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Matthew A. Sparks

2020 was a challenging year in nephrology education. In-person annual meetings shifted virtual, and many of us learned firsthand the concept of “Zoom fatigue,” as our institutional meetings and conferences moved virtually. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) made a big announcement that will likely have a long-lasting impact on research training. Home dialysis education was front and center. How will the nephrology education landscape continue to evolve in 2021?

Virtual conferences are here to stay

There is no denying that virtual education is here to stay. Coronavirus infectious disease 2019 (COVID-19) resulted in an almost complete shift to the

Swapnil Hiremath and Matthew A. Sparks

Severe acute respiratory coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) uses angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) to enter host cells. Early in the pandemic, several basic science studies were often cited and suggested that ACE inhibitors (ACEis) and angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) may have an effect to increase the abundance of ACE2 (1). Thus, logic would prevail that if anyone on ACEis or ARBs is at risk of infection, becomes infected, or develops coronavirus infectious disease 2019 (COVID-19), then these should be discontinued. However, the science of the renin angiotensin system (RAS) is far more intricate and interesting. The correct answer is that

Andrew M. South and Matthew A. Sparks

Novel therapeutics remain urgently needed to treat severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), including associated acute kidney injury. Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein-binding site, is expressed in numerous tissues, including the lungs and kidneys. Soluble ACE2 is a potential therapeutic with dual roles: 1) binding SARS-CoV-2 to attenuate infection and replication and 2) shifting the renin-angiotensin system away from the pro-inflammatory angiotensin II and bradykinin pathways. There is precedent for using recombinant soluble ACE2 clinically. A pilot randomized clinical trial in 44 patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome (pre-COVID-19

Joel Topf, Anna Burgner, Timothy Yau, Pascale Khairallah, Samira S. Farouk, and Matthew A. Sparks

The 9th annual NephMadness is a social media and medical education campaign focused on all things kidney. You can participate in NephMadness during the entire month of March, National Kidney Month. NephMadness adopts the single elimination brackets that are a hallmark of the popular March Madness (the college basketball tournament held yearly in the United States), but with a nephrology twist. Instead of basketball teams, the bracket is populated with 32 nephrology concepts from eight different regions. This year’s regions are: Liquid Biopsy, the return of Animal House, COVID-19, ICU Nephrology, Workforce, Anemia, Primary Care, and Artificial Kidney. Each region