Conferences and Formal Training Activities

The Renal Section conducts a number of formal conferences each week. At the weekly clinical conference, recent cases of particular interest are presented for discussion. From time to time, formal talks on various aspects of clinical nephrology are present by faculty, fellows or by invited guests from Departments of Radiology, Urology, Pathology, Transplant Surgery, etc.

Once each month a pathology conference substitutes for the clinical conference. At this session, renal biopsy material from the previous month is reviewed by Dr. Helmut Rennke, an eminent nephropathologist. Pathological findings demonstrated by light microscopy, electron microscopy and immunofluorescence are related to the clinical aspects of each case.

Research seminars are held weekly and vary in format. Members of our faculty and fellows present ongoing research. In addition, well-known investigators from other institutions present their current research or review important areas of clinical nephrology at these research seminars. After each important national meeting, staff and fellows discuss key papers from other laboratories presented at that meeting.

Visiting professors regularly spend a day or two in the Renal Section, meeting with fellows and faculty, and presenting their recent research.

The Renal Section also conducts a weekly journal club at which current literature is reviewed. Each week, assigned fellows and faculty members prepare detailed reviews of selected papers from the clinical nephrology, transplantation and related scientific literature for discussion. Topics include new advances in therapy, diagnosis, pathophysiology, clinical epidemiology and bioethics, and discussion covers study design, biostatistics and other aspects of clinical research methodology. Another research journal club that focuses on basic research in renal physiology, molecular, cell and developmental biology and experimental kidney disease models is attended by fellows, students and faculty in the basic research laboratories.

Formal Training Activities
While formal course work for credit is not part of the training program, fellows are encouraged to take specific courses such as cell and molecular biology and immunology, etc. when they seem necessary and appropriate to their individual needs. The numerous Boston area universities and medical institutions provide a large number of courses in virtually every major area of importance to trainees in our program.

While enrollment in a Ph.D. degree program is not required as part of our fellowship, a number of current and previous fellows have undertaken coursework and research towards a Ph.D. degree through members of our Renal Section and associate training faculty who hold appointments in basic science departments at Boston University. The Graduate Program in Molecular Medicine, supported by the Department of Medicine, provides an opportunity for pre- and post-doctoral trainees to obtain a Ph.D. or M.D.,Ph.D. degree during their training. Candidates who are interested in this program should request information or visit the web site at Trainees who wish to obtain the Ph.D. degree are entitled to perform their research under the supervision of one of the members of the training program staff, who serves as a thesis advisor.

Candidates interested in clinical research training are expected to apply for admission to the NIH-funded CREST program. This involves Enrollment in a Master’s program at the Boston University School of Public Health or enrollment in the Master of Arts in Clinical Investigation Program. Additional information about the CREST program can be viewed here. For more information about the Graduate Program in Molecular Medicine, visit:

Our program also offers candidates a unique opportunity to obtain in-depth training in clinical investigation related to the intersection of vascular medicine and nephrology supported by an NIH K12 award. In collaboration with the Vascular Medicine program we have developed a combined nephrology/vascular medicine program. The first year of this program is traditional nephrology inpatient and outpatient training. The second year comprises outpatient clinical nephrology and clinical vascular medicine, with exposure to vascular imaging techniques and their application to nephrology. The third and fourth years involve mentored clinical research in vascular biology as it pertains to renal medicine, with coursework towards an MSc through the CREST program. Additional information is available at