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For three decades we have supported clinical research, identifying emerging clinical researchers seeking to advance patient care and providing fellowships to fund their research. AKF’s Clinical Scientist in Nephrology program has funded some of the field’s most prominent researchers early in their careers, helping to address the shortage of nephrology researchers.
The Clinical Scientist in Nephrology program strives to improve the quality of care provided to kidney patients and promotes clinical research in nephrology. The program enhances the training of nephrologists who want to pursue an academic career and whose primary professional commitment is to scholarship in the provision of patient care.
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 (CKD) and has promoted clinical research in nephrology. Our CSN fellows conduct prevention and outcomes research while receiving advanced training in essential skills such as medical ethics, biostatistics and epidemiology.
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 $80,000 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 $55,000) as well as training-related expenses.
Meet our 2021 CSN fellows
Dr. Elizabeth Kermgard
Elizabeth Kermgard, MD, is a pediatric nephrology fellow at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Dr. Kermgard will study the relationship between the gut microbiome, short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) and parathyroid hormone (PTH) resistance in patients on chronic dialysis. It is known that our gut microbiome and the production of SCFAs are important for normal bone regulation, but what is not known is if this relationship holds true for those with CKD. Better understanding this relationship could shed light on new possible interventions to treat bone and mineral disease in CKD patients. Her research will enroll 48 pediatric dialysis patients between the ages of six and 21. Her team will collect blood and stool samples to look at shotgun sequencing of the gut microbiome, conduct analysis of serum and stool SCFAs as well as PTH and PTH fragment levels, an important indicator of mineral and bone disease in CKD patients.
In parallel with her research, Dr. Kermgard will pursue a Master of Science in Clinical, Biomedical and Translational Investigations degree at the University of Southern California (USC). Dr. Kermgard completed her Bachelor of Science degree in Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology from University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and received her Doctor of Medicine degree from Saint Louis University. After medical school, she completed her pediatric internship and residency at CHLA, where she is currently completing her first year of fellowship in pediatric nephrology.
Dr. Christine Limonte
Christine Limonte, MD, is a nephrology clinical research fellow at the University of Washington. Dr. Limonte’s research will utilize novel analytics techniques to determine if blood vessel disease in the back of the eye, or retinopathy, can reveal information about kidney function and kidney disease. The goal of the investigation is to better diagnose and treat diabetic kidney disease. In a two-part study, Dr. Limonte will first use machine learning on medical record data from 10,000 patients to look at associations between kidney function and eye disease. In the second part, she will work with the Kidney Precision Medicine Project, a consortium sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, to analyze kidney biopsy samples from 75 people, using genetic data to help decipher mechanisms of kidney disease.
Dr. Limonte graduated magna cum laude from Brown University, where she concentrated in Neuroscience and received her medical degree from the Perelman School of Medicine at University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Limonte completed her residency in internal medicine at Northwestern University, where she also participated in the Academy for Quality and Safety Improvement (AQSI) certificate program. During her residency, she spent one month volunteering at a community health clinic in Bolivia.
Meet our 2020 CSN fellows
Dr. Anika Lucas
Dr. Anika Lucas is a nephrology fellow at Duke University. Dr. Lucas’ research will study racial differences in adverse pregnancy and postpartum outcomes in women with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), with a goal to more accurately identify women who are at particularly high risk for adverse events. Dr. Lucas will conduct detailed studies on an international cohort of women with SLE from the United States, Canada, Germany and Italy—one of the largest reported multi-ethnic cohort of pregnant women with SLE in the world—and will evaluate the relations between maternal second trimester estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) and the likelihood of adverse pregnancy outcomes including preeclampsia, preterm birth, fetal loss, and small for gestational age. She will also explore the potential role of APOL1 genetic mutations on these important outcomes.
Dr. Lucas is a graduate of Wellesley College, received a master’s degree from Harvard Divinity School and obtained her medical degree at Temple University School of Medicine. She completed her residency in internal medicine at the University of Connecticut. As part of her research fellowship, Dr. Lucas will receive additional training in research methods through the Clinical Research Training Program at Duke.