Garnet Valley Researcher Receives National Kidney Foundation Young Investigators Grant

Study examines relationship between sickle cell disease and kidney disease in African American youth

New York, NY (August 18, 2016) – Divya Moodalbail, MD, of Garnet Valley, Pennsylvania has been awarded a 2016 Young Investigators Grant by the National Kidney Foundation for her work on APOL1 Related Kidney Disease in Youth with Sickle Cell Disease (SCD).

The NKF Young Investigator Research Program strives to improve the quality of life for those with kidney disease by funding promising young scientists in their research to discover the causes of kidney disease, how to prevent its progression and ways to improve treatment for those living with it today. 

Dr. Moodalbail is a Pediatric Nephrologist at Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, DE. She is studying the genetic risk for kidney disease in comparison to the number of laboratory markers of the disease in children and young adults with SCD. 

SCD is a chronic, debilitating, hereditary blood disorder seen in 1 in 300 African Americans. It is associated with a multitude of acute and chronic health problems including an increased risk for kidney disease. Early identification of youth with SCD and at high risk of kidney disease is critical because available preventive interventions can promote kidney health and slow its progression.

“This research is critically important due to the magnitude of impact SCD has on life expectancy, quality of life, earning capacity, and healthcare costs for many Americans,” said Moodalbail. “Furthermore, as SCD is a disease of minorities, there is a longstanding concern of disparate healthcare utilization, delivery and availability.” 

Moodalbail expects to publish her work in 2017. She plans to continue her research in the area of sickle cell nephropathy, and ultimately obtain peer-reviewed research funding vital for her career development and scientific independence.

 “We recognize that research is an important means to advancing our knowledge of kidney disease, developing new methods to slow its progression and finding innovative ways to improve treatment,” said Kevin Longino, CEO of the National Kidney Foundation. “Supporting researchers at the early stages of their investigative careers, like Dr. Moodalbail, can contribute to a life-long commitment of discoveries and progress in treatment.” 

The Young Investigator Grants are awarded for one-year terms, beginning on July 1, 2016. The awards are based upon careful and balanced peer review by an independent review committee, with an emphasis on the support of high-quality clinical investigation.

Kidney Facts:
To date, NKF’s innovative research grant program has invested over $100 million in support to over 1,100 talented researchers investigating the causes and treatments of kidney disease. 

1 in 3 American adults is at risk for kidney disease.  26 million American adults have kidney disease -- and most don't know it.  Risk factors for kidney disease include diabetes, high blood pressure, family history, and age 60+.  People of African American, Hispanic, Asian, Native American or Pacific Islander descent are at increased risk for developing the disease.

The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) is the largest, most comprehensive and longstanding organization dedicated to the awareness, prevention and treatment of kidney disease.  For more information about NKF visit www.kidney.org.

Publication Date: 
Tuesday, August 23, 2016