ASN Celebrates 2021 Lifetime and Midcareer Award Recipients
Congratulations to the recipients of the 2021 American Society of Nephrology Lifetime and Mid-Career Awards. They have helped to improve the lives of patients with kidney diseases; advanced research, treatments, and patient care; and mentored trainees and junior faculty.
"I am honored to congratulate the outstanding professionals recognized below, recipients of the 2021 American Society of Nephrology Lifetime and Midcareer Awards.
These award recipients have focused untold hours, tremendous skills, creativity, and dedication to improve the lives of patients with kidney diseases. While advancing research, treatments, and patient care, they have mentored trainees and junior faculty who will carry forth and build upon their pioneering work.
Nephrologists and kidney scientists are tenacious in applying excellence to everything they do. The awardees honored below have done that, and much more. They inspire us because of their expertise and talent combined with immense respect for patients, their peers, and a commitment to build up the entire kidney community, not just their own work.
Please join me in congratulating this years’ outstanding individuals."
Jonathan Himmelfarb, MD, FASN
Dr. Jonathan Himmelfarb is currently Professor of Medicine, adjunct Professor of Bioengineering, Director of the Kidney Research Institute, Co-Director of Center for Dialysis Innovation, and holds the Joseph W. Eschbach MD Endowed Chair for Kidney Research in the Department of Medicine, Division of Nephrology, University of Washington. He is the author of more than 320 highly cited scientific publications.
Dr. Himmelfarb’s research and clinical achievements are internationally recognized, and he has been a tour de force for patient advocacy and well-being, and improving kidney care.
As the inaugural Director of the Kidney Research Institute (KRI), Dr Himmelfarb has built a highly successful, team science based clinical and translational research program, and has led efforts to engage patients as participants in the design of research, as well as developed and mentored physician scientists who are conducting groundbreaking clinical and basic research.
Dr. Himmelfarb’s research spans diverse areas that have propelled major advances in kidney research and care. He was one of the first investigators to examine the adverse effects from the use of bioincompatible cellulosic hemodialysis membranes. In a series of seminal publications, he improved understanding regarding how the loss of kidney function directly contributes to increased oxidative stress, inflammation, insulin resistance and endothelial dysfunction, and ultimately cardiovascular risk in kidney disease. Dr Himmelfarb has pioneered major vascular access research since the 1990’s. His work has also changed practice relative to treating acute kidney injury (AKI), publishing a series of landmark studies examining the epidemiology of AKI.
Dr. Himmelfarb helped develop microphysiological systems (MPS) for kidney disease modeling and drug efficacy and toxicity testing. He co-founded the Center for Dialysis Innovation (CDI) creating substantial technical progress and bringing together dialysis innovators from around the world to advance technologies in a pre-competitive space. His current investigations include developing new disease ontologies, disease classification systems, and treatments for acute kidney injury and chronic kidney disease.
Dr. Himmelfarb received his medical degree from the George Washington University School of Medicine, completed his residency at Maine Medical Center, and completed his nephrology fellowship at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
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
Krzysztof Kiryluk, MD
Dr. Krzysztof Kiryluk is an Associate Professor of Medicine at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. He has authored 112 papers and led major progress in the field of IgA nephropathy, kidney transplantation and membranous nephropathy. His research is remarkably wide-ranging, and has provided novel insights in multiple areas.
His first major contribution focused on the genetics of IgA nephropathy, demonstrating that geographic differences in the prevalence of this disease can be explained by variation in common genetic risk variants, helping re-orient the field towards studies of mucosal immunity and host pathogen interactions. He extended this work to study the genetics of defective IgA glycosylation, a fundamental biochemical abnormality in IgA nephropathy, and identified 2 genes influencing this biochemical defect. He is investigating the genetics of kidney transplant rejection, advancing understanding of basic transplant immunology and introducing a paradigm shift in clinical care through a novel risk stratification scheme. His work also provides a framework for identifying new histocompatibility loci for solid organ transplantation.
Most recently, Dr. Kiryluk assembled a consortium to study the genetics of membranous nephropathy, opening new opportunities for clinical diagnosis, risk stratification, as well as highlighting pathways in disease pathogenesis and suggesting new therapeutic targets. He has developed a novel electronic algorithm to detect undiagnosed kidney disease by scanning of health record data.
Dr. Kiryluk completed his medical degree and Masters in Biosciences at Columbia University. He completed his residency at the Massachusetts General Hospital and his nephrology fellowship training at New York Presbyterian/Columbia University.
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
Melissa H. Little, PhD
Professor Little is an extraordinarily accomplished investigator who serves as the Theme Director of Cell Biology and Senior Principal Research Fellow at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute in Melbourne, Australia, and Professor of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences at the University of Melbourne. She has pioneered methods for the recreation of human kidney tissue from human pluripotent stem cells – commonly referred to as kidney organoids - advancing disease modeling, drug screening, and human developmental nephrology.
Professor Little has authored more than 260 publications. Early on she helped define the genetic basis of the pediatric renal neoplasm, Wilms’ tumor, and then began to focus more broadly on kidney development. She has been instrumental in defining the transcriptional networks active during metanephric development, identifying novel genes involved in this process and defining the outcome of mutations in patterning and function. She has developed quantitative high resolution imaging techniques that have improved the accuracy with which a subtle developmental defect can be analyzed, resulting in mathematical models of normal development. Her work has revealed the highly motile and migratory nature of cells during organogenesis. She performed some of the earliest studies examining whether there are renal stem cells present in the postnatal kidney, identifying and characterizing potential stem cells within the adult kidney.
Based upon an extensive understanding of the molecular basis of normal kidney organogenesis, she has successfully developed protocols for the directed differentiation of human pluripotent stem cells. Her team described stepwise methods for generating human kidney organoids from pluripotent stem cells, showing transcriptional and structural equivalence to the human fetal kidney. Her discoveries have been widely adopted and applied by many other groups to model kidney disease.
Professor Little has developed and encouraged collaborations with researchers across the globe. Her approach to research dissemination, including extensive gene expression data, protocols and research tools, has promoted an "open science" culture that has built advances throughout the international community.
Professor Little received her Bachelor of Science in Physiology and her Doctorate of Philosophy in Biochemistry from the University of Queensland.
The Homer W. 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
Donald E. Wesson, MD, FASN, MBA
Dr. Wesson is Professor of Medicine at Texas A&M University and President of DEW Consulting. His pioneering research, and multiple leadership roles in academic medicine and clinical care have advanced nephrology, science and medicine, and public policy.
Dr. Wesson’s research career has centered on the role of the kidney in maintaining acid-base and electrolyte homeostasis, and is a remarkable example of bench-to-bedside translation. He has investigated the bidirectional transport of bicarbonate along the proximal and distal nephron, publishing a series of seminal papers. His pioneering studies established the role of endogenous endothelins as mediators of distal tubular acidification, and connected renal endothelin generation with dietary acid consumption, advancing understanding of CKD progression.
Dr. Wesson served as President of the Baylor Scott & White Health and Wellness Center, Senior Vice President of Baylor Scott & White Weight Management Services, and Professor of Medicine at Texas A&M University College of Medicine in Dallas, Texas. He was Chief Academic Officer of Baylor Scott & White Health and Vice Dean of Texas A&M University College of Medicine, and the S.C. Arnett Professor of Medicine and Chair of the Department of Internal Medicine at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center.
Through all these leadership roles he has propelled system-wide improvements in care delivery and improved care of underserved and under-resourced communities. He led strategies that reduced rising rates of emergency department use and inpatient hospitalization, and helped create a level-three primary care clinic in a city recreational center – a remarkably successful integration of social determinants of health within a population health strategy.
He served on the Board of Directors of the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM)
and its Foundation, is past Chair of the ABIM Board and of the ABIM Foundation leading the incorporation of testing competence in the care of underserved and vulnerable populations, advancing approaches to professional ethics, and designing the structure of the “Choosing Wisely” campaign.
He was an inaugural member of the ASN Public Policy Advisory Board, and Secretary-Treasurer the ASN Council. His vision and leadership were central to improving ASN's focus on diversity and inclusion, co-chairing the ASN Diversity and Inclusion Work Group and promoting its elevation a standing committee, and helping establish the ASN-Amos Medical Faculty Development Program partnership with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
Dr. Wesson completed his medical degree and residency at Baylor College of Medicine, his nephrology fellowship at the University of Illinois College of Medicine and received his Master’s of Business Administration from the University of Texas, Austin.
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
Joanne M. Bargman, MD
Dr. Joanne Bargman is a Professor of Medicine and Director of Peritoneal Dialysis for the University Health Network at the University of Toronto. She is renowned for worldwide contributions to teaching and education in nephrology. In the past 27 years, the Division of Nephrology at the University of Toronto has trained more than 400 international trainees from over 40 countries and influenced future leaders across several continents.
Dr. Bargman has achieved numerous teaching awards for undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate teaching, including the Canadian Society of Nephrology Educator of the Year, Mitchell Halperin Award for Educational Excellence, University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine Postgraduate Teaching Award, and the Dean A.L. Chute Award. She has won numerous awards from national and international societies for her scholarship and commitment to improving patient outcomes.
She has led nephrology education for undergraduate medical students, core internal medicine, post-graduate training program for the Division of Nephrology and chaired the Departmental Educational Committee at Toronto General Hospital. Dr. Bargman has given over 880 international talks at leading meetings, and is a frequent lecturer across Canada, educating professionals about all aspects of home dialysis. She also leads the Canadian PD university. She has published 317 manuscripts and is currently an Associate Editor for the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.
Dr. Bargman also devotes considerable time and expertise to mentoring junior faculty and advancing their careers. Many of those she has mentored have pursued successful careers in nephrology with a focus on peritoneal dialysis and are themselves highly regarded teachers, clinicians, and researchers.
In her work as an educator, she is always curious, always asking critical questions and challenging herself and others to be better physicians and investigators. Her continued and unwavering support for teaching and education over her entire career embodies the focus of the Narins award.
Dr. Bargman received her medical degree from the University of Toronto School of Medicine, completed her residency at St. Michael’s Hospital, and her nephrology fellowship at Stanford University School of Medicine.
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 Midcareer Awards
ASN Distinguished Clinical Service Award
Maureen E. Brogan, MD
Dr. Maureen Brogan is an Associate Professor of Medicine at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Medical Director of the DaVita Allerton Dialysis Unit.
Throughout her career she has won numerous residency and fellowship teaching awards, and for several years served as she served as the Nephrology Fellowship Program Director for Westchester Medical Center/ New York Medical College.
Dr. Brogan quickly became one of the most respected medical educators at New York Medical College, receiving the Medical Student and/or Resident Teaching Awards every year from 2004-2010. She served as the Director of the Nephrology Clinic at Westchester Medical Center from 2003-2018, and despite her responsibilities in a busy clinical group practice, she served as the Nephrology Fellowship Program Director for Westchester Medical Center/ New York Medical College from 2006-2016.
At Montefiore Medical Center she has developed new, and improved existing, protocols for delivery of continuous kidney replacement therapies (CKRT), improved quality/processes of care and medical documentation, and established new workflows to improve care of inpatients receiving peritoneal dialysis. In addition to serving as teaching attending on clinical services and fellow clinics, she gives several lectures each year to our fellows and has taken
action to improve the training of nephrology fellows in dialysis catheter placement and has improved their training in quality improvement initiatives.
During the COVID 19 pandemic she worked tirelessly to modify and rework services and workflows to address unexpected care and staffing needs, and worked across departments to re-route and train staff to serve ICU and other crisis care need. In large part because of her heroic efforts, even at the height of the pandemic surge, all patients who needed it received dialysis.
Dr. Brogan received her medical degree from the SUNY Health Science Center in Brooklyn, and completed her residency and nephrology fellowship at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.
Michelle A. Hladunewich, MD, MS, FASN
Dr. Michelle A. Hladunewich is a Professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto. She has developed a clinical and research program in women’s health and rare glomerular diseases, garnering a national and international reputation. She has published extensively, is an accomplished educator and have given over 100 lectures across the globe.
Her most important priority is patient care, exemplified by her clinical service to women with pregnancy complicated by chronic kidney disease. She has built the largest Pregnancy and Kidney Disease clinic in Canada as well as globally. Within this multidisciplinary clinic shared with Maternal Fetal Medicine, she manages over 100 very high-risk pregnancies annually and consults across the globe, and works with patients with kidney disease who are either planning a pregnancy, are pregnant or are being followed in the postpartum period. She has established a database collecting ongoing prospective data and presented these findings nationally and internationally. She has advanced collaborations between women’s health and glomerular disease experts, improving patient care and outcomes, and won numerous awards for her work.
Dr. Hladunewich’s research advances are renowned, and she has been invited to present them nationally and internationally, giving over 100 lectures across the globe. She provided the keynote address at the International Society for the Study of Hypertension in Pregnancy and presented at the inaugural John Davison Lecture in 2014 in the United Kingdom. She has been honored with visiting professorships at Stanford University, Mayo Clinic, University of North Carolina, Northwestern University, and the University of Pennsylvania, and she developed and co-chaired a course entitled “Women’s Health Across the Decades” for the American Society of Nephrology.
Hladunewich completed her Doctor of Medicine at the University of Alberta, her internal medicine training at the University of Toronto, and her Critical Care and Nephrology Fellowships at Stanford 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
Ursula C. Brewster, MD
Dr. Ursula Brewster is an Associate Professor of Medicine and Nephrology Fellowship Training Director at Yale University School of Medicine. She has taken on the many challenges inherent to the role of fellowship director, and her energy, passion and innovative spirit have created tremendous success. Her approach is now modeled by fellows who trained with her and are now carrying forward that energy and dedication at other institutions.
At the fellowship level, Dr. Brewster developed a curriculum for teaching complex renal physiology that has resulted in a greater depth of understanding of patient care by fellows, reflected in measurable improvements in their in-training scores. She single-handedly created and now directs the Peters Firm, a nephrology teaching service for medicine residents. This firm has been repeatedly recognized for its excellence in patient-centered care, and is always a very popular rotation for residents. She has also devoted considerable time and expertise to residency education as a mentor and frequent lecturer.
Dr. Brewster collaborates and engages with program directors across the country to help innovate in the field of education. Since 2014, she has been active on the planning committee of the Annual Program Directors Retreat, and she developed and led an annual session using case-based teaching sessions to help orient new program directors.
She created numerous innovations in her own programs as well as collaborations with other institutions. In 2019, she travelled to Kampala, Uganda (a country with 8 nephrologists for 40 million people) to launch an educational collaborative with nephrologists at Makerere University and Mulago Hospital. She petitioned and received ACGME approval for a fellowship rotation there, and later that year sent her first fellow there. In 2020, in collaboration with colleagues at Penn and UNC, Dr. Brewster was part of an AIRE (Advancing Innovation in Residency Education) application to the ACGME to establish a new training pathway that combines nephrology and palliative care training two-year program. Also in the last year she has worked tirelessly to build and maintain connections in more remote environment imposed by the pandemic.
Dr. Brewster received her undergraduate degree at Yale University, and her medical degree at Dartmouth University School of Medicine. She completed her residency and nephrology Fellowship at Yale University School of Medicine.
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 acquired special knowledge to stay informed of the latest advances in clinical care and research.
ASN Distinguished Leader Award
Cynthia Delgado, MD, FASN
Dr. Cynthia Delgado is Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of California at San Francisco, Associate Chief of Nephrology at the San Francisco VA, Chair of the ASN Diversity and Inclusion Committee, and Co-Chair of the combined ASN-NKF Task Force on Reassessing the Inclusion of Race in Diagnosing Kidney Diseases.
Her research examines the interplay of physical frailty, chronic kidney disease, and clinical outcomes. Her leadership activities center on program improvement and mentoring and supporting trainees from racial and ethnic minority groups. She led a series of process and program improvements at the San Francisco VA nephrology clinic, and was named Nephrology Outpatient Clinic Director. She now serves as Director of Dialysis and Associate Chief of Nephrology at the San Francisco VAMC. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she led the Veterans Integrated Service Network nephrology response, creating contingency plans for dialysis units across northern California and Hawaii, including remote delivery of care, staff coverage and supply chain challenges. Her leadership helped ensure that patients continued to receive essential kidney care.
She devotes considerable time and expertise to mentoring trainees, medical students, and college students, including serving as a volunteer preceptor with medical students caring for the uninsured.
Dr. Delgado chairs the ASN Committee on Diversity and Inclusion, leading a growing array of programs improving diversity and inclusion throughout the kidney community. As Co-Chair of the ASN-NKF Task Force on Reassessing the Inclusion of Race in Diagnosing Kidney Diseases, she has led a complex, thoughtful and rigorous assessment process that will serve as a model for many disciplines addressing necessary corrections to, and replacements for, race-based algorithms.
Dr. Delgado completed her medical degree at the University of Medicine and Dentistry. She completed her residency training in internal medicine at the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, and completed her nephrology fellowship at the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine.
Sylvia E. Rosas, MD, MS, FASN
Dr. Sylvia Rosas is an Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. She is the Director of the Latino Kidney Clinic and an investigator at the Clinical, Behavioral and Outcomes Research Section at Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston.
Her research has focused on cardiovascular disease, coronary calcification and erectile dysfunction in patients with chronic kidney disease. She is a principal investigator in the APOL1 Long-term Kidney Transplantation Outcomes Network (APOLLO) and PI for the Kidney Precision Medicine Program Chronic Kidney Disease recruitment site at Joslin Diabetes Center, working to ethically obtain and evaluate human kidney biopsies in order to create a kidney tissue atlas. She has over 100 peer-reviewed publications, and serves on the editorial board of the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.
Dr. Rosas is President-Elect of the National Kidney Foundation, has held leadership roles in multiple national organizations, and served on a number of committees within the NIH/NIDDK Network of Minority Health Research Investigators. She has mentored over 20 fellows and medical students, and was a member of a Harvard Task force charged with promoting anti-racism in the medical school admissions process. She has been involved with the National Hispanic Medical Association and Women in Nephrology, and spearheaded a variety of efforts to increase interest, diversity, and inclusion in nephrology careers.
She has served as Chair of the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN)/United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) Minority Affairs Committee. The Minority Affairs Committee identifies and considers aspects of organ procurement, allocation, and transplantation with the potential to positively impact care of impact minority and vulnerable populations.
Dr. Rosas received her medical degree from Colegio Mayor de Nuestra Seňora del Rosario, Bogotá, Colombia, and completed her residency at Reese Hospital at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and completed her nephrology fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania. She obtained a Master’s in Clinical Epidemiology at the University of Pennsylvania.
Michael J. Ross, MD, FASN
Dr. Michael J. Ross is Professor of Medicine, Professor of Developmental and Molecular Biology, and Chief of the Division of Nephrology at Montefiore Medical Center/ Albert Einstein College of Medicine.
Dr. Ross is a national leader in research related to HIV-associated kidney diseases. His research centers on the mechanisms underlying HIV-associated nephropathy, and he has published over 50 original publications. He served as Deputy Editor of Kidney International, as well as multiple NIH study sections and international grant review panels. He has served on guideline committees for HIV care and given multiple invited talks around the world.
Under his guidance, the nephrology division at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Medical Center has expanded its NIH funding and clinical services. During the COVID-19 surge in the spring of 2020, Dr. Ross was instrumental in leading the division’s response. He went out of his way to support health care professionals who developed COVID, assist ICU staff struggling to care for COVID patients, and worked with a variety of organizations to address supply and staffing shortages.
Dr. Ross has long been a leader in nephrology education. He has mentored countless trainees, and been instrumental in their career development. He co-chaired the American Society of Nephrology’s Training Program Directors Committee on the NRMP Match and led Nephrology to re-enter the Medical Specialties Match in 2008. He continued to lead the subspecialty through the match process, at a particularly important time with fewer trainees choosing to pursue nephrology fellowship.
He has been Nephrology Section Editor for the American College of Physicians Medical Knowledge Self-Assessment Program. He was the Training Program Director for the Nephrology Fellowship at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai for over 10 years and his former trainees are now Division Chiefs and funded investigators across the country.
Dr. Ross received his medical degree at the New York University School of Medicine, completed his residency at the Duke University School of Medicine, and his nephrology fellowship at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine.
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
Kerri L. Cavanaugh, MD, MPH
Dr. Kerri L. Cavanaugh is an Associate Professor of Medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and a Vanderbilt Center for Health Services Research Scholar.
Her research focuses on focusing on understanding and addressing significant problems with complex patients’ engagement with the healthcare system. She has an extensive publications record, is a highly-sought speaker at national and international levels, has served on multiple editorial boards, and has led key collaborations that have advanced health services research.
Her willingness to serve as a resource and support for junior investigators in nephrology is remarkable. To date she has mentored 3 undergraduate students, 13 medical students/residents, 3 graduate students, and 10 post-doctoral fellows who all currently hold an academic faculty position, and has published over 30 manuscripts with these mentees as first authors.
Dr. Cavanaugh’s mentorship includes providing a research environment that supports rigorous investigation of healthcare practices to ultimately deliver equitable care and eliminate system-level barriers. Under her mentorship, the Nephrology Division at Vanderbilt was awarded its first clinical NIH/NIDDK F32 award, awarded to Dr. Ebele Umeukeje. Dr. Cavanaugh mentored Vanderbilt’s first JD/PhD trainee, Dr. Lauren Beach whose research focuses on the intersection of chronic diseases and sexual gender minority health.
She has served as the Associate Director for a summer training research T35 program, mentoring more than a dozen students, a number of whom have published results from this experience in scientific journals. She has served as co-director of the primary core curriculum clinical conference, renal grand rounds and visiting lectureships programs, and developed new processes to ensure diverse representation in program content and speakers.
She provides clinical mentorship through weekly teaching at the Nashville VA and provides leadership to support community-based kidney health screenings. Her rigorous approach to education and mentoring ensures consistent and excellent delivery of care for all patients.
Dr. Cavanaugh received her medical degree from Yale University School of Medicine, and completed her residency and nephrology fellowship at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
Michelle Denburg, MD, MSCE
Dr. Michelle Denburg is Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Director or Research in the Division of Nephrology, and Senior Scholar in the Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
Dr. Denburg’s expertise in clinical research, including analyses of large secondary databases, ancillary studies to existing cohorts, and observational, translational, and interventional patient-oriented studies has provided a rich array of resources and support for her mentees. She is Co-Principal Investigator of the Chronic Kidney Disease Biomarkers Consortium, leading efforts to identify novel biomarkers for CKD progression in children, and leads a multi-institutional
Pediatric Glomerular Disease Learning Health System through the PEDSnet clinical data research network. She is currently the Co-PI of the CHOP P50 Pediatric Center of Excellence in Nephrology, leveraging the power of a learning health system to overcome barriers to implementing clinical trials in children with kidney disease. She also co-leads an NIH funded study to investigate the microbiome of children with kidney stones to better understand contributing factors to stone formation.
Through the aforementioned leadership and research roles, Dr. Denburg has devoted considerable time, expertise and resources to mentoring medical students, pediatric residents, a variety of subspecialty fellows, including several pediatrics urologists. Her support and commitment have advanced their ability to successfully write manuscripts, submit grants, and launch their research careers. In 2020, she was awarded the Carole Marcus Mid-Career Award to Promote Career Development and Mentoring in Pediatric Research by Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
Dr. Denburg received her medical degree from the Weill Medical College of Cornell University, her Masters of Science in Clinical Epidemiology from the University of Pennsylvania, completed her residency at Columbia University School of Medicine and her pediatric nephrology fellowship at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
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
Jodie L. Babitt, MD
Dr. Jodie L. Babitt is an Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, and Director of Translational Research in the Division of Nephrology at Harvard.
Dr. Babitt has made seminal contributions to the understanding of systemic iron homeostasis, focusing on diagnostic and therapeutic strategies for treating disorders of iron imbalance. She made the breakthrough discovery that hemojuvelin (HJV), a protein that is dysfunctional in juvenile hemachromatosis, acts in conjunction with a bone morphogenic protein (BMP) co-receptor to control expression of the key liver iron regulatory hormone hepcidin. She then determined that liver endothelial cell-derived BMP6 and BMP2 are the key endogenous BMP ligands for HJV. These findings ushered in a cascade of research in this area. Her laboratory has since demonstrated that the BMP-SMAD signaling pathway is central to hepcidin regulation by most of its known signals, including iron, inflammation, and erythropoietic drive, and have uncovered the molecular mechanisms responsible. These discoveries are of critical importance to nephrology.
Recent studies showing erythropoiesis stimulating agents are associated with increased cardiovascular morbidity and mortality have emphasized the need for alternative treatments, and Dr. Babitt is investigating the use of BMP modulating strategies for the treatment of iron homeostasis disorders in human patients. She has received sustained funding from the NIH since 2004, as well as from other sources, and recently received the MGH Research Scholar award. Her discoveries in iron biology were recognized by the prestigious Marcel Simon Award from the International BioIron Society.
Important to her research, Dr. Babitt is highly clinically active, attending on the inpatient Renal ICU, Consult, and Dialysis services for 12 weeks per year. She also fills numerous administrative and leadership roles at her own institution and a variety of national and international societies, and mentors numerous students, trainees, and professionals.
Dr. Babitt received her medical degree from Harvard Medical School, completed her residency at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and completed her nephrology fellowship at the Massachusetts General Hospital/Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
Steven G. Coca, DO, MS
Dr. Steven G. Coca is Associate Professor of Medicine and Associate Chair for Clinical and Translational Research at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.
Dr. Coca’s research accomplishments are diverse and far-reaching: he has focused research efforts on short- and long-term outcomes of acute kidney injury, and assessing performance of biomarkers for rapid diagnosis and risk stratification in AKI. His research has advanced understanding of the clinical utility of prognostic, predictive, and efficacy biomarkers for CKD/diabetic kidney disease in several large cohort studies, including ACCORD, VA NEPHRON-D, CANVAS, and the Mount Sinai BioMe Biobank. Most recently, he has collaborated to advance use of machine-learning techniques and multidimensional data acquisition to create risk-stratification tools for patients at risk or with prevalent chronic kidney disease, and studied the impact of exercise on longitudinal changes in the kidney.
Since 2005, Dr. Coca has published 193 papers, including peer-reviewed research articles, reviews, and editorials, and has given numerous invited talks at national and international conferences and academic medical centers. He has engaged in multiple collaborative efforts in translational and clinical research, and served as a research mentor for 14 nephrology fellows (including 2-year clinical fellows), as well as five post-doctoral fellows, two internal medicine residents, three medical students, and four current junior faculty members.
Dr. Coca maintains substantial teaching responsibilities, including small group sessions for second-year medical students on Renal Pathophysiology, and serves as the Director of the Clinical Conferences for the Division of Nephrology. He also serves on the editorial boards for the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephology, and Kidney International, and as an Associate Editor for Kidney360, and is a frequent reviewer on NIH study sections.
Dr. Coca received his D.O. degree from the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine, and completed his residency and nephrology fellowship at the Yale University School of Medicine. He received his Master of Science in Epidemiology and Public Health from the Yale University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.
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.