Scientific Advisory Board

Holly Kramer, MD, MPHHolly Kramer, MD, MPH – Chair; NKF President
Dr. Kramer received her M.D. from the Indiana University School of Medicine. After completing a nephrology fellowship at Harvard University Medical School in 2002, Dr. Kramer was jointly appointed to the Department of Medicine, Division of Nephrology and Hypertension, and Department of Public Health Sciences at the Loyola University Medical Center. She became co-director (Dr. Durazo) of the Clinical Research Methods and Epidemiology Program in 2005, developing several courses for the program, and later was the Program Director for the MPH Program in 2009-2013. Dr. Kramer is currently an Associate Professor of Public Health Sciences and Medicine in the Division of Nephrology and Hypertension. Her research interests include the intersection between nutrition, kidney disease and cardiovascular disease. She is the current NKF President, as well as Vice-Chair of NKF KDOQI Controversies and Commentaries. In 2016, Dr. Kramer was awarded the Garabed Eknoyan award from the National Kidney Foundation.
Venkatesh Kumar Ariyamuthu, MDVenkatesh Kumar Ariyamuthu, MD
Dr. Ariyamuthu is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Nephrology at UT Southwestern Medical Center and specializes in Transplant Nephrology. He also serves as the fellowship Director for Transplant Nephrology. Dr. Ariyamuthu received his medical training at the Madurai Medical College in India in 2003. He then completed Internal Medicine residencies at Madras Medical College and the University of Missouri School of Medicine, where he also performed his Fellowship in general Nephrology. He went on specialize in Transplant Nephrology at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. Prior to joining the faculty of UT Southwestern in 2014, Dr. Ariyamuthu held faculty positions at Meenakshi Medical College and Loyola University Medical Center. In addition to patient care, Dr. Ariyamuthu researches outcomes-based studies focused on improving access to kidney transplantation, effects/utility of induction agents in organ transplantation. Dr. Ariyamuthu is a member of the National Kidney Foundation, American Society of Transplantation, the American Society of Nephrology, the American College of Physicians, and the American Society of Hypertension.
Michael Choi, MDMichael Choi, MD
Dr. Choi is associate professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and served as nephrology fellowship director from 1996-2009. Dr. Choi is trained in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry after graduating from the Yale University, and received his Postdoctoral from the Penn Center of Molecular Studies of Kidney Disease, followed by his fellowship training at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. His clinical interests are primary glomerular diseases and nephrolithiasis. Dr. Choi is the co-editor of the Oxford Manual of Nephrology, Deputy Editor of Advances in Chronic Kidney Diseases, and served as NKF President, and chair of the NKF Spring 2011 Spring Clinical Meetings. He previously served as education chair of the NKF Kidney Disease Outcomes Quality Initiative (KDOQI) and founded the NKF education committee in 2015.
Della Connor, PhD, RN, FNP-BCDella Connor, PhD, RN, FNP-BC
Dr. Connor holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and a Master of Science in Nursing from the University of Texas Medical Branch, and she earned her Ph.D. in nursing from the University of Texas at Tyler. She has taught nursing since 2006 at the baccalaureate level, and she has been a family nurse practitioner since 2005. She has worked part-time with a local nephrology group, conducting chronic kidney disease educational sessions and rounding on dialysis patients. Her nursing interests include nephrology and dialysis, nutrition and fitness, motivation and coaching for nursing education success. Dr. Connor is a past chair of NKF’s Council of Advanced Practitioners Executive Committee.
Harold Feldman, MD, MSCEHarold Feldman, MD, MSCE
Dr. Feldman is the Chair of the Department of Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Informatics (DBEI), the George S. Pepper Professor of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, a Professor of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, Medicine (Renal Electrolyte and Hypertension Division), and Medicine in Pediatrics, and the Director of the Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics (CCEB). Dr. Feldman earned his MD in 1982 from Boston University before completing a residency in Internal Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles. He subsequently completed his fellowship training in nephrology at the University of Pennsylvania where he also trained in Clinical Epidemiology. His work has also been recognized through membership in the American Society of Clinical Investigation, the Association of American Physicians, and the American Epidemiological Society. He is President of the American College of Epidemiology. Dr. Feldman is also currently the Editor-in-Chief of the American Journal of Kidney Diseases after serving as past inaugural Deputy Editor of the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology and past Associate Editor of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Among his numerous national leadership roles, Dr. Feldman leads NIH's Chronic Renal Insufficiency Cohort Study (CRIC), the major national research effort making fundamental insights into the epidemiology, management, and outcomes of chronic kidney disease. Under his leadership, the CRIC Study has discovered numerous findings with great promise to advance the development of novel therapies to reduce morbidity in this population worldwide. Dr. Feldman also leads NIDDK's Coordinating Center of its Chronic Kidney Disease Biomarkers Consortium. He is also the director of multiple NIH-funded institutional training grants in the clinical epidemiology of kidney disease, cancer, and neurological disorders. Dr. Feldman's published scholarship of more than 200 research publications has appeared in many leading biomedical journals.
Morgan Grams, MD, PhDMorgan Grams, MD, PhD
Dr. Grams is a nephrologist and Associate Professor with a joint appointment in the Departments of Medicine and Epidemiology at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, USA. Dr. Grams holds academic degrees from Yale, Columbia, and Johns Hopkins University. She completed an internal medicine residency at New York Presbyterian-Columbia University and a nephrology fellowship at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Dr. Grams is Director of Nephrology Initiatives for the Chronic Kidney Disease Prognosis Consortium, an 11-million participant, global consortium, and she also maintains active research programs in the metabolomics and genomics of kidney disease as well as drug safety in chronic kidney disease.
Lesley Inker, MDLesley Inker, MD
Dr. Inker is an Associate Professor at Tufts University School of Medicine (TUSM), an attending physician in the William B. Schwartz, MD Division of Nephrology at Tufts Medical Center (TMC), and scientist at the US Department of Agriculture Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging (USDA HNRCA) at Tufts University. Dr. Inker's primary research interests are in kidney function measurement and estimation, alternative endpoints for clinical trials of kidney disease progression, and epidemiology and outcomes related to CKD. Dr. Inker is an investigator on several trials of kidney disease progression. Dr Inker has worked with NKF leadership on improving CKD awareness, including revising the ICD codes related to kidney disease in the United States. Dr. Inker was co-chair of the Kidney Disease Outcome Quality Initiative (KDOQI) committee on the CKD Guidelines, which wrote a commentary on the Kidney Disease Improving Global Outcomes (KDIGO) CKD 2012 guidelines. Dr. Inker is the Director of the Kidney and Blood Pressure Center, the Kidney Function Evaluation Center, and for Quality Improvement for the Division of Nephrology at Tufts Medical Center.
Elizabeth Yakes Jimenez, PhD, RDN, LDElizabeth Yakes Jimenez, PhD, RDN, LD
Dr. Yakes Jimenez is the Director of the Nutrition Research Network (NRN) for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and a Research Associate Professor in the Departments of Pediatrics and Internal Medicine at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center. She has a bachelor’s degree in human nutrition and a master’s degree in public health nutrition from Case Western Reserve University, and a PhD in epidemiology from the University of California, Davis. In her role as the Director of the NRN, she is currently overseeing research studies examining underutilization of Medicare medical nutrition therapy benefits for patients with non-dialysis dependent chronic kidney disease, and implementation of evidence-based nutrition practice guidelines for chronic kidney disease.
Jay Koyner, MDJay Koyner, MD
Jay L. Koyner, MD, is an Associate Professor of Medicine in the Section of Nephrology at the University of Chicago. He completed his undergraduate degree in Biophysics at the The Johns Hopkins University. He then went on to complete medical school at the State University of New York at Stony Brook where he awarded a degree with distinction in research following completion of an additional year for a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Research Fellowship. Dr. Koyner then completed his internal medicine and nephrology training at the University of Chicago, where he currently serves as the medical director of the Inpatient Dialysis Unit and Director of ICU Nephrology. His critical care nephrology research interests have focused on the utilization of plasma and urine biomarkers to improve patient risk stratification and outcomes in the setting of AKI. He has contributed to several multicenter centers investigating the biomarkers of AKI, including the TRIBE-AKI study and the Furosemide Stress Test. Other research interests have included AKI following cardiac surgery, the impact of CRRT modality on systemic cytokine levels, and AKI therapeutics. Currently he is working on using the electronic health record to develop AKI risk scores to improve the care of patients with early AKI. He has published over 80 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters on AKI and the care of patients in with kidney injury in the ICU.
Eugene Lin, MDEugene Lin, MD
Dr. Lin is an Assistant Professor of Medicine and of Public Policy at the University of Southern California. He is a board-certified nephrologist and health services researcher with a focus on economic policies pertaining to kidney diseases. His main research focus is in cost-effectiveness and assessing the impact of financial incentives on patient outcomes. Currently, he is studying the economic and social determinants of home dialysis drop-out and the appropriateness of 30-day rehospitalizations in patients receiving dialysis. He also has interests in the impact of Medicare policies on the delivery of healthcare by providers and has studied how to optimize chronic disease management, including an investigation on the cost-effectiveness of multi-disciplinary care programs in chronic kidney disease. Recently, he helped the NKF refine its CKD Intercept payment model. He also served as moderator for two of the clinical subcommittees convened by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to develop episodes of care for the Quality Payment Program (“Acute Kidney Injury Requiring New Inpatient Dialysis” and “Hemodialysis Access Creation”). Eugene received a BS in biology (minor in mathematics) from Stanford University, an MD from Baylor College of Medicine, and completed his Internal Medicine residency at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and his fellowship training at Stanford University.
Sankar Navaneethan, MD, MS, MPHSankar Navaneethan, MD, MS, MPH
Dr. Sankar D. Navaneethan is an Associate Professor of Medicine at the Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas and Director of Clinical Research, Section of Nephrology, Baylor College of Medicine. After graduating from medical school, he has also completed formal training in public health and clinical research. His major research interests include: obesity and intentional weight loss in chronic kidney disease, health services research, systematic reviews and clinical trials in nephrology. As an author of over 200 peer-reviewed publications, he is currently involved in multiple clinical studies and leads the NIH- funded CRIC- Visceral adiposity and physical fitness in CKD study. He is an associate editor for the American Journal of Kidney Diseases, official publication of the National Kidney Foundation, and Nephrology Self-Assessment Program (CKD section) published by the American Society of Nephrology. He also serves on the editorial boards of other nephrology journals and guideline committees.
Paul Palevsky, MD, FNKFPaul Palevsky, MD, FNKF
Dr. Palevsky is Professor of Medicine and Clinical and Translational Science in the Renal-Electrolyte Division at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and is Chief of the Renal Section at the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System. He completed his undergraduate and medical education at Northwestern University followed by internship and residency training in internal medicine and fellowship training in nephrology at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Palevsky joined the faculty at the University of Pittsburgh in 1989, where he has remained since. Dr. Palevsky's research has primarily focused on acute kidney injury and critical care nephrology. He was the study chair of the VA/NIH Acute Renal Failure Trial Network (ATN) study evaluating intensity of renal replacement therapy in critically ill patients with acute kidney injury and currently serves as co-chair of the PRESERVE trial, evaluating the comparative effectiveness of saline and bicarbonate and the efficacy of N-acetylcysteine in preventing kidney damage following angiography. Among other clinical trials, Dr. Palevsky was a member of the planning and executive committee of the VA NEPHRON-D study, which compared monotherapy with an angiotensin receptor blocker to combination therapy with both an angiotensin blocker and an angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitor in slowing progression of diabetic kidney disease, and is a member of the steering committees for the EUPHRATES trial, evaluating extracorporeal endotoxin adsorption in severe sepsis. Dr Palevsky has published more than 200 original articles, reviews and book chapters, serves as a deputy editor of the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology and is section editor for Renal Failure for UpToDate. He is a former member of the board of directors and past chair of the Quality, Safety and Accountability committee of the Renal Physicians Association, is the vice-chair of the board of directors of Quality Insights Renal Network 4 (ESRD Network 4) and is a member of the National Kidney Foundation's Scientific Advisory Board.
Stephen Pastan, MDStephen Pastan, MD
Dr. Pastan is an Associate Professor of Medicine in the Division of Transplantation at Emory University School of Medicine and serves as Medical Director of the Kidney and Pancreas Transplant Program. Dr. Pastan’s clinical interests are in the short term and long-term care of patients after transplant, and in the assessment of patients as candidates for transplantation. His research focuses on understanding the barriers patients face to be evaluated for and to receive a transplant. In particular, his work centers on finding strategies to increase transplant rates, particularly among racial minorities and socioeconomically disadvantaged patients, who have reduced access to kidney transplantation.
Michelle Rheault, MDMichelle Rheault, MD
Dr. Michelle Rheault is a pediatric nephrologist and Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Medical Director of Pediatric Dialysis at the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis, MN. She completed her medical school training, pediatric residency, and pediatric nephrology fellowship at the University of Minnesota Medical School. Dr. Rheault's primary clinical research interests are in therapies and outcomes for pediatric glomerular disease and Alport syndrome. She serves on the Medical Advisory Committee of the Alport Syndrome Foundation. In addition, she is on the steering committee for the Midwest Pediatric Nephrology Consortium and a member of the American Board of Pediatrics Subboard of Pediatric Nephrology.
Michael V. Rocco, MD, MS, FACP, FNKFMichael V. Rocco, MD, MS, FACP, FNKF
Dr. Rocco is Professor of Medicine at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. He received his MD degree from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee and also served his Internal Medicine residency at Vanderbilt. He completed a nephrology fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and received a master's degree in epidemiology at Wake Forest University. He has been on the faculty of the Wake Forest University School of Medicine since 1991 and currently holds the Vardaman M. Buckalew Jr. Chair in Nephrology. He has more than 100 manuscripts and book chapters in the areas of hemodialysis, peritoneal dialysis, nutrition, chronic renal failure and epidemiology. He has served as the clinical center Principal Investigator at Wake Forest for several NIH trials, including the HEMO Study, the Acute Renal Failure Trial Network (ATN), the Dialysis Access Consortium (DAC) and the Frequent Hemodialysis Network (FHN). In the HEMO Study he served as the Chair of the Nutrition committee and the Vice-Chair of the Outcomes Committee. In the FHN Trial, he is the Clinical Core Consortium PI for the Nocturnal Trial and the Chair of the Outcomes Committee. Dr. Rocco is currently the Chair of the National Kidney Foundation Kidney Disease Outcomes Quality Initiative (KDOQI); he served as the Vice-Chair for KDOQI from 2003 - 2007 and was the vice-chair for the NKF KDOQI Hypertension Work Group.
Wendy St. Peter, PharmD, FCCP, BCPS, FNKFWendy St. Peter, PharmD, FCCP, BCPS, FNKF
Dr. St. Peter is a Professor in the College of Pharmacy at the University of Minnesota. She received her Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the University of Texas Health Science Center, where she also completed a fellowship in adult medicine. She served as a clinical practitioner at Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis for several years where she provided medication therapy management of dialysis and chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients as part of a interprofessional team. She was Associate Dean and Director, Division of Professional Education in the College of Pharmacy from 1997-2000. In 2000, she became an investigator with the Chronic Disease Research Group and also with the United States Renal Data System (USRDS, 2000-2014) in Minneapolis. Dr. St. Peter's career has been focused on improving medication management and drug safety in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) to improve health outcomes. She conducts clinical and pharmacoepidemiologic research using Medicare, health system as well as commercial datasets. She conducted and helped design the secondary study of the large prospective Dialysis Clinical Outcomes Revisited (DCOR) trial, linking trial data with Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services data to determine additional clinical outcomes and economic costs. Dr. St. Peter holds fellowships in the American Society of Nephrology, American College of Clinical Pharmacy and the National Kidney Foundation. She has served on several national technical expert panels for medication-related safety and quality measurement issues. Her current research interests include new models of care for CKD patients as well as treatment of CKD anemia, mineral and bone disorder, and the intersection of management of heart failure, CKD and/or acute kidney injury.
Charuhas Thakar, MDCharuhas Thakar, MD
Dr. Thakar received his medical degree from the Bharati Vidyapeeth Medical College, University of Pune, India in 1995. He completed an Internal Medicine residency at Bridgeport Hospital, Yale New Haven Health in Bridgeport, CT and a Nephrology fellowship at The Cleveland Clinic Foundation in Cleveland, OH. Dr. Thakar currently serves as the Director, Division of Nephrology, Kidney C.A.R.E (Clinical Advancement, Research & Education) Program at the University of Cincinnati in OH and Chief of Renal Section at the Cincinnati VA Medical Center. Dr. Thakar is an experienced educator, having joined the University of Cincinnati as an Assistant Professor in 2004 and was promoted to Professor of Medicine with Tenure in 2014. He is a nationally recognized for his research related to acute kidney injury and progression of chronic kidney disease. His work has been published in top-tiered peer-reviewed journals, and he has received funding from the Department of Veterans Affairs, NIH and other national foundations. Additionally, he completed an executive education program at Harvard Business School in Managing Healthcare Delivery. He has vast leadership experience in complex healthcare environments, including federal, non-profit, and private sectors.
National Staff:
Kerry Willis, PhD
Joseph Vassalotti, MD
Tonya Saffer, MPH
Jessica Joseph, MBA