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Anna Greka, MD, PhD, MHS

The Donald W. Seldin Young Investigator Award will be presented to Anna Greka, MD, PhD, MHS, who will speak on “From Genes to Medicines: The Arc of Discovery for Kidney Diseases” on Saturday, Oct. 24.

Dr. Greka is an associate professor at Harvard Medical School; an associate physician in the renal division at Brigham and Women’s Hospital; and the founding director of Kidney-NExT (Center for Kidney Disease and Novel Experimental Therapeutics). She is also a member of the Broad Institute of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard, where she directs the Kidney Disease Initiative.

Melanie Padgett Powers

The COVID-19 pandemic has upended all areas of society, including medical residency education. Residency programs were forced to change almost overnight this spring, presenting new challenges as teaching went online and some aspects, like electives and clinics, were halted at many institutions. But there were bright spots and technology advances that residency programs may continue to embrace long after the pandemic.

While challenging, moving residency conferences to platforms like Zoom allowed for more participation and flexibility. “Zoom is very convenient; you can log in from anywhere,” said Sylvia Wu, MD, a third-year internal medicine resident at Donald and Barbara Zucker

Bridget M. Kuehn

The same lower income and predominantly minority communities in the South and West sides of Chicago that have the highest density of dialysis units also have the highest numbers of residents testing positive for COVID-19, a recent analysis found (1).

The analysis is part of a growing body of evidence revealing how the health inequities and structural racism that help fuel disproportionately high rates of kidney diseases and other chronic diseases in marginalized communities are also contributing to a disproportionate burden of COVID-19.

“Kidney disease is really just the perfect lens to view health disparities in the United

Tracy Hampton

Individuals with kidney failure may face a higher risk of dying prematurely if they are exposed to air pollution from wildfires, according to new research published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

Large wildfires are occurring more frequently, and smoke generated from these fires contains high concentrations of fine particulate matter and other forms of pollution. When inhaled, fine particulate matter can travel into the respiratory tract and bloodstream and trigger oxidative stress and inflammation that may contribute to poor health, especially in sensitive populations including the elderly and individuals with chronic health conditions.

Studies

Ruth Jessen Hickman

Bioengineering innovations to decrease failure rates of arteriovenous fistulas and grafts, improved infection control measures in catheter-based and peritoneal dialysis, and a new hemodialysis system designed for home use were the prize-winning “Redesign Dialysis Phase 2” innovations announced at the recent virtual KidneyX Summit.

KidneyX (the Kidney Innovation Accelerator) is a partnership between the American Society of Nephrology and the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to promote innovations in kidney disease prevention, diagnostics, and treatment. Through a series of monetary prize competitions, KidneyX helps speed the development of new medical products by fostering collaboration among patients, health

Eric Seaborg

As COVID-19 patients began to flood New York City area hospitals in February, they developed acute kidney injury (AKI) at rates much higher than anyone expected from a respiratory virus. By mid-April, the need for renal replacement therapy in these patients was pushing the system to the breaking point, as healthcare providers and manufacturers scrambled to find equipment and supplies.

Hospitals used creative means to cope—including contacting the top decision-makers at the largest companies directly to plead for help and finding ways to treat more patients with a limited number of machines.

Because COVID-19 is categorized as a respiratory infection,

Bridget M. Kuehn

When a lecturer at the University of Washington School of Medicine described the use of black race as an adjustment in estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) calculations, it made medical student Naomi Nkinsi uncomfortable. The use of race as a proxy for muscle mass hearkened back to racist comments she’d heard suggesting that black people have more muscle or are otherwise biologically different.

“I was thinking how is this something we are using to measure someone’s kidney function, something that we are using to determine if they can get medication, if they can get transplant or treatment?” said Nkinsi, who

Bridget M. Kuehn

Three-quarters of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 pneumonia developed blood or protein in their urine or acute kidney injury, according to a study at a Chinese hospital. Nearly 1 in 10 of these patients died compared to about 1 in 100 patients without kidney injury (1). Other studies have reported 25% to 27.8% rates of acute kidney injury in patients with severe COVID-19 (2).

These alarming data have created a sense of urgency to efforts to understand the mechanisms that contribute to kidney injury in patients with COVID-19 and to find ways to protect the kidneys and

Additional kidney cores for research purposes can be successfully and safely obtained from 90% of diabetic patients undergoing clinically indicated kidney biopsy, according to a research letter in CJASN.

The authors report an interim analysis from the multicenter Transforming Research in Diabetic Nephropathy (TRIDENT) study, a longitudinal cohort study using direct analysis of kidney tissue to identify biomarkers and new therapeutic targets for diabetic kidney disease. The analysis included data on 176 patients enrolled in TRIDENT. All had clinical indications for kidney biopsy and consented to undergo collection of an additional biopsy core for the study.

Biopsy was performed

Melanie Padgett Powers

Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, had only two confirmed COVID-19 cases by early May, but the pandemic was still hitting its healthcare system hard. With the small city’s War Memorial Hospital mostly shut down and elective procedures postponed, the hospital was on shaky financial ground.

“My biggest concern is how all of this will impact the overall financial viability of our hospital,” said David Jahn, War Memorial president and CEO. In early May, the hospital was projecting revenues would be down for the year by 40%, or $35 million, if the coronavirus shutdown continued. The loss is not sustainable, Jahn said.