Lesley A. Inker, MD - 2006 ASN Foundation for Kidney Research-AAIM Junior Development Grant in Geriatric Nephrology Recipient

By ASN Staff

Lesley A. Inker, MD

2006 ASN Foundation for Kidney Research-AAIM Junior Development Grant in Geriatric Nephrology Recipient

Building Bridges that Advance Kidney Care

A psychology professor asking “big questions” put Lesley A. Inker, MD on her path to nephrology. Dr. Inker was attracted to nephrology because it offered her the opportunity to develop long-term relationships with patients and to seek answers to big questions in public health. Her ASN Career Development Grant was a key to making the kind of contributions that mattered.

After medical school and a nephrology fellowship, Dr. Inker moved from Canada to the Boston area for a summer program at the Harvard School of Public Health followed by a two-year research fellowship at Tufts Medical Center.

Under the mentorship of Andrew S. Levey, MD, she joined the Chronic Kidney Disease Epidemiology (CKD-EPI) collaboration which focused on re-examining glomerular filtration rate (GFR) estimation. This was an ambitious goal at a time laboratories were just beginning to report results using the Modification of Diet in Renal Disease (MDRD) Study equation, which had the weakness of being based on data from limited populations. The CKD-EPI equation reflected much more diverse populations, thus providing physicians better decision-making tools.

However, even the improved data omitted community-based elderly—a critical patient group with a high prevalence of risk factors for kidney diseases. Dr. Inker, with the support provided by the ASN Career Development Grant, studied “Accuracy and Reliability of GFR Measurements in the Elderly” building an important bridge to improved clinical care, and opening up professional opportunities for herself as well.

Developing data from which to build future research studies is critical to young investigators with creative, new ideas. It can also be difficult to fund these critical investigations.

Dr. Inker’s Career Development Grant provided financial support to continue at Tufts after her fellowship and because the grant process required that she develop additional mentoring relationships, she expanded her professional network while gaining insights into the nitty-gritty of clinical research.

“The Career Development Grant provided opportunities for experience in research methodologies I would otherwise not have had a chance to pursue,” she says. “I had to plan the study and carry out the details, including recruiting patients, coordinating with the clinical research center, and organizing our research pharmacy. In short, do all the things needed for patient-level research. Understanding how to collect data on the individual patient level is really important for a researcher.”

Dr. Inker is now a recognized expert on GFR as a measure of kidney function. Dr. Inker and Dr. Levey—now working as colleagues—have completed two large studies of GFR measurement in the elderly population.

The KDIGO 2012 Clinical Practice Guideline for the Evaluation and Management of Chronic Kidney Disease  recommends that laboratory reports should use the CKD-EPI estimating equation, recognizing it improves the ability of physicians to provide optimum care to people with kidney diseases. The ASN Foundation for Kidney Research is honored to have played a part in advancing Dr. Inker’s success in improving kidney health.

Dr. Inker is currently an Associate Professor at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston, MA.

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Lesley A. Inker, MD

2006 ASN Foundation for Kidney Research-AAIM Junior Development Grant in Geriatric Nephrology Recipient

Building Bridges that Advance Kidney Care

A psychology professor asking “big questions” put Lesley A. Inker, MD on her path to nephrology. Dr. Inker was attracted to nephrology because it offered her the opportunity to develop long-term relationships with patients and to seek answers to big questions in public health. Her ASN Career Development Grant was a key to making the kind of contributions that mattered.

After medical school and a nephrology fellowship, Dr. Inker moved from Canada to the Boston area for a summer program at the Harvard School of Public Health followed by a two-year research fellowship at Tufts Medical Center.

Under the mentorship of Andrew S. Levey, MD, she joined the Chronic Kidney Disease Epidemiology (CKD-EPI) collaboration which focused on re-examining glomerular filtration rate (GFR) estimation. This was an ambitious goal at a time laboratories were just beginning to report results using the Modification of Diet in Renal Disease (MDRD) Study equation, which had the weakness of being based on data from limited populations. The CKD-EPI equation reflected much more diverse populations, thus providing physicians better decision-making tools.

However, even the improved data omitted community-based elderly—a critical patient group with a high prevalence of risk factors for kidney diseases. Dr. Inker, with the support provided by the ASN Career Development Grant, studied “Accuracy and Reliability of GFR Measurements in the Elderly” building an important bridge to improved clinical care, and opening up professional opportunities for herself as well.

Developing data from which to build future research studies is critical to young investigators with creative, new ideas. It can also be difficult to fund these critical investigations.

Dr. Inker’s Career Development Grant provided financial support to continue at Tufts after her fellowship and because the grant process required that she develop additional mentoring relationships, she expanded her professional network while gaining insights into the nitty-gritty of clinical research.

“The Career Development Grant provided opportunities for experience in research methodologies I would otherwise not have had a chance to pursue,” she says. “I had to plan the study and carry out the details, including recruiting patients, coordinating with the clinical research center, and organizing our research pharmacy. In short, do all the things needed for patient-level research. Understanding how to collect data on the individual patient level is really important for a researcher.”

Dr. Inker is now a recognized expert on GFR as a measure of kidney function. Dr. Inker and Dr. Levey—now working as colleagues—have completed two large studies of GFR measurement in the elderly population.

The KDIGO 2012 Clinical Practice Guideline for the Evaluation and Management of Chronic Kidney Disease  recommends that laboratory reports should use the CKD-EPI estimating equation, recognizing it improves the ability of physicians to provide optimum care to people with kidney diseases. The ASN Foundation for Kidney Research is honored to have played a part in advancing Dr. Inker’s success in improving kidney health.

Dr. Inker is currently an Associate Professor at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston, MA.

Date:
Friday, January 11, 2019