Fellows ÓhAinmhire, Kadyrov and Koolwal Win Research Day Awards

We are proud to announce that the top three awards of the 2017 Midwest Nephrology Fellows’ Research Day conference went to Eoghainin ÓhAinmhire PhD, Farid Kadyrov, BS, and Pooja Koolwal, MD, of the Division of Nephrology at Washington University.

Nephrology fellows from institutions across the region met in Kansas City on February 17 for the event. The annual conference is an opportunity for young investigators to gain experience writing abstracts and present original research to an audience of peers and faculty judges. The top presenters in Basic and Clinical Sciences also earn travel awards to participate in the Young Investigators Forum held during the National Kidney Foundation Spring Clinical Meeting.

The event is a venue for fellows to network and discuss career tracks with research faculty from a variety of Midwest programs. This year, Midwest faculty judges included Madhukar Misra (University of Missouri), Krista Lentine (Saint Louis University), Marie Philipneri (Saint Louis University), and Holly Kramer (Loyola University).

Dr. Lentine, Professor of Medicine, Medical Director of Living Kidney Donation at Saint Louis University Center for Transplantation, and a Washington University alumnus, has been involved in Fellows’ Day since 2014 and helped organize the conference.

The keynote speaker this year was Dr. Christopher McIntyre from Western University in Ontario, Canada. Dr. McIntyre is internationally regarded for applying novel translational approaches to explain mechanisms of morbidity in dialysis patients. He challenged attendees to combine creative thought, innovative action, and emotional messaging to build a successful research career.

Eoghainin ÓhAinmhire, a PhD fellow in Dr. Benjamin Humphreys’ laboratory, won first place for his presentation, Recreating the Renal Interstitium Using GLI1 Mesenchymal Stem Cells. The project is part of a collaboration with other labs to rebuild a human kidney using various progenitor cell types.

“Here, I explore the progenitor potential of Gli1 positive mesenchymal-like cells and their ability to directly differentiate into various cells within the renal interstitium, and stabilize vascular networks,” says Dr. ÓhAinmhire. “The final goal will be to combine progenitor cells from the different cell types of the kidney with a scaffold to generate a functional renal system. Attending the Midwest Nephrology Fellows Research Day gave me an insight into the type of research being conducted in the Midwest, and set up potential collaborations with other participants. The advice and feedback from leading researchers in the field will prove invaluable in my future research.”

Research Technician Farid Kadyrov, also from the Humphreys laboratory, won second place for his abstract. “I presented on the capacity of kidney proximal tubular cells to return to a progenitor-cell-like state during the course of acute kidney injury, in order to repair the kidney epithelium,” says Kadyrov. “I believe this is a very important phenomenon to understand as it can help develop therapies for acute kidney injury, as well as understand how this condition transitions to chronic kidney disease. I had a great time working on this project under the guidance of Dr. Monica Chang-Panesso and Dr. Benjamin Humphreys, and am very pleased to have received an award for my presentation!:

Pooja Koolwal, MD, a first-year WU nephrology fellow, was awarded third place for her abstract on Mesoamerican Nephropathy. “We collaborated with our sister nephrology program at IGGS in Guatemala City to look at albuminuria as a marker for renal damage in a high-risk agricultural community on the southern coast of Guatemala, via a population-based prevalence study,” says Dr. Koolwal. “The project was led by Dr. Ever Cipriano Maldonado under the mentorship of Drs. Vicente Sanchez Polo, Joaquin Barnoya and Marcos Rothstein.” Dr. Koolwal also presented an abstract, mentored by Tarek Alhamad, MD, on Pyelonephritis in kidney transplant recipients: correlation between pathology and clinical presentation.

“All participants of the Research Day were also awarded attendance to the 12th Annual National Young Investigator’s Forum at the NKF Meeting in Orlando this April,” Koolwal says. “I am looking forward to participating in discussions about the new and innovative ideas at the forefront of our field.”
Also presenting from Washington University were Usman Younus, MD, (Acthar in Recurrent FSGS in Kidney Transplant Recipients) and Karthikeyan Venkatachalam, MD, (Safety and Outcomes of PLQ in Kidney Transplant Recipients with Lupus).

Dr. Lentine says, “It was inspiring to spend the day engaging with this group of energetic, talented fellows and to learn about their projects and interests. Everyone was a winner today.”

Fellow judge Dr. Philipneri agreed, “We hope all the participating fellows will return home motivated to advance their research to the next level.”

A call for abstracts for the next Midwest Fellows’ Research Day will be issued in Fall 2017.