ASN Announces 2020 Lifetime Achievement and Midcareer Awards

People who succeed in nephrology exemplify the best in all of us. They relish the intellectual rigor required to advance such a complex area of study and practice; they approach treatment and research challenges with creativity and tenacity, and work daily to enhance quality of life for millions. Most important, kidney professionals imbue their work with compassion and respect for the people whose lives they improve through research, education, and clinical excellence.


People who succeed in nephrology exemplify the best in all of us. They relish the intellectual rigor required to advance such a complex area of study and practice; they approach treatment and research challenges with creativity and tenacity, and work daily to enhance quality of life for millions. Most important, kidney professionals imbue their work with compassion and respect for the people whose lives they improve through research, education, and clinical excellence.

As President of the American Society of Nephrology, I am honored and humbled to share with you this slate of 2020 award recipients. Their achievements also reflect the themes that have shaped this annual meeting – collaboration, innovation, team science, resilience, and the willingness to overcome adversity.

Join me in congratulating these outstanding professionals whose focus on excellence in advancing research, improving care, and inspiring and mentoring colleagues inspires us all.

Anupam Agarwal, MD, FASN
American Society of Nephrology

ASN Lifetime Achievement Awards

Belding H. Scribner Award 2020 recipient

Josef Coresh, MD, PhD, FASN

Josef Coresh, MD, PhD, FASN, is the George W. Comstock Professor of Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Medicine at The Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. He is an international expert in kidney and cardiovascular disease epidemiology, having co-authored over 800 research articles.

His research is diverse, following the blood vessels from the heart to the kidney and the brain, spanning a range of prospective and biomarker studies as well as a clinical trial for correction of hearing loss to delay cognitive decline. He leads the ARIC study at Johns Hopkins, a cohort of 16,000 participants followed since 1988.    

Dr. Coresh was vice-chair of the 2002 NKF guideline whose definition of kidney disease which is now used globally.  With Drs. Levey and Inker he published the equations used for estimating kidney function globally.  He leads the CKD Prognosis Consortium which includes over 80 cohorts and more than 10 million participants from more than 40 countries.

Dr. Coresh received a combined MD and PhD degree in epidemiology, as well as a Master in biostatistics, from Johns Hopkins University.

The Belding H. Scribner Award is presented annually to one or more individuals who have made outstanding contributions that have a direct impact on the care of patients with renal disorders or have substantially changed the clinical practice of nephrology.

Dr. Scribner spent his entire faculty career at the University of Washington in Seattle where he was Head of the Division of Nephrology. He and his co-workers established the world's first out-of-hospital dialysis unit, developing a home hemodialysis program, improving techniques and equipment, and studying the adequacy and complications of kidney diseases. Dr. Scribner’s contributions transformed nephrology.

Dr. Scribner and colleagues played a major role in persuading Congress to fund the Medicare ESRD Program. His scientific contributions, his training of physicians interested in dialysis, attention to ethical concerns, and commitment to the care of patients provide an outstanding example of dedication to the care of people with kidney diseases.


Donald W. Seldin Young Investigator Award  

Anna Greka, MD, PhD

Anna Greka, MD, PhD, is an Associate Professor at Harvard Medical School. She is also the Director of the Broad Kidney Disease Initiative, and the founding director of Kidney-NExT, a Center for Kidney Disease and Novel Experimental Therapeutics at BWH. Dr. Greka’s lab studies the mechanisms of cell survival and metabolic regulation, with an emphasis on calcium signaling and transient receptor potential (TRP) ion channel biology.

Dr. Greka has been the recipient of several honors, including the 2018 Seldin-Smith Award for Pioneering Research from the American Society of Clinical Investigation, a 2017 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, a 2014 Top 10 Exceptional Research Award from the Clinical Research Council, and a 2014 Young Physician-Scientist Award from the American Society of Clinical Investigation Council.

Dr. Greka holds an AB in biology from Harvard College and an MD and PhD in neurobiology from Harvard Medical School.

The Donald W. Seldin Young Investigator Award is presented annually 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 co-sponsored by the American Society of Nephrology and the Council on the Kidney in Cardiovascular Disease of the American Heart Association and is limited to individuals who are age 45 or younger on December 31 of the year during which the award is presented.

The award consists of a certificate of recognition, an unrestricted grant to the laboratory of the awardee, and paid travel expenses to the meeting. The Donald W. Seldin Young Investigator Award recipient also gives a presentation during the plenary session at the annual meeting.


Homer W. Smith Award 

Sir Peter J. Ratcliffe, FRS, FMedSc

Professor Sir Peter J. Ratcliffe, FRS, FMedSc, is a British physician-scientist and nephrologist who studies cellular reactions to hypoxia. In 2019, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, which he shares with Dr. William G. Kaelin, Jr. and Dr. Gregg L. Semenza “for their discoveries of how cells sense and adapt to oxygen availability.”  He is currently Professor of Clinical Medicine at Oxford University and Clinical Research Director of the Francis Crick Institute, retaining a position at Oxford University as member of the Ludwig Institute of Cancer Research and Director of the Target Discovery Institute.

Professor Ratcliffe’s work in renal physiology led to the unexpected discovery that the oxygen sensing process underlying the regulation of erythropoietin production in the kidneys and liver operates across essentially all animal cells, irrespective of the production of erythropoietin, and that it directs a broad range of other cellular and systemic responses to hypoxia.  His current focuses on the biological roles of signalling through protein hydroxylation and related oxidations. 

In addition to the Nobel Prize, Professor Ratcliffe has received a variety of awards and honors, including the Canada Gairdner International Award in 2010 and the Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award in 2016, which he shared with Dr. Kaelin and Dr. Semenza. He was elected to the Royal Society in 2002 and was knighted in 2014.

He received his MD from the University of Cambridge and trained in renal medicine at the University of Oxford. He established a lab at Oxford soon after completing his renal training. Currently, Professor Ratcliffe serves as the director of Oxford’s Target Discovery Institute and clinical research director at the Francis Crick Institute, London.

The Homer Smith Award is presented annually to an individual who has made outstanding contributions that fundamentally affect the science of nephrology. Established in 1964, this award recognizes one of the major intellectual forces in renal physiology.

Dr. Smith spent the majority of his professional career at New York University. As director of the Physiology Laboratories at NYU he developed and refined his concepts of glomerular filtration and tubular absorption and secretion of solutes. These vivid and powerful concepts are the cornerstones of our present understanding of normal and abnormal renal function. He attracted the best and brightest into the field, not only to NYU and to the Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory.

His use of comparative approaches to explain normal human physiology stands as a model for students of biology and scientists attempting to unravel the mysteries of normal and disordered renal function.

John P. Peters Award  

Ravi I. Thadhani, MD, MPH

Ravi I. Thadhani, MD, MPH, is Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Chief Academic Officer and Harvard Medical School Faculty Dean for Academic Programs at Partners HealthCare.  Dr. Thadhani is a highly accomplished clinical and translational investigator.

Dr. Thadhani’s research centers on preeclampsia diagnostics and therapeutics and vitamin D metabolism. He has mentored numerous post-doctoral fellows and made significant contributions to the advancement of women and underrepresented minorities in academic medicine. His laboratory at Massachusetts General Hospital performed observational studies, basic science research and clinical trials focused on identifying new diagnostic approaches and therapeutic interventions for patients with kidney disease and related disorders.

Dr. Thadhani has received numerous honors, including the Harvard Medical School Harold Amos Faculty Diversity Award; the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Alumni Award of Merit; the Shaul Massry Distinguished Lecture Award from the National Kidney Foundation and the ASN Robert W. Schrier Endowed Lecture. He received his MD from the University of Pennsylvania and a Master in Public Health in Epidemiology from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

The John P. Peters Award recognizes individuals who have made substantial research contributions to the discipline of nephrology and have sustained achievements in one or more domains of academic medicine including clinical care, education and leadership.

Dr. Peters spent his entire faculty career at Yale University where he was chief of the Metabolic Division in the Department of Medicine. Building on the principles of his mentor, Donald Van Slyke, Dr. Peters transformed clinical chemistry from a discipline of qualitative impressions to one of precise quantitative measurements. These advances changed the nature of measurements of body fluids into a vital part of the patient examination, capable of great explanatory power. He advanced the view that disease was a quantitative abnormality of normal physiological processes; and that by understanding disease, one could gain deeper understanding of normal processes.

His enduring scientific contributions paralleled his intense commitment to the care of the sick and a fervent mission to ensure that the physician was an advocate for the patient.

Robert G. Narins Award  

Ashita J. Tolwani, MD, MS

Ashita J. Tolwani, MD, MS, is a Professor of Medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) and Associate Director of ICU Nephrology.

Dr. Tolwani's teaching expertise has been recognized nationally and internationally. Dr. Tolwani heads the Continuous Renal Replacement Therapy (CRRT) program at UAB and leads the UAB CRRT Academy for trainees, practicing physicians, and nurses across the United States. She has led workshops on curriculum development and created teaching tools as a member of the ASN Program Directors Executive Committee. She wrote the UAB Fellowship Manual, which helps training directors work collaboratively and meet necessary program requirements. She has also served as faculty for the ASN Board Review Course where she has lectured on acute renal replacement therapy and ICU nephrology. She has long participated on the ASN ITE Question Writing Committee and authored peer-reviewed articles relative to this work.

Dr. Tolwani is founder and director of the UAB Continuous Renal Replacement Therapy Academy. This is the only national CRRT training course that offers hand-on training with mannequins as well as a pre- and post-examination, providing a practical understanding of CRRT to fellows and attending physicians, critical care fellows, surgeons, nurses, and pharmacists. Dr. Tolwani also serves on the Editorial Board for the Nephrology Education Section of Clinical Nephrology.

Dr. Tolwani's research interests include acute kidney injury, ICU nephrology, and renal replacement therapy, with a focus on citrate anticoagulation. She has mentored a number of residents, fellows, pharmacists, and students, and inspired medical students to pursue internal medicine residency training

Dr. Tolwani received her MD from the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine and completed her residency and nephrology fellowship training at UAB. She received her Master of Science in Epidemiology from the Harvard School of Public Health.

The Robert G. Narins Award honors individuals who have made substantial and meritorious contributions in education and teaching. This award is named for Robert G. Narins, who is also the first recipient of the award.

Dr. Narins' contributions to education and teaching started in 1967 when he was appointed to the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania. At Penn, and on the faculties of UCLA, Harvard, Temple and Henry Ford Hospital, he taught and mentored many residents and fellows. For eight years he chaired the ABIM's Nephrology Board and also worked on the ACP's Annual Program Committee. His contributions to education in the fields of fluid-electrolyte and acid-base physiology are prodigious and well-recognized.

Dr. Narins created and planned many ASN educational programs including the Board Review Course and Update, one and two-day Kidney Week programs, regional meetings and NephSAP. He also was instrumental in the decision to develop the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (CJASN), establish the Fellow of the American Society of Nephrology (FASN) program, and develop collaborative educational programs with other organizations in the United States and across the globe.

ASN President’s Medal

Gisela Deuter, BSN, MSA
Priti R. Patel, MD, MPH

Gisela Deuter, BSN, MSA,  enabled ASN to develop, launch, and build the Nephrology Self-Assessment Program (nephSAP), helped launch ASN Renal Weekends (now called ASN Highlights), expand educational offerings at ASN Kidney Week, and ensure ASN’s accreditation as a provider of continuing medical education credits by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME). Finally, she helped start the Kidney Self-Assessment Program in 2014.

After receiving her Bachelor of Science degree in nursing from Temple University, Ms. Deuter became a staff nurse at the university's in-patient dialysis unit, assistant nurse supervisor of the dialysis unit, renal research coordinator, and then nursing coordinator for continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis.

Priti R. Patel, MD, MPH, is a medical officer who serves as the Dialysis Activity Leader within the Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

At the CDC, Dr. Patel has supervised multiple outbreaks of healthcare-related infections and other adverse events in dialysis centers and has authored more than 50 peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters, and other scientific publications. Dr. Patel currently leads the CDC’s prevention, surveillance, and response activities related to dialysis patient safety. She oversees the Dialysis Event Surveillance system in NHSN and is a co-founder of CDC’s Dialysis Bloodstream Infection Prevention Collaborative.

ASN awards the ASN President's Medal to individuals who have helped advance ASN's mission to "lead the fight against kidney disease by educating health professionals, sharing new knowledge, advancing research, and advocating the highest quality care for patients." The medal also recognizes individuals who have made contributions, broadly defined, to the kidney community.

ASN Midcareer Awards

ASN Distinguished Clinical Service Award  

Derek M. Fine, MD
Vandana Dua Niyyar, MD, FASN

Derek M. Fine, MD, is an Associate Professor of Medicine at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. His areas of clinical expertise include glomerular kidney disease, particularly lupus nephritis and other immune mediated kidney diseases, HIV-related kidney disease, scleroderma-related kidney disease, acute kidney injury, hyponatremia, kidney biopsy, and rhabdomyolysis.

Dr. Fine serves as the Clinical Director of the Division of Nephrology. He is a member of the Miller Coulson Academy of Clinical Excellence and was named 2018 Physician of the Year at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

Dr. Fine earned his MD at Johns Hopkins. He completed his residency in internal medicine and his fellowship in nephrology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Vandana Dua Niyyar, MD, FASN, is an Associate Professor of Medicine in the Division of Nephrology at Emory University. Dr. Niyyar’s clinical interests center on kidney failure, with specific expertise in dealing with vascular access for hemodialysis patients and renal ultrasonography.

Dr. Niyyar enjoys teaching and has taught numerous didactic presentations and hands-on training workshops regionally, nationally and internationally. In recognition of her teaching, she was nominated to the Academy of Medical Educators at Emory, and serves on its Executive Committee. She has authored numerous manuscripts and is a regular reviewer for multiple nephrology journals. She was recently elected Secretary-Treasurer for the American Society of Diagnostic and Interventional Nephrology, is currently Chair of the Hemodialysis Vascular Access Certification Committee and re-elected for her third consecutive three-year term as an ASDIN Councilor.

After completing her initial medical training in India, she completed her internal medicine residency training at University of Louisville and her nephrology fellowship at Emory University.

The ASN Distinguished Clinical Service Award recognizes individuals who combine the art of medicine with the skills demanded by the scientific body of knowledge in service to patients, exemplifies leadership and excellence in the practice of nephrology, and have initiated or been involved in volunteer programs or has provided volunteer service post-training.


ASN Distinguished Educator Award  

C. John Sperati, MD

C. John Sperati, MD, is an Associate Professor of Medicine at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He is Director of the Nephrology Training Program and co-directs the Johns Hopkins Osler Learning Initiative.

Dr. Sperati’s clinical interests focus on thrombotic microangiopathy including atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome (aHUS), complement mediated kidney diseases including C3 glomerulopathy, secondary and resistant hypertension, glomerulonephritis, and nephrotic syndrome.  He is the site principal investigator for several clinical studies, serves on editorial boards, and is a member of the National Kidney Foundation Education Committee as well as the Nephrology Knowledge Check-in Task Force of the American Board of Internal Medicine.  His clinical expertise has been recognized by induction into the Miller Coulson Academy of Clinical Excellence.

He obtained his MD from The Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine and a Master in health science from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. He completed an internship and residency in internal medicine at the Johns Hopkins Hospital. He subsequently pursued subspecialty training in nephrology at the Johns Hopkins Hospital.

The ASN Distinguished Educator Award honors those who have made substantial and meritorious contributions to clinical or research education in nephrology, to the education and training of trainees and junior faculty, and who have acquire special knowledge to stay informed of the latest advances in clinical care and research.


ASN Distinguished Leader Award  

Holly J. Kramer, MD, MPH
Kathleen D. Liu, MD, PhD, FASN

Holly J. Kramer, MD, MPH, is a Professor of Public Health Sciences and Medicine at Loyola University Medical Center.

Dr. Kramer has largely focused her research on focuses on obesity and kidney disease and genetic variants for kidney disease. She is a co-investigator for the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis. She became co-director of the Clinical Research Methods and Epidemiology Program in 2005, developing several courses for the program, and later became the program director for the Program Director for the MPH Program in 2009.

Dr. Kramer serves as President of the National Kidney Foundation, and served previously on its scientific advisory board, was vice-chair of NKF’s Kidney Disease Outcomes Quality Initiative (NKF KDOQI) Controversies and Commentaries, and served on the program committee for three of NKF’s spring clinical meetings.  In 2016, received NKF’s Garabed Eknoyan Award for her key contributions to NKF’s KDOQI guidelines and for clinical research in kidney disease.

Dr. Kramer received her MD from the Indiana University School of Medicine. She completed her nephrology fellowship at Harvard Medical School.

Kathleen D. Liu, MD, PhD, FASN, is a Professor of Medicine at University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine.

Dr. Liu’s current research areas of interest focus on the predictive and pathogenetic role of biomarkers for both acute and chronic disease states. Her long-term goal is to identify and validate novel biomarkers of organ injury (specifically, the kidney and lung) that may have predictive value for disease outcomes as well as shed important insight into disease pathogenesis. Additionally, she has a major interest in clinical trials in the Intensive Care Unit, with a particular focus on acute lung injury and acute kidney injury.

Dr. Liu has a strong record of mentoring medical students, residents and fellows who want to train for a career in academic medicine. She has established a well- funded independent research program focused primarily on acute kidney injury (AKI), and on the challenge of expanding needed clinical trials for critically ill hospitalized patients.

Dr. Liu received her MD, as well as her PhD in Biochemistry from the University of California, San Francisco. She also earned a M.A.S. in Clinical Research from UCSF.

The ASN Distinguished Leader Award recognizes sustained achievements in leadership and advancing ASN's mission to "lead the fight against kidney disease by educating health professionals, sharing new knowledge, advancing research, and advocating the highest quality of care for patients."This award also recognizes contributions to all areas of medicine, including clinical, educational, research, or administrative efforts.


ASN Distinguished Mentor Award

Sofia B. Ahmed, MD, MS
Thu H. Le, MD  

Sofia B. Ahmed, MD, MS, is a Professor in the Department of Medicine, Cumming School of Medicine at the University of Calgary. 

Dr. Ahmed’s research interests focus on the study of how women and men differ in terms of progression and complications of kidney disease, and how factors such as sleep apnea and nutrition play a role. Her mentoring and supervision of students and trainees has increased research capacity and success in nephrology and cardiovascular sciences. She has organized trainee meetings around the world and received numerous awards for her successful efforts and initiatives in this area.

She is an Alberta Innovates ­Health Solutions Investigator and is leading projects supported by the Kidney Foundation of Canada and the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada.

Dr. Ahmed completed her MD and internal medicine residency at the University of Toronto and a nephrology fellowship at Brigham and Women’s and Massachusetts General Hospital.

Dr. Ahmed completed her Master in medical sciences at Harvard University.

Thu H. Le, MD, is John J. Kuiper Distinguished Professor of Medicine and Chief of the Division of Nephrology at the University of Rochester. As a clinical investigator, she is dedicated to patient care as well as research. She served on the study sections for the American Heart Association and the National Kidney Foundation, and was a regular member of the NIH Genetics of Health and Disease Study Section from 2012-2018.

Dr. Le has mentored dozens of students and trainees, and has guided numerous early career faculty in order to help them achieve success. Her passion for mentorship and dedication to promoting the careers of others have garnered numerous awards for teaching and training excellence, and helped many physician scientists launch successful careers.

Her research focuses on renal mechanisms of hypertension and genetic determinants of susceptibility to kidney disease progression, and examining the effect of genetic variants of collectrin on blood pressure in four different human populations. Dr. Le’s studies may be able to address the decades-old question whether vascular dysfunction in general, and specifically that in the kidney, is a prerequisite for salt sensitivity and/or hypertension. Her laboratory also studies the role of GSTM1 deficiency in chronic kidney disease progression.

Dr. Le received her MD from George Washington University School of Medicine, and completed her internal medicine and nephrology training at Duke University Medical Center.

The ASN Distinguished Mentor Award recognizes individuals who have made contributions to the kidney community through the mentorship and development of other clinicians or researchers. This award recognizes those who have inspired others to pursue nephrology and become leaders in the transformation of healthcare through innovations in research, education, and practice.


ASN Distinguished Researcher Award

Nisha Bansal, MD, FASN
Lesley A. Inker, MD, MS

Shuta Ishibe, MD

Nisha Bansal, MD, FASN, is an Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Washington and Associate Director of the Nephrology Fellowship Program. Her research focuses on the epidemiology and pathophysiology of cardiovascular disease and hypertension in patients with chronic kidney disease. She is interested in the development, diagnosis, consequences and treatment of heart failure and arrhythmias in patients with kidney disease. She leads clinical research that centers on the pathophysiology, treatment and outcomes associated with hypertension and cardiovascular disease at different stages of kidney disease.

Dr. Bansal’s awards and honors include the UW Fialkow Scholars Award, the UW Housestaff Scholarship Mentor Award, the Tufts Medical Center Outstanding Resident Teacher Award, and the Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award.

Dr. Bansal completed medical school at the University of Connecticut and completed her residency at Tufts Medical Center. She completed her nephrology fellowship, and a Master of Advanced Studies in Clinical Research, at the University of California, San Francisco.

Lesley A. Inker, MD, MS, is an Associate Professor of Medicine at Tufts Medical Center and Director of the Kidney and Blood Pressure Center in the William B. Schwartz, M.D. Division of Nephrology. Dr. Inker also directs the Kidney Function Evaluation Center, and the Division of Nephrology’s Quality Improvement Program.

Dr. Inker’s research focuses on implementation of estimated glomerular filtration rate by clinical laboratories, as well as estimating and measuring kidney function — including in specific populations such as the elderly and HIV-positive people. A leader clinical trials end points research, Dr. Inker also served as co-chair of the trial level analytical team for the recent joint workshop with NKF, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and European Medicines Agency on End Points for Clinical Trials in Early Chronic Kidney Disease. 

She has collaborated with NKF on improving chronic kidney disease awareness, and with the National Institutes of Health on improving best practices for glomerular filtration rate reporting.

Dr. Inker received her MD from McMaster University, and completed her residency and fellowship training at the University of British Columbia and Tufts School of Medicine.

Shuta Ishibe, MD, is an Associate Professor of Medicine and of Cellular and Molecular Physiology at the Yale School of Medicine. He also serves as Director, Undergraduate Summer Research Program for Nephrology; Director, Research Fellowship; and Director for Educational Enrichment, George M. O'Brien Center, Nephrology.

Dr. Ishibe's research centers on the mechanism of proteinuria by studying podocytes, and hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), a secreted protein that plays important roles in epithelial morphogenesis, mitogenesis, and motogenesis. In addition, his laboratory investigates cell-matrix biology in his study of podocytes, and evaluating the importance of various interacting partners of known human disease causing mutations that result in nephrotic syndrome. Future directions include studying cell-matrix biology and endocytosis in podocytes, and obtaining human samples to discover novel disease mutations, which may lead to further understanding of disease processes leading to nephrotic syndrome.

Dr. Ishibe is a recipient of the ASN Carl W. Gottschalk Research Scholar Grant. He is an Associate Editor of Kidney360. Dr. Ishibe completed medical school at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, and completed his internal medicine and residency training at Parkland Memorial Hospital.

The ASN Distinguished Researcher Award recognizes individuals who have made substantial research contributions to the discipline of nephrology. Displays innovation and excellence in research to advance the science and/or practice of nephrology.