The principal objective of our academic program is to provide outstanding patient care for the University of Pennsylvania Health System and to furnish an intensive and highly structured clinical and research experience for physicians in training, so that they may develop the skills necessary to become excellent clinicians and scientists who can carry out lifelong, independent laboratory or bedside research in nephrology.
This mission reflects the original objectives of the institution when it established a renal program at the University of Pennsylvania in 1947. The Renal-Electrolyte Division, since then, 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 Veterans Administration Medical Center, 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 general nephrology, chronic kidney disease, nephrolithiasis, transplantation, and complex hypertension.
At the present time there are over 40 faculty members serving the Renal-Electrolyte Division 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 postdoctoral fellows now 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 from number of other extramural agencies including the American Heart Association, the National Kidney Foundation, and the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, among others.
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 which 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
- 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 interest. 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.