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. Read AKF’s announcement of our newest Clinical Scientist in Nephrology fellows, who will begin their fellowships July 1.

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.

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Meet our 2020 CSN fellows

Dr. Anika Lucas and Dr. Maria Clarissa Tio join a distinguished roster of more than 40 top nephrology researchers who received early-career support from AKF through the Clinical Scientist in Nephrology Program. Since 1989, this program has funded researchers whose work is designed to improve diagnosis, treatment and outcomes for patients living with chronic kidney disease (CKD) and kidney failure. Their fellowships are funded by generous grants from the Hearst Foundation, Amgen Inc. and a family foundation’s anonymous donation.

Dr. Anika Lucas

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 erythematous (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.

Dr. Maria Clarissa Tio

Dr. Maria Clarissa Tio

Dr. Maria Clarissa Tio is a fellow at Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Massachusetts General Hospital’s Joint Nephrology Program. Dr. Tio will study several emerging risk factors in CKD progression, particularly uric acid and oxalate, through mixed epidemiologic and physiologic approaches. She plans to conduct a prospective study of plasma and urinary biomarkers of kidney tubular injury in the Safety of Urate Elevation in Parkinson’s Disease (SURE-PD) study, in which patients’ serum uric acid levels were intentionally elevated to delay the progression of Parkinson’s Disease. She further plans to examine how changes in urinary oxalate excretion associate with biomarkers of tubular injury and CKD progression using data from the Chronic Renal Insufficiency Cohort (CRIC), an NIH-funded study which examined risk factors for CKD progression among patients with established CKD.

Dr. Tio is a graduate of the University of Philippines in Manila and the Duke-National University of Singapore Graduate Medical School. She completed her residency in internal medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. In parallel with her research, Dr. Tio will pursue a Master of Public Health degree from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

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Meet our 2019 CSN fellows

Dr. O. Alison Potok

Dr. O. Alison Potok

Dr. O. Alison Potok is currently a nephrology fellow at the University of California, San Diego. She was born and raised in Paris, France, and completed her medical school training at Université Paris V René Descartes and a family medicine residency at Faculté de Médecine de Strasbourg. She then moved to the United States and completed her internal medicine residency at the University of Pennsylvania Health System in Philadelphia. Throughout her years of training, Dr. Potok has cared for the elderly on multiple occasions and has developed a research interest in geriatric nephrology. Her research project consists in better understanding how two common markers used to estimate kidney function relate to aging and body composition. Clinicians usually estimate kidney function by calculating the glomerular filtration rate (GFR), using markers present in the blood, most commonly serum creatinine or cystatin C.  Dr. Potok will study how differences in these estimates correlate with muscle mass and frailty in older adults. Dr. Potok’s AKF Clinical Scientist in Nephrology fellowship is funded by a grant from Akebia Therapeutics.

Read an interview with Dr. Potok that appeared in Authority Magazine.

Dr. Pablo Garcia

Dr. Pablo Garcia

Dr. Pablo Garcia is a second-year nephrology fellow at Stanford University. He was born and raised in Guatemala. He received his medical degree from the Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala. He underwent clinical training in internal medicine at Rutgers/Saint Peter’s University Hospital in New Brunswick, New Jersey before joining Stanford’s fellowship program.

As the 2019-2020 American Kidney Fund Clinical Scientist in Nephrology fellow, Dr. Garcia’s research project is entitled Exploring the epidemiology and etiology of primary tubulointerstitial kidney disease, Dr. Garcia’s research seeks to better understand the causes and prognosis of primary tubulointerstitial kidney disease.

Dr. Garcia’s ultimate career goal is to become an academic nephrologist with focused interest and expertise in tubulointerstitial kidney disease and chronic kidney disease of unknown origin (CKDu).

Dr. Garcia’s AKF Clinical Scientist in Nephrology fellowship is funded in part by a grant from Amgen.

Read an interview with Dr. Garcia that appeared in Authority Magazine.

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Meet our previous CSN fellows

Click here to learn about our previous CSN fellows.

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