society of Nephrology and the Council on the Kidney of the American Heart Association and is limited to individuals … age 45 or younger on December 31 of the year during which the award is presented,” the society noted. It consists of a certificate of recognition, an unrestricted grant of $5,000 to the laboratory of the recipient, and paid travel expenses to the meeting.
Dr. Huber and his team use transgenic mouse models and other model organisms to understand the signaling pathways that regulate the development, maintenance, and disease progression of the glomerulus. This knowledge is applied to the identification of novel therapeutic targets for human glomerular diseases.