Renal Transport Expert Bindels to be Honored with Homer W. Smith Award

René Jan Maria Bindels


René Jan Maria Bindels, PhD, a physiology professor and researcher studying renal transport systems, is this year’s recipient of the Homer W. Smith Award. With this award, the American Society of Nephrology recognizes those who have made outstanding contributions to understanding how kidneys function in normal and diseased states.

Presented annually since 1964, the award recognizes Dr. Smith’s use of comparative approaches to explain normal human physiology, providing a model for students and scientists attempting to unravel the mysteries of normal and disordered renal function.

Dr. Bindels is a professor of physiology at the Nijmegen Centre for Molecular Life Sciences at Radboud University’s Nijmegen Medical Centre in The Netherlands, where he has taught medical, biomedical, and dental students since 1988 and mentored numerous doctoral candidates.

His research focuses on the regulation of ion transport processes in the kidneys and small intestine. He is currently investigating the molecular mechanisms that control calcium and magnesium balance, with particular emphasis on the regulation of the new family of epithelial calcium and magnesium TRP (transient receptor potential) channels. Dr. Bindels’ work has advanced the understanding of calcium channels and helped identify the major sites of calcium uptake along the nephron.

In addition to his teaching and research responsibilities, Dr. Bindels serves on the editorial boards of the European Journal of Physiology, the American Journal of Physiology, and the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology. He has lectured worldwide and authored more than 200 articles. In 2005, he was elected to the Academia Europaea, a group of leading scientists and scholars from several fields whose members include more than 40 Nobel Prize laureates.

Dr. Bindels will receive the Homer W. Smith award at Saturday’s plenary session, which begins at 8 a.m. His address is titled “Minerals in Motion: From Renal Transportation to New Concepts.

Homer W. Smith


Homer W. Smith was chairman of physiology at the University of Virginia before moving in 1928 to New York University (NYU). As director of the Physiology Laboratories at NYU, he developed and refined the concepts of glomerular filtration and tubular absorption and secretion of solutes.

The clarity of Dr. Smith’s logic and the skill with which he explained his ideas transformed them into vivid and powerful concepts that are the cornerstones of our present understanding of normal and abnormal renal function. He attracted the best and brightest to the field, to NYU, and to the Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory, where he spent many summers studying renal physiology in fish.

The Homer W. Smith award recognizes individuals who contribute to our basic understanding of how the kidneys function in health and disease.