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2019 Innovation Symposium Recap

Innovation Symposium 2019 Collage


On October 18, 2019, NUGoKidney hosted its inaugural Kidney Disease Therapeutic Innovation Symposium, focusing on the pathbreaking research and transformative policies that are creating a brighter future for those with kidney disease.

The goal of the annual symposium is to provide a forum for scientific exchange about the current and emerging innovations in kidney research and treatment and forge new collaborations to advance therapeutic discovery and implementation in kidney diseases.

For its first year, the symposium featured a multi-disciplinary lineup of experts reshaping the future of kidney research and treatment through innovative approaches and discoveries in the lab or their forward-thinking changes in policy and healthcare.

Click to see the full Innovation Symposium program. 

Exploring Kidney Research Innovations

The symposium kicked off with Chad Mirkin, PhD (pictured below) – a world-renowned chemist and Director of the International Institute for Nanotechnology. His discussion focused on how the field of nephrology is primed for nanomedicine and the ways spherical nucleic acids could play a role. 

Mirkin Innovation Symposium 2019 Talk


Discussion of the innovative scientific approaches paving the way for a future without kidney diseases continued with presentations from innovative physician-scientist, Katalin Susztak, MD, PhD from the University of Pennsylvania, and pioneering bioengineer Milica Radisic, PhD from the University of Toronto.

Susztak presented findings from her lab on the use of single-cell sequencing as a powerful tool to identify targets to accelerate the development of novel nephro-therapeutics. 

Learn more about Dr. Susztak and her novel approaches to studying chronic kidney disease. 

Radisic delved into the emerging organ-on-a-chip technology can be used to foster faster and safer drug development for kidney disease. 

Learn more about Dr. Radisic and her pioneering work. 



Bridging Kidney Research and Policy

Complementing the explorations of trailblazing kidney science, the symposium highlighted the intersection between science and policy with discussions about the recent policy breakthroughs of the Advancing American Kidney Health Initiative. This included a fireside chat featuring Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of CVS Kidney Care, Bruce Culleton, MD, and the American Society of Nephrology’s Director of Policy and Government Affairs, Rachel Meyer.

Innovation Symposium Fireside Chat


NUGoKidney Director, Susan Quaggin, MD, moderated the thought-provoking fireside chat where Culleton and Meyer (both pictured with Quaggin above) shared their journeys into working in the kidney space. They also shared their valued perspectives on what’s needed to continue the momentum of the recent Executive Order on Advancing American Kidney Health and to fulfill its aim of reimagining kidney care.

Meyer continued the discussion in an afternoon session on the specifics of the Advancing American Kidney Health Initiative and the associated efforts catalyzing the development of novel ways to prevent and treat kidney disease such as the KidneyX Innovation Accelerator.

Meyer also emphasized these efforts are just the beginning and that continued dialogue among key stakeholders and leveraging the power of social media for advocacy are key to building upon the groundwork laid by the Advancing American Kidney Health Initiative.

Other Symposium Highlights 

The day also included updates on projects from NUGoKidney’s 2018 Pilot & Feasibility Grant Awardees, lightning talks from poster presenters, a poster competition, and networking social. 

Innovation Symposium Poster 2019 Collage

The top 3 posters were awarded prizes. Winners of the poster competition were: 

First prize

Tomokazu Souma, MD, PhD | Duke University Department of Medicine – Division of Nephrology

Single-Cell RNA Sequencing Identifies Cell-Type Specific Cellular Responses To Renal Ischemia-Reperfusion Injury Read the abstract.

Second prize

John Silva, MD | Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine, Division of Nephrology & Hypertension

The Effects of Systemic, Inducible Over-expression of HIF-2a on the Body Read the abstract.

Third prize

Ann Wang, MD Candidate 2020 | Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine

Cardiac MRI demonstrates findings of subclinical HFpEF in patients with CKD Stage 3-4 Read the abstract.

Check out all the photos from the 2019 Innovation Symposium here.
To get the latest on the 2020 Innovation Symposium and other NUGoKidney Educational events, follow us on Twitter and Instagram @NU_Nephrology or join our mailing list.

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