The University of Virginia Kidney Technology Development Research Education Program (VA K-TUTOR) aims to increase interest and engagement among undergraduate students from different disciplines to pursue further studies and careers in kidney research. The goal is to recruit at least 5 biomedical engineering students including other undergraduate students from University of Virginia (UVA) and Virginia Polytechnic and State University (VA Tech) for an extended research program. The program will consist of 2 parts: a) a 10-week summer clinical nephrology immersion and didactic sessions aimed at identifying a clinical problem in nephrology that is coupled to b) a 6-12 month research program that is aimed at defining a solution to the problem identified during the clinical immersion program. The ideal research program would be a collaborative one involving more than one student in a Capstone Project that leads to innovation and technology development to address problems in patients with kidney disease. VA K-TUTOR will recruit highly motivated students to a multidisciplinary program that incorporates didactic training, clinical nephrology immersion, research, technology development, entrepreneurship, intellectual property and local/national networking opportunities. Integral to this R25 program are the NIH-funded faculty within the UVA Adult and Pediatric Nephrology Divisions, the Center for Immunity, Inflammation and Regenerative Medicine, and the Pediatric Center of Excellence in Nephrology as well as the newly funded UVA CTSA program (the Integrated Translational Health Research Institute Of Virginia (iTHRIV)), UVA?s new School of Data Sciences as well as long standing successful programs in the UVA School of Medicine, the UVA School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and the UVA College of Arts and Sciences. The environment provides a rich interprofessional and multidisciplinary training ground that will grow a new generation of innovators in the science of kidney diseases. In addition, we will utilize our existing relationship with VA Tech Human Factors Engineering (HFE) Program as well as our own HFE to extend the program beyond UVA. The overarching goal is to increase awareness on the impact of kidney diseases, to expose undergraduate students to nephrology research and didactic learning, and to familiarize the students with the opportunities that exist for careers in nephrology research. This program will be a national model to address the urgent need to grow the next generation investigators that lead innovative research programs.

Public Health Relevance

Despite the increasing prevalence of kidney diseases, there is a shortage of nephrology workforce to advance scientific discoveries and technology to address the growing burden of kidney diseases. The lack of innovation and kidney technology development over the past decades has been a primary barrier to breakthroughs in the field. The VA K-TUTOR program will provide a rich environment to excite and recruit young talent to foster innovative solutions to benefit the 40 M people in the US with kidney diseases. The VA K-TUTOR will be a partnership of UVA Division of Nephrology, UVA schools of Engineering and Arts and Sciences, College of Arts and Sciences and VA Tech School of Medicine to recruit and train undergraduate students for identifying problems in kidney research and finding novel solutions.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
Education Projects (R25)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Kidney, Urologic and Hematologic Diseases D Subcommittee (DDK)
Program Officer
Gossett, Daniel Robert
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
University of Virginia
Internal Medicine/Medicine
Schools of Medicine
United States
Zip Code