Brenner Lectureship to Look at Glomerular Disease

Martin R. Pollak, MD
A leading researcher into the genetic basis of kidney disease will deliver the Barry M. Brenner, MD, Endowed Lectureship on Thursday, Nov. 13. Martin R. Pollak, MD, will speak on “APOL1 and Glomerular Disease.” Dr. Pollak is the chief of the renal division at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. He is also professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and an associate member of the Broad Institute.

African-Americans are at disproportionate risk for nondiabetic kidney disease, and particularly focal and segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS). Most of this disparity is due to two variants of the APOL1 gene. Dr. Pollak’s work has shown that two common coding variants in the APOL1 gene confer resistance to trypanosomiasis, or sleeping sickness, a serious disease in some regions of Africa. But the variants also confer a sevenfold to tenfold increased susceptibility to FSGS and hypertension-associated kidney disease. His laboratory is currently working to identify the mechanisms by which these mutations in the APOL1 gene lead to a greater propensity for kidney damage.

Dr. Pollak serves on the scientific advisory board of the NephCure Foundation and was on the FSGS task force of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. For ASN, he has chaired the genetic subcommittee and served as a member of the program committee and the basic science committee.

He has served as an editorial reviewer for the Journal of Clinical Investigation; Nephrology, Dialysis, and Transplantation; and the American Journal of Nephrology.

He has received a physician scientist award from the National Institutes of Health as well as an achievement award and the Marilyn Farquhar Award for Podocyte Biology from the NephCure Foundation.

Dr. Pollak attended medical school at New York University School of Medicine. He completed his internship and residency in internal medicine at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center. He completed a fellowship in nephrology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and postdoctoral training in genetics at Harvard Medical School. He was a member of the department of medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital of Harvard before being named to his current position.

ASN gratefully acknowledges Monarch Pharmaceuticals for support of the Barry M. Brenner, MD, Endowed Lectureship.