Laurence Beck, Jr. Named Inaugural Incumbent, David J. Salant Professor of Nephrology

We are delighted to announce that Laurence H. Beck, Jr., MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Medicine and Nephrology, has been selected as the inaugural incumbent of the David J. Salant Professor of Nephrology. A hybrid installation ceremony and reception will be held on June 15 at 6 p.m. Register here.

Dr. Beck graduated summa cum laude with a BA in Molecular Biology from Princeton University and obtained his MD-PhD from Harvard Medical School in 2000. He completed his medical residency and clinical fellowship in Nephrology at Boston Medical Center and trained as a research fellow with Dr. David Salant. Appointed to the faculty in 2006, he was promoted to Associate Professor in 2015.

Dr. Beck’s research accomplishments include the seminal 2009 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine with Drs. Salant and colleagues that the M-type phospholipase A2 receptor (PLA2R) is the major antigen in idiopathic membranous nephropathy (MN), an organ-specific autoimmune kidney disease and a common cause of nephrotic syndrome in adults. The discovery was awarded international patents and led to licensing and approval by the United States FDA (2014) of two commercial immunodiagnostic assays for MN that are used by nephrologists around the world.

In addition to his contributions as a bench scientist, Dr. Beck is a knowledgeable and caring clinician and outstanding teacher. He leads a clinical and translational program in glomerular diseases that has attracted patient referrals from throughout the Northeast and beyond. Dr. Beck’s research has been supported by NIH and several foundations. He has published over 50 peer-reviewed papers and several influential reviews, editorials, guidelines and book chapters in major journals and textbooks. In recognition of his accomplishments, Dr. Beck received the Midcareer Distinguished Researcher Award from the American Society of Nephrology, one of only two recipients of this inaugural award in 2019.

With the establishment of this Professorship, the Department of Medicine honors the remarkable contributions and legacy of David J. Salant, MD, Professor of Medicine and Vice Chair for Research for the Department of Medicine. He received his medical degree from the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa and completed his clinical training at Johannesburg General Hospital. He received his research training at Boston University with Dr. William Couser and joined the Nephrology faculty in 1979. He rose through the ranks to become Professor of Medicine in 1988 and Chief of Nephrology, a position he held for 32 years before stepping down from the inaugural Norman G. Levinsky Chair in Nephrology in 2019 to serve in his current role. He was most recently named as a Robert Dawson Evans Distinguished Professor of Medicine for his exceptional impact in research and clinical care.

Dr. Salant is an internationally renowned physician-scientist and an acclaimed educator. He has authored over 180 scientific publications, reviews and book chapters, often reporting seminal and groundbreaking findings in kidney disease. His research has explored the immune basis for glomerular diseases and the mechanisms of podocyte injury. He was among the first to identify podocytes as the primary target of injury in antibody-mediated glomerular diseases. In a landmark New England Journal of Medicine paper in 2009, Drs. Salant, Beck and colleagues described their discovery of the target antigen in membranous nephropathy (MN). Due to the translational impact of his research program, Dr. Salant was named the Boston University Innovator of the Year in 2015. Dr. Salant is a past chair of the ABIM Sub-specialty Board of Examiners in Nephrology, and recipient of several national and international awards for his scientific contributions, including election to the American Society of Clinical Investigation and the Association of American Physicians, fellowship in the AAAS, an Established Investigator Award from the American Heart Association, the John P. Peters Award from the American Society of Nephrology, the Jean Hamburger Award from the International Society of Nephrology, the Donald W. Seldin Award from the National Kidney Foundation, the Marilyn Farquhar Award at the 11th Annual Podocyte Conference, and the Edward N. Gibbs Award and Lectureship from the New York Academy Sciences.

Dr. Salant’s influence extends beyond his groundbreaking and paradigm-shifting work in the field of membranous nephropathy. In addition to his scientific achievements and accolades, Dr. Salant is a beloved teacher, a caring mentor, and a compassionate physician with exceptional clinical acumen. He has trained several generations of medical practitioners and dozens of physician-scientists, postdoctoral fellows and graduate students, many of whom today play leadership roles in distinguished nephrology centers around the world.
The Department of Medicine and Boston University School of Medicine are privileged to be able to recognize the example and the contributions of Drs. Beck and Salant through this professorship. Please join us in thanking and congratulating them on this honor.