Pennsylvania Nephrologist Receives NKF Edith H. Blattner Young Investigator Grant

Project Examines Super-Resolution Ultrasound for Assessment of Kidney Vasculature
New York— Monday, August 6, 2018 – Roderick Tan, MD, PhD, has been awarded the 2018 Edith H. Blattner Grant Young Investigator Grant from the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) for research that will utilize high-resolution ultrasound to closely examine the kidney’s vital small blood vessels.
"I am honored and grateful that NKF has selected our project for this award,” said Dr. Tan, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Renal-Electrolyte, Department of Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh. “This funding is critical as we take our first steps in applying this groundbreaking technology to benefit patients with kidney disease. I hope that it will eventually help doctors provide their patient with a more accurate assessment of their kidney disease, and, in the case of acute kidney injury, the chance for recovery.”
Dr. Tan is collaborating on the study with colleague Kang Kim, PhD, Associate Professor of Medicine and Bioengineering at the University of Pittsburgh and the Heart and Vascular Institute at UPMC.  Dr. Tan received the grant as part of the NKF Young Investigator Research Grant Program, which 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. The Edith H. Blattner Young Investigator Grant is named for a late, dedicated and long-time supporter of NKF.
“The small blood vessels of the kidney have a tremendous effect on the kidney’s overall function,” Dr. Tan continued. “Vessel density is reduced after kidney injury, and these changes are a predictor of worse renal outcomes long term. However, we lack the ability to measure these blood vessels with any great accuracy in living patients. We are going to use noninvasive ultrasound imaging to visualize the kidney vasculature at a higher resolution than has ever been demonstrated previously. We will then use this data to provide valuable information about a patient’s current kidney function, as well as overall prognosis after acute or chronic injuries.” The Young Investigator Research Program exists to help Dr. Tan and other innovative researchers whom NKF recognizes to reach such potentially pioneering results.
“Predictive models to show which people with kidney disease will be more likely to develop complications is important,” said Joseph Vassalotti, MD, and Chief Medical Officer of the National Kidney Foundation. “NKF is pleased to support this study of super-resolution ultrasound to determine if the density of the blood vessels is predictive of acute kidney injury or sudden loss of kidney function outcomes.”
NKF Young Investigator Grants are awarded for one-year terms. They are given based upon careful and balanced peer review by an independent committee, with an emphasis on the support of high-quality, clinical investigation.
Healthcare professionals can join NKF to receive access to tools and resources for both patients and professionals, discounts on professional education, and access to a network of thousands of individuals who treat patients with kidney disease. 
Kidney Disease Facts
In the United States 30 million adults are estimated to have chronic kidney disease—and most aren’t aware of it.  1 in 3 American adults are at risk for chronic kidney disease.  Risk factors for kidney disease include diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and family history.  People of African American, Hispanic, Native American, Asian or Pacific Islander descent are at increased risk for developing the disease.  African Americans are 3 times more likely than Whites, and Hispanics are nearly 1.5 times more likely than non-Hispanics to develop end stage renal disease (kidney failure).
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