Penn Kidney

Renal-Electrolyte & Hypertension Division Mission

The principal objective of the Renal-Electrolyte and Hypertension academic program is to provide outstanding patient care and to furnish an intensive and highly structured clinical and research experience for physicians in training. It is our goal to ensure that our physicians develop the skills necessary to become excellent clinicians and scientists who can carry out lifelong, independent laboratory or bedside research in nephrology.

Our mission reflects the original objectives of the institution when it established a renal program at the University of Pennsylvania in 1947. Since then, the Renal Division has always maintained a broad commitment to patient care, research in clinical medicine and scholarly enterprise. We are at a time when rapid advances in science, technology, and molecular and cell biology offer enormous possibilities for the further understanding of human renal disease. Demand for well-trained research physicians with genuine dedication to investigative medicine remains high. We are interested in the development of this future research faculty for reasons of national need.

Our clinical programs in support of this endeavor include active inpatient services at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, the Philadelphia VA Medical Center (PVAMC), Penn Presbyterian Medical Center, four outpatient dialysis units, a renal transplantation program, and pediatrics through our affiliation with Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. We currently see over 1,250 new consults each year, make over 9,000 bedside visits, perform over 6,000 dialyses in the hospital, care for over 500 dialysis patients in our outpatient units, and participate in a transplant program that performs over 200 renal transplants each year. We also have active subspecialty outpatient programs including, general nephrology, chronic kidney disease, nephrolithiasis, transplantation and complex hypertension.

Currently over 40 faculty members serve the Renal Divison and its extended research training program. Over one-third of the faculty members are oriented towards clinical teaching and patient care, and serve as a bridge between the laboratory and the bedside. Additional faculty have active research programs with interests in the field of nephrology, and serve as research trainers for over 20 post-doctoral fellows in our research laboratories. This research activity is supported by individual program project grants from the National Institutes of Health and the Renal Research Training Program (NIDDK-07006) as well as various other extramural agencies including the American Heart Association, the National Kidney Foundation, and the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation.

Our research program is focused on integrative biology applied to the structure or function of the kidney in health or disease. Scientific studies reflecting our research mission utilize the tools of basic molecular genetics, cellular biology, immunology, development, biochemistry, physiology, electrophysiology, and clinical epidemiology. Special emphasis is placed on investigations while bridging in vitro with in vivo approaches, basic science with clinical applications, or experimental models with human disease.

Our research efforts involve one or more general areas of focus:

  • Immunobiology, autoimmunity and mechanisms of renal diseases
  • Transplantation
  • Kidney development and structural biology
  • Renal transport and metabolism
  • Glamerular biology
  • Hypertension and clinical nephrology
  • Renal health care outcomes research

There are active collaborative groups within these areas of research interests. In some cases faculty are working in several of these areas.

There are also extended research programs that involve the Wistar Institute, the Connective Tissue Institute at the University Science Center, the Diabetes Research Center, the Cancer Center, the Institute for Human Gene Therapy, the Center for Molecular Studies in Digestive and Liver Diseases, the Veterans Administration, and the Graduate Groups in Immunology, Molecular Biology, Physiology and Cell Biology.