Researcher to Receive Homer W. Smith Award

Martin R. Pollak, MD


Acclaimed researcher Martin R. Pollak, MD, will be presented the Homer W. Smith Award, which recognizes outstanding contributions to understanding how kidneys function in normal and diseased states, on Friday, Nov. 3.

Dr. Pollak will speak on “Kidney Disease Genetics: From Rare to Common Variants.” He is professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and chief of the division of nephrology at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

His research has focused on the genetic basis of kidney disease, with a particular interest in identifying and understanding the genes involved in the development of focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) in humans. Intrigued by the high rate of FSGS and hypertension-associated kidney disease in African Americans, he and his collaborators recently showed that common coding sequence variants in the APOL1 gene explain much of the high rate of kidney disease in people of recent African ancestry.

A second major focus of his study has been the extracellular calcium receptor. Dr. Pollak cloned the human calcium-sensing receptor gene and demonstrated that defects in this receptor cause three distinct disorders of extracellular calcium homeostasis.

An active member of ASN, he has served on the genetics subcommittee, program committee, and basic science committee. For the National Institutes of Health (NIH), he has served on an FSGS task force and advisory committees on CRISPR gene editing technology.

Dr. Pollak has served as a consulting editor for the Journal of Clinical Investigation and is on the editorial boards of the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology and Kidney International.

He has been recognized with the Marilyn Farquhar Award for Podocyte Biology by the NephCure Foundation and physician scientist awards from NIH. In addition to his research and clinical activities, Dr. Pollak teaches medical students, residents, and fellows.

A graduate of the New York University School of Medicine, Dr. Pollak completed an internal medicine residency at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center and a nephrology fellowship at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the department of genetics at Harvard Medical School.

October/November 2017 (Vol. 9, Number 10 & 11)