Section Chief’s Welcome
Welcome to The University of Chicago Section of Nephrology website. Our Section is comprised of nineteen faculty members, two Ph.D. scientists, and ten postdoctoral fellows in training. U.S News and World Report has consistently recognized our section as one of the top nephrology programs in the country. Our clinical practice is exceptional, varied and includes large programs in hereditary kidney diseases, nephrolithiasis, pharmacogenetics, end-stage renal disease (ESRD), home dialysis, kidney transplantation, acute kidney injury, onco-nephrology, renal ultrasonography, vascular access, glomerular disorders, health outcomes research, and the microbiome.
Our faculty oversee six hemodialysis centers in the Hyde Park vicinity, including an active home dialysis program. Our renal transplant program is the largest solid organ transplant program at University of Chicago with a variety of options for kidney transplantation. We have initiated a transitional dialysis unit where new dialysis patients can be treated while choosing the dialysis modality most suitable for them (in center, home-hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis).The Section carries out a range of translational and clinical research in the areas of hereditary kidney diseases, nephrolithiasis, race-specific differences in cation handling by the kidney, acute kidney injury, nutrition, and ESRD related issues including dialysis access and health disparities. Our basic science research portfolio is equally diverse, including investigations into acute kidney injury, epithelial oxalate transport and the microbiome, renal tubular transport defects and studies of amino acid metabolism in renal epithelia. In the past year, our research faculty have received more than $2.0 million in federal support for research. We have trained a talented group of academic and private nephrologists, and presently we offer multiple training options for fellows interested in both community and academic careers. The pages herein will provide greater detail on each of these topics.
About the Section
The Section of Nephrology at The University of Chicago is comprised of nineteen faculty members, two Ph.D. scientists, ten postdoctoral fellows as well as a staff of over 20 research, administrative and clinical personnel that are devoted to a mission of excellence in patient care, education and research. The nephrology program is ranked #23 by US News and World Report survey of best hospitals in the United States
There are many research opportunities in the Section of Nephrology, and include avenues of investigation in both the clinical and basic sciences. Clinical research programs include NIH-funded studies in autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD), nephrolithiasis, acute kidney injury, hypertension, vitamin D metabolism, metabolic bone disease, renal imaging and vascular access, as well as industry and foundation-sponsored work in end stage renal disease (ESRD), anemia management in chronic kidney disease, transplantation and the role of obesity, the microbiome and urinary cation handling. Translational and basic science research are focused on the areas of acute kidney injury, epithelial oxalate transport, renal epithelial cell biology and amino acid metabolism, proteomics in nephrolithiasis and urinary exosomal studies of tubular cation transport. Our research activities are supported by the National Institutes of Health but also include funding agencies such as the American Heart Association, the Michael Reese Foundation, the Bucksbaum Institute, the PKD Foundation and the Oxalosis Foundation and the Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance.
Education and Training
The multi-faceted academic program offered by the Section of Nephrology includes education for high school students, undergraduates, college graduates, medical students, interns, residents, and fellows and post-doctoral trainees. Continuing medical education for physicians is a core component of our educational services offered. Education within the Section of Nephrology consists of instruction at all levels of clinical care including ambulatory and inpatient services in consult, ESRD, ICU and general medicine, our outpatient dialysis units, dialysis access centers, and laboratories with active student participation.
The Nephrology Fellowship training program is a two year training program and is directed by Dr. Anna Zisman and co-directed by Dr. Ben Ko. Each year four clinical fellows are accepted into the training program and are exposed to a wide range of patients from both University of Chicago and NorthShore Evanston Hospital representing diverse patient populations throughout the city of Chicago.
The Section has a large ESRD program, providing care to over 600 patients including patients being treated in home dialysis and nocturnal in-center dialysis programs. Five of the section’s faculty are outpatient dialysis unit directors at large hemodialysis units in the Hyde Park vicinity – Drs. Mary Hammes, Bharathi Reddy, Rita McGill and Nicole Stankus direct our in-center hemodialysis centers and Dr. Orly Kohn runs our program in chronic ambulatory peritoneal (CAPD) and home hemodialysis.
The University of Chicago has a successful renal transplant program, performing approximately 85 living-related and cadaveric kidney and kidney-pancreas transplants every year. The Section of Nephrology maintains an inpatient transplant service and is responsible for the outpatient care for renal transplant patients in the first year after transplantation with continued contact with the community nephrologist and the patient annually or as needed after that time. The Section is one of very few in the country that has an AST-certified fellowship training program in Transplant Nephrology. The transplant nephrologists are Drs. Michelle Josephson (Program Director), Yousuf Kyeso, Sambhavi Krishnamoorthy and Patrick Cunningham.
The University of Chicago is the home of a PKD Center of Excellence where more than 630 families and 1,500 affected PKD individuals from the Chicagoland area, throughout the United States and internationally are seen. There is a weekly PKD clinic at the University of Chicago DCAM location as well as an every other week PKD clinic in downtown Chicago at the University of Chicago River East location. Telemedicine or remote clinical evaluations are also available. This multidisciplinary clinic works closely with other University of Chicago specialists including genetics, hepatology, radiology, vascular surgery, neurosurgery and neurology, obstetrics, pain services, interventional radiology, kidney and liver transplantation. The University of Chicago and the Department of Human Genetics now provides genetic testing under the supervision of Dr. Daniela Del Gaudio and Shelly Galasinski. Next generation sequencing (NGS) is used to screen approximately 120 kidney disease genes with more 40 cystic disease genes analyzed and includes PKD1, PKD2 and PKHD sequencing capability. Whole exome and whole genome sequencing are also available. All disease causing mutations identified are confirmed with Sanger sequencing. Patients are seen in the PKD clinic by genetic counselors, dieticians, social workers, and nurses who are certified in monitoring Jynarque (Tolvaptan) therapy. The clinic educates trainees at various stages of education including undergraduates, medical students, residents and clinical and research fellows. Through the efforts of Drs. Chapman and Reddy, the PKD Center at the University of Chicago integrates clinical care with clinical and translational research in polycystic kidney disease, polycystic liver disease, and informs our basic science research programs.
The University of Chicago sports a large comprehensive multidisciplinary referral ambulatory chronic kidney disease clinic with support and care provided by dieticians (Melanie Betz), social workers (Akila King), genetic counsellors, and renal ultrasound specialists (Dr. Pat Cunningham). This multidisciplinary clinic provides complete care to patients with chronic kidney disease. This one stop shop allows patients more partnering and independence in managing their chronic kidney disease.
The University of Chicago Medicine provides a high level of inpatient nephrologic care in the medical wards and in the intensive care units. As such, we see a considerable number of patients with acute kidney injury receiving both intermittent and continuous renal replacement therapy in a variety of settings including those in our trauma units as well as in our ECMO/LVAD patient populations. The Section has both NIH and industry-sponsored trials in the pharmacological management of acute kidney injury. With recent NIH funding from NIDDK, Dr. Jay Koyner is now evaluating real time patient data that preemptively predicts the development of acute kidney injury on the medical wards.
The University of Chicago has a world-renowned program in the research and clinical management of nephrolithiasis. This program is headed by Dr. Elaine Worcester, and includes Drs. Fred Coe, Anna Zisman, Ben Ko, Megan Prochaska and Kristen Bergsland. Over 4,000 patients with kidney stones are followed in this program, which allows a wealth of research opportunities, as well as state-of-the-art medical and surgical management of any type of kidney stone.