A photo of Charles Varnell Jr.

Charles D. Varnell Jr., MD, MS

  • Pediatric Nephrologist, Division of Nephrology and Hypertension
  • Assistant Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics
In my practice, I believe that the most important part of caring for children is the relationship between the physician and the family.
Charles D. Varnell Jr., MD, MS



I am a pediatric nephrologist who specializes in pediatric kidney transplantation as well as general pediatric nephrology. As a physician who cares for children with chronic medical conditions, I am constantly impressed and humbled by their resilience. Despite hardships they may have encountered in their lives, they remind us they are still children, playful and happy at heart.

In my practice, I believe that the most important part of caring for children is the relationship between the physician and the family. The discussions we have to have can be complicated, and difficult decision need to be made. There is often no clear right or wrong path to follow, which makes having a good therapeutic alliance between the physician and the patient and family very important with regards to the care I am able to provide.

During medical school, I was honored to be selected for membership in Alpha Omega Alpha, which recognizes distinguished academic achievement.

In addition to caring for patients, I’m involved in research. My colleagues and I are studying medication-taking behaviors in children and adolescents with kidney transplants. We seek to create systems of care that help support the patient and their family with taking medications as prescribed and that will lead to the best clinical outcomes.

In my free time, I love to cook for my family. I also enjoy running and cycling, as well as playing video games with my children.

MD: Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk, VA, 2011.

Residency: General Pediatrics, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH, 2014.

Chief Residency: Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH, 2015.

MS: University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH, 2018.

Fellowship: Pediatric Nephrology, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH, 2018; Quality Scholars Program in Healthcare Transformation, James M. Anderson Center for Health Systems Excellence, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH, 2019.


General pediatric nephrology; pediatric kidney transplantation

Services and Specialties

Nephrology and Hypertension, Kidney Transplant Program

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Development and Testing of a Digitally Enabled Adherence Platform. Abelson, E; Hooper, D; Varnell, C; Streat, D; Sharma, G; Gavandi, S; Modi, AC. Clinical Practice in Pediatric Psychology. 2024; 12:115-127.

Ionized Magnesium Correlates With Total Blood Magnesium in Pediatric Patients Following Kidney Transplant. Hasson, DC; Mohan, S; Rose, JE; Merrill, KA; Goldstein, SL; Benoit, SW; Varnell, CD. Annals of Laboratory Medicine. 2024; 44:21-28.

Carfilzomib-based antibody mediated rejection therapy in pediatric kidney transplant recipients. Cody, EM; Varnell, C; Lazear, D; VandenHeuvel, K; Flores, FX; Woodle, ES; Hooper, DK. Pediatric Transplantation. 2023; 27:e14534.

Tacrolimus pharmacokinetics are influenced by CYP3A5, age, and concomitant fluconazole in pediatric kidney transplant patients. Alghamdi, A; Seay, S; Hooper, DK; Varnell, CD; Darland, L; Mizuno, T; Lazear, D; Ramsey, LB. Clinical and Translational Science. 2023; 16:1768-1778.

The Barriers Assessment Tool-A Patient-Centered Measure of Adherence Barriers in Pediatric Kidney Transplantation. Varnell, CD; Hooper, DK; Mara, CA; Modi, AC; Rich, KL. Children. 2023; 10:1435.

COVID-19 in pediatric kidney transplantation: a follow-up report of the Improving Renal Outcomes Collaborative. Varnell, C; Harshman, LA; Liu, C; Smith, L; Al-Akash, S; Barletta, GM; Brakeman, P; Chaudhuri, A; Fadakar, P; Galea, L; Weng, PL; Danziger-Isakov, L; Seifert, ME; Hooper, DK. Pediatric Nephrology. 2023; 38:537-547.

The learning health system for pediatric nephrology: building better systems to improve health. Varnell, CD; Margolis, P; Goebel, J; Hooper, DK. Pediatric Nephrology. 2023; 38:35-46.

Electronic Monitoring of Adherence in Clinical Care: Ethical and Practical Considerations. Rich, KL; Pai, AL H; Varnell, CD; Hooper, DK; Eckhardt, C; Modi, AC. Clinical Practice in Pediatric Psychology. 2022; 10:452-461.

Pharmacokinetic-Guided Dosing to Maintain Therapeutic Tacrolimus Levels During Post-Kidney Transplant Erythrocytapheresis in a Patient With Sickle Cell Anemia. Caldwell, J; Lazear, D; Miyagawa, B; Mizuno, T; Quinn, CT; Stone, H; Hooper, DK; Varnell, CD. Journal of the American Society of Nephrology : JASN. 2022; 33:840.

Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the kidney community: lessons learned and future directions. Geetha, D; Kronbichler, A; Rutter, M; Bajpai, D; Menez, S; Weissenbacher, A; Anand, S; Lin, E; Carlson, N; Sozio, S; Jha, V; Mohan, S; Parikh, C; Luyckx, V. Nature Reviews Nephrology. 2022; 18:724-737.

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