Faculty of the Renal Training Program

One of the major strengths of the Renal Training Program is the number and excellence of the training faculty, whose interests span a broad range of clinical and research nephrology and related basic sciences. Brief biographies of the renal staff follow.

Professor of Medicine

Professor of Medicine

David J. Salant, M.D. is Chief of the Renal Section and Professor of Medicine at Boston University. He obtained his medical degree from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa and joined the full-time faculty at Boston University after completing research training with Dr. William G. Couser. Prior to that he was a member of the Renal Section at the Johannesburg General Hospital in South Africa where he gained extensive experience in renal transplantation, dialysis and other aspects of clinical nephrology.
Dr. Salant is a senior investigator whose research is supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health. His research into the mechanisms of glomerular injury is of considerable topical interest and has received national and international recognition. His work has been regularly presented at scientific sessions of the American Society of Nephrology and other scientific meetings. He has further contributed to the proceedings of these organizations by reviewing abstracts, chairing scientific sessions and symposia, and delivering invited lectures. He also served for several years as a member of a NIH Study Section.
In addition to more than 130 contributions to the scientific literature, Dr. Salant has written several clinical papers on diverse nephrological subjects and book chapters on glomerular diseases and vasculitis of the kidney. He was an author of MKSAP IX and chairman of the ABIM Subspecialty Board of Examiners in Nephrology.

Dr. Salant’s Research Activities:
- Renal Immunopathology
- Antibody-mediated podocyte injury
- Mechanisms of post-inflammatory renal fibrogenesis 

Professor of Medicine

Professor of Medicine

 Edward A. Alexander, M.D. is a Professor of Medicine and Physiology at Boston University and was Chief of Nephrology at Boston City Hospital for 25 years. He trained with Dr. Norman Levinsky and then with Dr. Joseph Hoffman in the Department of Physiology at Yale Medical School. He returned to Boston University – Boston City Hospital to become a member of the Renal Section in 1969. Dr. Alexander has published extensively in several areas of research. These include renal acidification mechanisms; electrolyte excretion; the relation of the adrenal and the kidney to hypertension; the effects of aging and of pregnancy on renal function. In addition he has authored several book chapters in clinical nephrology. Dr. Alexander’s research is supported by a grant from the National Institutes of Health. He is the recipient of a Department of Medicine Teaching Award.

Dr. Alexander’s Research Activities:
- Control Mechanisms of Acid Secretion 

Jasvinder Bhatia, M.D.is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Boston University. He completed his Internal Medicine residency and Nephrology fellowship at Boston Medical Center. His research training was with Dr. Laura Dember, examining thyroid function in patients with renal amyloidosis. He joined the Renal Section in 2003 and currently attends on both consult services, the dialysis and transplant service, and inpatient Medicine service. He also conducts a weekly clinic at the East Boston Neighborhood Health Center.    

Beck ASN photo

Assistant Professor of Medicine

Laurence H. Beck, Jr., M.D., Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Boston University. He completed his Internal Medicine residency and Nephrology fellowship at Boston Medical Center. He joined the Renal Section in 2006, and continues to conduct basic science research in the laboratory of Dr. David Salant on the pathogenesis of membranous nephropathy. His clinical roles include a weekly clinic and attending time on the consult and dialysis/transplant services.

Dr. Beck’s Research Activities:
- Identification of the endogenous antigen in membranous nephropathy


Ramon Bonegio, M.D.
is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Boston University. He graduated from the University of the Witwatersrand Medical School in South Africa and then trained in clinical nephrology in the renal section at the Johannesburg Hospital. After completing a clinical nephrology fellowship at the Boston Medical Center, he undertook research training in the laboratory of Dr Wilfred Lieberthal where he examined the pathogenesis of proteinuria-associated tubulointerstitial fibrosis. He now works with Dr. David Salant and is completing a Ph.D. thesis on the role of notch signaling in renal development and the glomerular injury response. In addition to his research interests, Dr Bonegio was the recipient of the “Excellence in Teaching Award”. He is an attending physician on the consult and dialysis/transplant services.

Associate Professor of Medicine

Associate Professor of Medicine

 Steven C. Borkan, M.D. is an Associate Professor of Medicine at Boston University. He worked in the Renal Function Laboratory with Dr. Jordan Cohen and subsequently received training in clinical Nephrology at the University of Chicago with Dr. Fredric Coe. Dr. Borkan completed a three-year research fellowship in Nephrology at Boston Medical Center with Drs. John Schwartz (Renal Section) and Peter Brecher (Biochemistry) and then joined the Renal Section Faculty in 1989.
His interests include education of nephrology fellows, medical students and house staff, basic research on the cellular mechanisms of ischemic acute renal failure and the care of patients with both general medical and renal diseases. Dr. Borkan is the senior author of numerous publications in the area of the cellular stress response to acute ischemia and has been a Principal Investigator for the NIH for nearly 15 years. Dr. Borkan has also received several awards for excellence in teaching from medical students, house staff and colleagues at Boston Medical Center. Most recently he received the 2007 Grant V. Rodkey award from the Massachusetts Medical Society for significant contributions to medical student education and mentoring. Currently, he is Program Director and Vice Chair of Education for the Department of Medicine at Boston Medical Center.

Dr. Borkan’s Research Activities:
- Gene expression associated with acute renal injury
- Cellular Mechanisms of Injury in Acute Renal Failure 

Joline Chen, M.D., M.S. is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Boston University. She completed her Nephrology fellowship at Tufts-New England Medical Center and a Masters of Science in Clinical Research from Tufts University in 2006. Her research training was with Drs. Carmen Castaneda Sceppa and Andrew S. Levey, examining the effect of exercise in patients with chronic kidney disease. She was also an investigator in clinical trials that examined the effect of resistance exercise in patients with kidney failure treated with hemodialysis. She joined the Renal Section in 2006 and currently attends on consult and the dialysis and transplant services.

Vipul Chitalia, M.D., Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of  Medicine at Boston University. He completed his Internal Medicine residency at the University of Columbia and Nephrology fellowship at Boston University Medical Center. He joined the Renal Section in 2001, and completed renal fellowship in 2005 and a Ph.D. in Molecular Medicine in the laboratory of Dr. Herbert T. Cohen. At present, Dr. Chitalia is a post doctoral associate in the laboratory of Elazer Edelman at Harvard-MIT Division of Science and Technology. He continues to do basic science research in vascular biology. His clinical roles include attending time on the consult and dialysis/transplant services.

Dr. Chitalia’s Research Activities:
- Uremic Vascular Disease  

Cohen

Associate Professor of Medicine

Herbert T. Cohen, M.D. is an Associate Professor of Medicine and Pathology and serves as Director of the Graduate Program in Molecular Medicine. He received advanced training in molecular biology and protein chemistry at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School in the laboratory of Dr. Vikas P. Sukhatme. Earlier, he studied renal physiology and biochemistry with Dr. Adrian I. Katz and was a clinical fellow at the University of Chicago. His interests are in the molecular bases of renal cancer, renal cystic disease and renal development. From study of the von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) tumor suppressor, Dr. Cohen’s laboratory has identified a new family of transcription factor and ubiquitin ligase proteins, the Jade family of proteins. His NIH-funded research projects are titled, “VHL, Jade-1 and protein stability in renal cancer” and “Jade-1 in cystic renal disease.”

Dr. Cohen’s Research Activities:
- Molecular Biology of Renal Cancer, Renal Cystic Disease, and Renal Development 

Assistant Professor of Medicine

Assistant Professor of Medicine

Jean M. Francis, M.D. is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Boston University. He completed his Internal Medicine residency and Nephrology fellowship at Hospital of Saint Raphael and Yale University. He subsequently did Kidney and Pancreas transplant fellowship at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School. He is UNOS certified transplant nephrologist and the medical director of the kidney transplant program at Boston University Medical Center. His research interest is Bone Mineral Disorders in CKD, ESRD and transplant patients. He joined the Renal Section in 2008 and currently attends on both consult services, the dialysis and transplant service, and inpatient Medicine service. He also conducts weekly transplant and general Nephrology clinics.

Assistant Professor of Medicine

Assistant Professor of Medicine

Craig E. Gordon, M.D., M.S. is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Boston University. He completed Internal Medicine training at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and served as an academic Hospitalist and Core Faculty member at BIDMC following residency. He completed Nephrology fellowship at Tufts Medical Center. His research training was with Drs. John Wong and Andrew S. Levey, investigating the treatment of hepatitis C virus in hemodialysis patients. He joined the Renal Section in 2008 and currently attends on the consult service, dialysis and transplant service and weekly continuity clinic. He serves as a Robert Dawson Evans Educator for the Department of Medicine and directs the renal module of the second year pathophysiology course at Boston University School of Medicine.  He is actively investigating hepatitis C virus management in end stage renal disease and patient safety during kidney biopsies.

Robert J. Hamburger, M.D. is a Professor of Medicine at Boston University School of Medicine and is Chief of the Renal Section at the VA Boston Health Services. Dr. Hamburger received his nephrology training at the University of Pennsylvania. His interests are hypertension, electrolyte disorders and he is involved in the Veterans Affairs cooperative study program. 

Assistant Professor of Medicine

Assistant Professor of Medicine

Andrea Havasi, M.D is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Boston University. She graduated from the Semmelweis University School of Medicine in Budapest, Hungary, and completed nephrology training at Boston Medical Center.  She is board certified in Internal Medicine and Nephrology. As a recipient of the National Kidney Foundation Research Fellow Award, she undertook research training at BMC investigating the cytoprotective mechanisms of Hsp27 in ischemic renal cell injury and apoptosis. She joined the Renal Section Faculty in 2008, and continues basic and translational research in the area of renal cell injury and proteinuric kidney diseases using cell culture and animal models. She is the recipient of the American Heart Association Scientist Development Grant and NIH K08 award. Dr. Havasi is the Co-Director of the Mitochondria Research Affinity Collaborative (mtARC) at the Boston University School of Medicine. Her clinical roles include a weekly clinic and attending time on the consult and dialysis/transplant services.

Dr. Havasi’s Research Activies:
- Proteinuria and renal fibrosis

James S. Kaufman, M.D. is Professor of Medicine at Boston University School of Medicine. Dr. Kaufman completed a three year research fellowship at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research and has been a member of the Renal Section at Boston University based at the Boston VA Medical Center since 1977. His research interests include anemia management in chronic kidney disease, vascular access for hemodialysis, and cardiovascular disease in chronic kidney disease. He has been study chairman for several Department of Veterans Affairs multicenter clinical trials examining these clinical problems and has been involved in numerous clinical trials sponsored by the VA, NIH, and pharmaceutical industry. He is currently a Study Director at the Department of Veterans Affairs Massachusetts Veterans Epidemiologic Research and Information Center.

Dr. Kaufman’s Research Activities:
- Clinical Investigation 

Assistant Professor of Medicine

Assistant Professor of Medicine

Weining Lu, M.D. is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Boston University. He graduated from Zhejiang University College of Medicine, China in 1989 and received a M.Sc. in Biomedical Sciences from Northeastern University in 1996. He completed postdoctoral research training in molecular biology with Dr. Jing Zhou and in developmental biology with Dr. Richard Maas at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital. After serving as an Instructor in Medicine at Harvard Medical School, he joined the Renal Section at Boston University in 2004 to study the molecular basis of kidney development and congenital anomalies of the kidney and urinary tract. His research program is supported by grants from the NIH, March of Dimes and National Kidney Foundation.

Dr. Lu’s Research Activities:
- Molecular Genetics of Kidney Development and Congenital Anomalies 

Ian R. Rifkin M.D., Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Medicine at Boston University. He graduated from medical school in South Africa and completed his Ph.D. at the University of Cambridge in England in the laboratory of Dr. Martin Lockwood where he studied T cell regulation and neutrophil activation in systemic vasculitis. Subsequently, he trained as a clinical fellow in this Renal Section and then worked as a research fellow in immunology with Dr. Ann Marshak-Rothstein in the Department of Microbiology at Boston University. His research on the role of Toll-like receptor in autoimmunity, and SLE in particular, has received widespread international recognition. His research is funded by grants from the NIH, Lupus Research Institute and National Kidney Foundation.

Dr. Rifkin’s Research Activities:
- Autoimmunity 

Professor of Medicine

Professor of Medicine

John H. Schwartz, M.D. is a Professor of Medicine and has been a member of the Renal Section since 1977. He trained in the laboratory of Dr. Philip Steinmetz at Harvard Medical School. In 1971 he became a staff member of the renal unit at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research and from 1973 to 1977 was chief of that unit. Dr. Schwartz has made research contributions in a number of areas including the cellular regulation of H+ transport in renal epithelia, coupling in excitable cells and pathogenesis of acute renal failure. His research is supported by grants from NIH.

Dr. Schwartz’s Research Activities:
- Control Mechanisms of Acid Secretion
- Gene expression associated with acute renal injury
- Cellular Mechanisms of Injury in Acute Renal Failure 

Associate Faculty:

Lindsay A. Farrer, PhD is Professor of Medicine and head of the Genetics Program and director of the Genetic Epidemiology Center at Boston University. His program is actively investigating the genetic basis of several familial and common adult-onset diseases. He is an associate member of the Nephrology research training program and provides opportunities for trainees to learn the disciplines of genetic epidemiology and molecular genetics.

Barbara D. Smith, PhD is a Professor of Biochemistry whose research centers on the identification and characterization of mechanisms controlling collagen gene expression associated with tumor formation, atherosclerosis, and fibrosis. She has co-supervised trainees in Dr. Salant’s laboratory, including primary mentorship of a graduate student. She has also sponsored the post-fellowship career development of former trainees of this program.

Dr. Smith’s Research Activities
- Mechanisms of post-inflammatory renal fibrogenesis

Michael Sherman, PhD is an Associate Professor of Biochemistry with an interest in understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying the central role of heat shock protein Hsp72 in prevention of cell death. In addition to collaborating with Dr. Borkan, he is enthusiastic about participating in the training fellows from this program and sharing the expertise and resources of his laboratory.

Kenneth Walsh, PhD is Professor of Medicine and Director of the Molecular Cardiology Unit, Whitaker Cardiovascular Institute. His major research focus is on the signaling- and transcriptional-regulatory mechanisms that control both normal and pathological tissue growth in the cardiovascular system. He has also developed an interest in the interrelationships between vascular and autoimmune diseases through the use of transgenic mouse models in collaboration with Dr. Rifkin.

Primary teaching affiliate
of BU School of Medicine