Prasad Devarajan, MD

Dr. Devarajan’s research includes a wide spectrum of approaches to kidney health and disease processes, spanning from molecular, genomic and proteomic approaches to human observational and clinical trials. Dr. Devarajan is the director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded P50 Pediatric Nephrology Center of Excellence, a unique multi-disciplinary research program designed to support basic, translational, and clinical research on critical pediatric kidney diseases that have major unmet needs. The proposal includes several research projects in the areas of acute kidney injury, proteinuric kidney disease, cardio-renal syndromes, and lupus nephritis, with participation from recognized teams of investigators from multiple disciplines. Also included are high-resource Gene Expression, Proteomics, Biomarker, Enhancement, and Training Cores with core leaders of international repute. Dr. Devarajan is also the nephrology lead investigator for several NIH-funded prospective clinical studies. He has also established a unique Kidney Biomarker Laboratory which now performs more than 50 distinct assays for acute and chronic kidney disease biomarkers. Dr. Devarajan is also the director and principal investigator of the NIH T32-funded Fellowship in Nephrology. Dr. Devarajan’s research on biomarkers and new therapeutic targets in kidney diseases has yielded over 25 publications and new patent applications during the last fiscal year. He is currently the PI or Co-PI on eight NIH grants.

Stuart L. Goldstein, MD

Dr. Stuart Goldstein, MD, FAAP, FNKF, is the director of the Center for Acute Care Nephrology (CACN), and has had a very productive research year, with achievements that spanned the scope of the Center’s research missions. The nephrotoxic medication acute kidney injury (AKI) reduction project, NINJA, results show a five year sustained reduction in AKI, preventing AKI in more than 600 children. NINJA is now used in 13 U.S. pediatric centers. This collaborative observed sustained decreases in nephrotoxic medication exposure and associated AKI. Based on these results, it is the next hospital acquired condition the 100 hospital Solutions for Patient Safety Collaborative will address. The CACN reported the initial epidemiological results from the prospective pediatric AKI study ever undertaken in the New England Journal of Medicine: “Assessment of Worldwide AKI, Renal angina and Epidemiology in Children (AWARE)”. The CACN successfully integrated its real-time AKI risk stratification system, the Renal Angina Index, to guide novel AKI biomarker testing in critically ill patients in the PICU. The CACN pioneered applications of specialized techniques, such as aquapheresis and the Molecular Adsorbent Recirculating System, for liver support. The CACN also launched an LDL-apheresis program to treat patients with refractory FSGS. The CACN remains the only single center in the U.S. to offer all of these specialized novel extracorporeal techniques. In addition, the CACN demonstrated unparalleled commitment to education via the CRRT University Simulation course, offered to more than 300 RNs and MDs from all over the world during the past three years, and received a commitment for a fourth and fifth year of extramural funding this year.

Mark Mitsnefes, MD MS

Dr. Mitsnefes’ research interest has been to define biologic targets for interventions to prevent progression of cardiovascular disease in children with chronic kidney disease, through epidemiological and translational studies. Dr. Mitsnefes is a co-investigator and co-chair of the Cardiovascular Subcommittee in the multicenter National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded study of chronic kidney disease in children, the CKiD study. In one published study, his group showed that greater cystatin C level independently associates with increasing cardiac size and worsening diastolic function. This serum marker was also able to predict decline in diastolic function, even after adjusting for kidney function. This suggests that cystatin C may have an independent role in cardiovascular disease risk stratification among children and adolescents with chronic kidney disease. In another published study utilizing longitudinal data from Midwest Pediatric Nephrology Consortium to evaluate trends in ambulatory blood pressure control over time in the pediatric and young adult kidney transplant recipient population, he showed that regular ambulatory blood pressure (BP) monitoring led to overall improved BP over time, attributable to improved control of BP by using antihypertensive medications.