Skip to main content

NUGoKidney 2021 Year in Review

As another year of challenge and change winds down, we're taking a look back at some of our favorite moments and achievements from the past year. We’re so grateful for all of you - none of this would have been possible without your support. We look forward to connecting with you in 2022!


NUGoKidney continues to support groundbreaking discoveries and advances in kidney research

NUGoKidney continued to support investigators and clinicians in kidney disease research with resources and services that further our mission to identify, test, and advance the development of novel therapeutics for patients with kidney diseases. This year, the Center supported 34 investigators and was acknowledged in 26 publications.

One study from Pilot & Feasibility awardee, Jing Jin, MD, PhD, invented a new radiopharmaceutical for noninvasive imaging of kidney lesions. While another study by Feinberg Associate Professor, Sook Hyeon Park, MD, won first place in the CJASN Trainee Competition for her findings on donor-derived cell-free DNA & gene expression. Two-time Pilot and Feasibility awardeeJennie J Lin, MD, MTR, received the American Society of Nephrology (ASN) 2021 Carl W. Gottschalk Research Scholar Grant. The awarded project titled, Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress and Macrophage Function in APOL1 Nephropathy, studies how genetic variants modulate macrophage function at the intersection of kidney and cardiovascular disease. 

Research teams led by Daniel Batlle, MD and Pinelopi Kapitsinou, MD, received NUCATS COVID-19 Collaborative Innovation Awards, which funded new interdisciplinary research and collaboration projects on COVID-19 and the kidney. Dr. Batlle and his team’s research on soluble ACE2 proteins for COVID-19 also continues to be cited and has shown some exciting preliminary results for developing effective COVID-19 treatments.  

NUGoKidney researchers also received recognition for their numerous research contributions. NUGoKidney Director, Susan Quaggin, MD, FASN, was elected fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI) for her prolific innovations that have made an impact on the quality of life, specifically for her discovery of vascular signaling pathways essential for the development of specialized vessels in kidneys. Guillermo Oliver, director for NUGoKidney’s Preclinical Models Core and FCVRI Center for Vascular and Developmental biology, received the 2021 Earl P. Benditt Award in recognition of his numerous contributions to our understanding of the cell biology of the lymphatic system. 

Interested in collaborating with NUGoKidney in 2022? Request a consultation to learn more about how we can support your kidney research.


Photos from World Kidney Day 2021 and #SockItToKidneyDisease campaign

World Kidney Day 2021: #SockItToKidneyDisease Reaches over 400K

Over the 24 hours of World Kidney Day 2021, we received over 400 tweets and 216 total contributions to the #SockItToKidneyDisease campaign, reaching over 450,000 people on Twitter worldwide (that’s over 100,000 more than last year!). A special thank you to musician and kidney health advocate, David Rush, who inspired the campaign, for the continued support and awesome campaign video.  

#SockItToKidneyDisease with us in 2022! World Kidney Day 2022 is on Thursday, March 10, 2022. Save the date and find some inspiration in our Twitter moments.  
Collage of principal investigators who received FY2022 Pilot & Feasibility Funding

Four Pilot & Feasibility Grants Awarded

This year NUGoKidney Pilot & Feasibility Program was able to fund three new projects and renew one project for a second year, totaling nearly $150,000 in funds. These projects highlight NUGoKidney’s mission to facilitate new cross-disciplinary translational research for the identification and successful implementation of novel therapeutics for kidney disease. To date, the program has funded 16 investigators – five of whom are from other academic institutions. 

Learn about the 2021 funded projects. 

Our FY2023 call opens in March 2022!
Click here to sign up to get an email when the call opens.
Collage of students participating in SciHigh 2022 programming

SciHigh Expands & Welcomes 3rd Cohort of Summer Scholars

This year, SciHigh teamed up with local non-profit with local non-profit – – Color of MedicineTM – – to put on a virtual science lab for elementary school students. After learning about their mutually shared missions of promoting inclusion of students from underrepresented backgrounds in STEM and medicine, Color of MedicineTM and SciHigh decided to collaborate to bring the magic of science to students through virtual science labs.

Read more about the magic the partnership made happen 

In the summer, SciHigh welcomed 13 remarkable budding young scientists from high schools across Chicago for our SciHigh Summer Program. The 7-week hybrid program combined mentorship with in-person, hands-on experiences, and virtual interactive sessions on topics in science and medicine led by experts in nephrology and other fields such as pediatrics, genetics, nanoscience, and artificial intelligence. Scholars were celebrated during the poster showcase, where students presented their research findings and also shared their summer highlights and takeaways from their experiences to an audience of their mentors, program guest speakers, and peers.

Find out more about NUGoKidney’s 2021 SciHigh Summer Program. 

Melvin Thompson and Dinee Simpson profile pictures alongside outdoor shot of front of Woodson library

NUGoKidney Awarded Racial Equity & Community Partnership Grant alongside Melvin Thompson & Dinee Simpson, MD

NUGoKidney took partnership with Dinee Simpson, MD,  and Melvin Thompson, MBA to the next level with the Northwestern University Racial Equity & Community Partnership Grant. In 2019, NUGoKidney initially partnered with Endeleo Institute, Thompson and Dr. Simpson thanks to the ARCC partnership development grant. 

This partnership aims to help advance racial equity and address kidney health disparities in communities by creating access to healthy foods.  

Find out more about the partnership and the funded project.  

NUGoKidney Partners With Chicago KUH Forward for Kidney Week 2021 Event

On November 4th, the Chicago kidney community kicked off ASN Kidney Week with a Covid-Safe, in-person poster session and reception hosted by NUGoKidney and Chicago KUH Forward. Inviting faculty, fellows, and trainees from Chicago KUH Forward institutions, Northwestern was joined by colleagues from Rush University, University of Chicago, Loyola University at Chicago, University of Illinois at Chicago, Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital at Chicago for a night of networking, research, and fun.  

Learn more about Chicago KUH Forward 

Susan Quaggin, MD Leads Yearlong Campaign to Raise Awareness for Kidney Health

On January 1, 2021, NUGoKidney Director, Susan Quaggin, MD, FASN, invited people to join her to raise awareness for the 850 million people worldwide living with kidney diseases. The campaign quickly grew and united the kidney community in a yearlong effort to #SockItToKidneyDisease!  

Participants showed their support and their creativity by participating in a variety of activities involving the number 850 and sharing their challenges on Twitter and Instagram. People counted kilometers, miles, puzzle pieces, steps, punches, burpees, minutes, cakes, and much more to make the campaign was a huge success.  

Get ready for the 2022 #850Challenge with inspiration from this year's challengers in our Twitter moments! 

Follow on InstagramYouTube