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.
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
Edward Alexander, M.D. is Professor of Medicine and Research Professor of Physiology. He is a graduate of Northwestern Medical School. He trained in Medicine at Kings County Hospital, Brooklyn and Boston City Hospital. Training in Nephrology was at Boston Medical Center and in Physiology at Yale Medical School. He joined the faculty here in 1969 and for 25 years was Chief of Nephrology at Boston City Hospital. His research has included kidney function in aging, pregnancy and adrenal abnormalities. His recent work has focused on the mechanisms of acid handling by the collecting duct including in models of renal tubular acidosis. In addition, he has published articles and book chapters in clinical nephrology. He is active in both the inpatient and outpatient renal clinical services and has received awards as an outstanding teacher and clinician.
Laurence H. Beck, Jr., M.D., Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Medicine at Boston University School of Medicine. He received his M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from Harvard Medical School, then completed his Internal Medicine residency and Nephrology fellowship at Boston Medical Center. Dr. Beck joined the laboratory of David Salant as a renal research fellow, where he worked on identifying the long-sought target antigen in the human glomerular disease membranous nephropathy. His work led to the ultimate identification of the major target antigen PLA2R (phospholipase A2 receptor) in 2009, and a minor target antigen THSD7A (thrombospondin type-1 domain-containing 7A) in 2014. These discoveries have led to a new era in the diagnosis, prognosis, and disease monitoring in membranous nephropathy, as it is now possible to follow the immunologic course of disease, which precedes and predicts the clinical course.
Dr. Beck has been a faculty member of the Renal Section since 2006, and continues to conduct basic science and translational research in the area of autoimmune glomerular and interstitial diseases. His clinical roles include a weekly general nephrology outpatient clinic and attending time on the inpatient consult and dialysis services.
Dr. Beck’s Research Activities:
– Identification of the endogenous antigen in membranous nephropathy
Jasvinder Bhatia, MD is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Boston University School of Medicine. He completed his Internal Medicine residency and Nephrology fellowship at Boston Medical Center. He has served as the Clinical Director of the section since 2006, overseeing both inpatient and ambulatory operations. He is also the Medical Director of dialysis services at Davita Boston dialysis unit after previously serving as the director of acute dialysis services at Boston Medical Center. He is a member of the Medical Advisory Board of the National Kidney Foundation, New England and is co-chair of the ESRD Task Force at Boston Medical Center which strives to improve the transition of care from CKD to ESRD.
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.
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
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
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
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.
Craig E. Gordon, M.D., M.S. is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Boston University and the Training Program Director for the Renal fellowship. 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 inpatient consult service, dialysis and transplant service and weekly continuity clinic. He serves as a Robert Dawson Evans Educator for the Department of Medicine. He is actively investigating hepatitis C virus management in end stage renal disease and patient safety during kidney biopsies and other renal procedures. Dr. Gordon is currently serving as Assistant Project Director for the Evidence Review Team for the KDIGO guideline update on HCV in kidney disease and on the KDIGO clinical practice guideline on Care of the Transplant Candidate.
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 also sees patients at the BU Amyloidosis Center and conducts research in the field of renal amyloidosis.
Dr. Havasi’s Research Activies:
– Proteinuria and renal fibrosis
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:
Lauren D Stern, M.D. is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Boston University School of Medicine. She completed her internal medicine residency, chief residency, and nephrology fellowship at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City. She serves as the medical director of the home dialysis program at the Davita Boston dialysis unit, with a particular interest in expanding access to home dialysis within the underserved community. She is also the director of the second year medical student renal pathophysiology course, as well as an associate director of the third year internal medicine clerkship. Dr. Stern also sees patients at the BU Amyloidosis Center and performs research in the field of Amyloidosis.
Ashish Upadhyay, MD. is an Associate Professor of Medicine at Boston University. He completed his undergraduate medical education at Nepal’s Tribhuvan University Institute of Medicine, Internal Medicine residency at St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center, Nephrology Fellowship at Boston Medical Center, and Research Fellowship at the Framingham Heart Study. He has academic interests in examining the relationships and mechanisms of cardiovascular disease risk factors in patients with chronic kidney disease, and in assessing the hemodialysis care delivery systems for improvement in clinical outcomes. Dr. Upadhyay is an Associate Director of Boston Medical Center’s Internal Medicine Residency Program where he leads the program’s scholarship curriculum, and oversees the inpatient education and evidence-based medicine teaching. Outside of Boston University, Dr. Upadhyay serves as a voting member of the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation’s Renal Disease and Detoxification Committee, the primary source of national and international consensus standards for hemodialysis technology and dialysis water sterilization processes. He attends in the outpatient general nephrology clinic, inpatient dialysis and consult services, and Davita Boston’s hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis units.
VA Renal Faculty
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.
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.