Research

Transformative and Innovative

research scientist in lab

We are committed to conducting path-breaking research to improve the lives of people with kidney diseases.

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Leadership

Ian de Boer, MD

Ian de Boer, MD, MS

Professor
Director, Kidney Research Institute
deboer@uw.edu 

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Jonathan Himmelfarb, MD

Jonathan Himmelfarb, MD

Professor
Director, Center for Dialysis Innovation
Director, Kidney Precision Medicine Project
himmej@uw.edu

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Leila Zelnick, PhD

Leila Zelnick, PhD

Research Associate Professor
Director of Biostatistics, Kidney Research Institute
lzelnick@uw.edu

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Interdisciplinary Research

Our extensive collaborations and partnerships with complementary fields such as bioengineering, pharmaceutics, immunology, pathology, public health, epidemiology, biostatistics, health care services, and other disciplines serve as the foundation for our comprehensive approach to treating kidney disease and its accompanying complications. 

 

funded research

Nephrology faculty are funded by individual grants as well as major program project grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), numerous other government and non-governmental entities, and foundations.

Many of our junior faculty members have career development grants (NIH K-awards), and we have a strong record of transitioning to independent NIH R01 awards.

In recent academic years, 80% of all submitted proposals were funded. We are proud to have had an active NIH T-32 training grant in the Division for over 20 years, with a new grant underway.

Research Advancements

Through research funding and innovation, we are able to advance the field of kidney health and transform lives.

Kidney on a chip

Kidney on a chip

The Kidney Research Institute (KRI) has engineered a kidney tissue chip to predict drug safety. The aim is to design human tissue chips that replicate human organs in order to test drugs in their early stages to see if they will cause complications to the organs. 

Backpack size dialysis

Backpack-size artificial kidney

Dr. Jonathan Himmelfarb and 30-some people are working on the Center for Dialysis Innovation’s prototype artificial kidney, a device intended to free patients from thrice-weekly, hours-long visits to dialysis centers. The Artificial Kidney was granted Expedited Access Pathway status by the FDA, after the device performed successfully in its first U.S. clinical trial at UWMC. This is one of the first innovations in dialysis technology in decades and it has enormous potential to change patients’ quality of life.

Kidney disease in a petri dish

Lab engineered kidney disease

Dr. Jonathan Himmelfarb and 30-some people are working on the Center for Dialysis Innovation’s prototype artificial kidney, a device intended to free patients from thrice-weekly, hours-long visits to dialysis centers. The Artificial Kidney was granted Expedited Access Pathway status by the FDA, after the device performed successfully in its first U.S. clinical trial at UWMC. This is one of the first innovations in dialysis technology in decades and it has enormous potential to change patients’ quality of life.

UW Nephrology Women in Research

Publications

Writing a paper

Published Research

Our faculty consistently publish new research in nationally recognized journals.

A history of innovation

The first Scribner Shunt was successfully used on a dialysis patient in 1960, paving the way for patient survival rates in kidney disease.

Seattle has long been the place for kidney research. In 1960, Dr. Belding H. Scribner, the first division head of nephrology at the University of Washington, and his colleagues developed a blood access device for hemodialysis called the Scribner Shunt, providing a lifeline for patients with kidney failure.

The shunt allowed patients to receive life-saving dialysis on a long-term basis, changing kidney failure from a death sentence to a treatable condition. Dr. Scribner subsequently founded Northwest Kidney Centers, the first outpatient dialysis program in the world, and made Seattle an international center for advances in kidney disease.

research support

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Kidney Research Support Fund

The future of kidney care is dependent upon a robust research program. Invest in the future by helping to provide critical resources for nephrology research.

Research News 

November 4, 2022
Complexity of diagnosing and managing long COVID
A study of veterans showed great uncertainty about whether to attribute symptoms to long COVID or to patients’ other existing conditions.
October 13, 2022
Chronic Kidney Disease in Diabetes
Recent research showed that despite a recent decline, a high incidence of CKD in the United States persists. The incidence was lower among White adults with diabetes than among most other adults with diabetes.
October 12, 2022
Susan Wong inducted into the American Journal of Kidney Diseases Reviewer Hall of Fame
Reviewers submit expert comments that help determine which articles ultimately make it to publication.