Charlottesville, Va., Dec. 15, 2006 Kidney disease is a rapidly growing health problem in the United States, with more than 20 million people suffering from some chronic form of the disease. Additionally, approximately 400,000 patients in the U.S. undergo regular kidney dialysis or have undergone kidney transplantation.
While the number of people with kidney disease continues to increase, the number of clinicians and researchers being trained in the field isn't keeping up with demand, according to University of Virginia School of Medicine nephrologist Dr. Mark Okusa.
Dr. Okusa was recently awarded a 5-year, $583,000 NIH training grant on behalf of the Division of Nephrology to train the next generation of investigators in kidney disease research. "A major focus area in the training of new researchers and academic physicians is the ability to translate research from the lab to the bedside," Dr. Okusa says. "We have assembled a multidisciplinary team of 26 faculty mentors to train academic nephrologists and investigators to address the growing problem of kidney disease."
UVa plans to use the grant to train four researchers yearly in areas such as immunology, functional genomics, epidemiology, biostatistics and clinical investigations as they relate to kidney disease. Participating departments and centers include Medicine, Pediatrics, Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics, Biomedical Engineering, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics, the Cardiovascular Research Center, Center for Cell Signaling, the Carter Immunology Center and the Specialized Center for Systemic Lupus Erythematosis
"Kidney disease hasn't received the attention that many other life-threatening conditions have over the years because our patients live quite a long time with this chronic condition and may not know it. However during this period of "silent disease" considerable damage is occurring throughout the body. The quality of life for these people
Contact: David Foreman
University of Virginia Health System