This renewal application seeks to sustain NIH funding to train pediatric nephrology fellows at the University of Pittsburgh/Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC to become successful clinician scientists. Few pediatric nephrologists have active R01 grants and few Pediatric Nephrology Divisions have multiple NIH funded faculty. Furthermore, there are few dedicated pediatric nephrology T32 training grant positions available to train fellows. Given current financial difficulties, it has also been difficult for Medical Schols and Departments of Pediatrics to commit resources to training fellows to do research. Taken together, there are often inadequate resources and few mentors available to train pediatric nephrologists to do basic, translational, or clinical research. The resulting paucity of pediatric nephrology fellows that develop successful careers in research significantly impedes progress in deciphering pathophysiology and treatments for kidney diseases that affect children (and subsequently adults). The objective of this program has been to train pediatric nephrology fellows to become clinician researchers. Through the first four years of the program, we have trained six fellows, including an underrepresented minority, all of whom are moving in academic positions and many of whom have (or are planning to have) significant research programs. We are seeking to renew the currently funded three positions for PGY5 or PGY6 pediatric nephrology fellows and to add a fourth position that could be used for training medical fellows or PhD postdoctoral fellows. This training program is uniquely positioned in that there are five (soon to be six) externally-funded Pediatric Nephrology faculty members (two of which are currently qualified to be mentors, which will increase as junior faculty research programs mature). This is one of the largest Pediatric Nephrology divisions in the country with ten (soon to be 11) MD and PhD faculty and a robust clinical program that has enhanced fellow recruitment. There are also several potential mentors outside of the Pediatric Nephrology Division at the University of Pittsburgh that have significant track records of NIH funding. Moreover, the University of Pittsburgh ranks in the top five for NIH awards obtained from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). The proposed faculty mentors in this program also have had a significant track record of mentoring post-doctoral trainees. The research areas are very diverse and include mentors focused on basic, translational, and/or clinical research. The environment is also very supportive and includes coursework and optional degrees for fellows (e.g. Fundamentals of Biomedical Science courses for basic research and Certificates in Clinical Research and Masters in Clinical Research, Public Health, and Bioethics for clinical/translational research). The training program is also very focused on increasing the diversity of trainees and on education regarding the responsible conduct of research. In summary, the breadth of the research opportunities, emerging training track record, and outstanding environment make this institution an excellent place to train pediatric nephrology fellows to become clinician scientists.

Public Health Relevance

Pediatric nephrology describes the field of medicine that cares for children with kidney diseases. There are very few pediatric nephrologists that have been trained to do research into the causes of kidney disease in children; thus, this decreases the chances of finding cures for kidney diseases in children. The purpose of this program is to train more pediatric nephrology doctors to do research on the causes of kidney disease in children.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
Institutional National Research Service Award (T32)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZDK1)
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Spruance, Victoria Marie
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University of Pittsburgh
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United States
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