Learn more about the Clinical Scientist in Nephrology (CSN) Program
For over 30 years, the American Kidney Fund Clinical Scientist in Nephrology (CSN) fellowship program has funded researchers whose work is designed to improve diagnosis, treatment and outcomes for patients living with chronic kidney disease and has promoted clinical research in nephrology. Our CSN fellows conduct prevention and outcomes research while receiving advanced training in areas related to the AKF vision.
The Clinical Scientist in Nephrology program has trained some of nephrology's brightest scholars who have gone on to become leaders in the field and mentors to new generations of scientists studying kidney disease. Many former CSN fellows have conducted groundbreaking research that advances knowledge and treatment of kidney disease.
A Clinical Scientist in Nephrology fellowship may be granted yearly, with a maximum duration of two years for each fellowship. The maximum level of funding of $90,000 per year shall be used principally to support the candidate and his or her career development. This sum is expected to cover the individual fellow's salary (not to exceed $65,000) as well as training-related expenses.
Meet our 2023 CSN Fellows
Dr. Alexandra Bicki
Dr. Alexandra Bicki is a pediatric nephrology fellow at the University of California, San Francisco. She will be working on identifying facilitators and barriers to home dialysis and living kidney donor transplantation among adolescents and young adults. Dr. Bicki
will study the factors that lead to high morbidity and mortality rates among adolescents and young adults with kidney failure compared to other age groups receiving dialysis. She will interview patients, caregivers and providers and perform statistical analyses with data from the U.S. Renal Data System to understand whether systems-level factors of dialysis facilities, such as social worker support, are associated with access to kidney transplantation. The results from these analyses will be crucial for the development of an intervention to address barriers and increase uptake of home dialysis and living donor transplantation among adolescents and young adults with chronic kidney disease (CKD).
"Adolescence and young adulthood are such crucial times in development, and even more so for those living with a chronic disease like CKD. Through this study, I hope to expand our knowledge of the factors that may influence long-term transplant outcomes so that we may help design successful interventions to facilitate these patients' success later in life. I'm grateful to AKF for the opportunity to further my research on this important issue and I hope my work will help reduce any barriers that young people may face in their access to home dialysis, living donor transplantation and other kidney care."
Dr. Bicki earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Neuroscience from the University of Miami and her medical degree and master's in public health from the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. She completed her residency and chief residency in pediatrics at the University of Texas at Austin Dell Medical School and is currently a pediatric nephrology fellow at the University of California, San Francisco.
Dr. Nivetha Subramanian
Dr. Nivetha Subramanian is a nephrology fellow at Stanford Medicine. She will be working on a project related to disparities in COVID-19 and vaccine booster uptake in dialysis. Dr. Subramanian will study the excess rate of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and death among patients receiving dialysis since 2020, relative to the general population, and determine rates and predictors of booster uptake among patients receiving dialysis. Her work aims to inform policy that prioritizes and systematizes access to testing, surveillance and treatment for patients receiving dialysis in the ongoing COVID-19 and future pandemics. Dr. Subramanian's work on the COVID-19 vaccine booster uptake will apply to other vaccinations and supply the basis for community-engaged programming to improve uptake for vaccines and other infection-prevention interventions among patients with end-stage kidney disease.
"This work will provide timely insight into future pandemics, allowing policy makers, dialysis facilities and other stakeholders to identify vulnerable groups even among patients receiving dialysis and to hopefully reduce barriers to treatment for all patients on dialysis. I'm honored to be selected by AKF for this fellowship and hope my work will supply the basis for community-engaged programming to improve uptake for vaccines and other infection-prevention interventions among patients with end-stage kidney disease."
Dr. Subramanian earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Biology, Health and Society from Cornell University and her medical degree from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. She completed her residency in internal medicine at Stanford Medicine and is currently in Stanford's nephrology fellowship program.
Meet Our 2022 CSN Fellows
Dr. Jillian Caldwell
Jillian Caldwell, DO, is a nephrology fellow at Stanford University School of Medicine. Dr. Caldwell will examine the interplay between immunologic matching in kidney transplants and equitable access to transplantation. While immunologically matched kidney transplants demonstrate better outcomes in terms of patient and kidney survival, racial and ethnic minorities are less likely to receive fully-matched kidneys, a disparity historically attributed to the genetic makeup of the donor pool. Her project will examine the reasons for this disparity and evaluate alternative kidney allocation strategies that enhance access to well-matched kidney transplants.
Dr. Caldwell's long-term goals include devising better systems, including policy changes, to enhance access and equity in kidney transplantation.
"Kidney transplantation is a way to restore our patients' quality of life and health, and should be accessible to all. However, disparities still exist and many patients' transplants are compromised by systemic barriers to care, such as inability to afford immunosuppression. I am grateful to AKF for this opportunity and hope our work will advance policies that grant all patients equal access to well-matched, successful kidney transplants."
Dr. Caldwell earned her Bachelor of Science degree in neuroscience at McGill University and her medical degree at Midwestern University Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine. She completed her residency at the University of Illinois-Chicago and is now in a nephrology fellowship at Stanford University School of Medicine in Palo Alto, California.
Dr. Janewit Wongboonsin
Janewit Wongboonsin, MD, MS, is a clinical and research fellow in the Brigham and Women's Hospital-Massachusetts General Hospital Renal Fellowship Program conducting his post-doctoral research at Boston Children's Hospital. He will study the genetic signatures of nephrotic syndrome, a rare disorder with a group of symptoms that indicate a person's kidneys are losing essential proteins in the urine, through an existing electronic health record-linked biobank of 130,000 participants of the Mass General Brigham Biobank. Dr. Wongboonsin hopes to expand the understanding of the prevalence and clinical impact of nephrotic syndrome genetic variants and create a large, genetically mapped cohort of patients that will be valuable for current and future clinical genetic epidemiology studies. These discoveries may also be used to inform a precision medicine approach to kidney disease.
His professional goal is to become an independent investigator in kidney genetics, leading a translational kidney genomics research program.
"Genomic information has shown promise in assisting with diagnosis and management of multiple diseases. Nephrology is starting to integrate the use of genetic information to help our patients. My research aims to understand the impact of genetic forms of nephrotic syndrome on adults with this disease. Doing so will ultimately enable us to use genomic information more effectively to augment the care we provide."
Dr. Wongboonsin earned his medical degree from the Faculty of Medicine, Siriraj Hospital, Mahidol University, in Bangkok, Thailand. After completing his residency, chief residency, and Master of Science in Clinical Research at the University of Minnesota, he is a nephrology fellow in the BWH-MGH Renal Fellowship Program and a research fellow at Boston Children's Hospital.
Meet our previous CSN fellows
For three decades we have supported clinical research, identifying emerging clinical researchers seeking to advance patient care and providing fellowships to fund their research.
The CSN fellowship program is an educational activity that is made in part by grants from Akebia Therapeutics and the Hearst Foundation.
Help us build a research pipeline
Help AKF identify and fund the most promising researchers who will advance innovation in kidney disease treatment.