St. Louis University Nephrologist, Researcher to Receive NKF’s Excellence Award

Dr. Krista Lentine to be honored at 2021 Spring Clinical Meetings for her work in kidney donation

March 16, 2021, New York, NY —Each year the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) considers the work of hundreds of specialists in the field of nephrology and selects among them those who most exemplify the relentless efforts of NKF to enhance the lives of patients through action, education, and accelerating change. 

Their work is vital to the 37 million adults in the U.S. who are affected by kidney disease and the 1 in 3 people who are at risk. NKF will honor these men and women at the 2021 Spring Clinical Meetings, which will be held virtually April 6-10. Among those honored this year will be Krista L. Lentine, MD, PhD, who will receive the 2021 Excellence in Kidney Transplantation Award. Dr. Lentine is professor of medicine with tenure, Medical Director of Living Donation, and Mid‐America Transplant/Jane A. Beckman Endowed Chair in Transplantation at SSM Saint Louis University Hospital. 

“Dr. Lentine’s research, policy and advocacy work shaped the development of a new framework for the evaluation, selection and informed consent of living donor candidates,” said Paul M. Palevsky, MD, NKF President. “Her studies of living donor health outcomes – including three publications in The New England Journal of Medicine – informed novel tools for tailored risk assessment and shared decision-making, based on simultaneous consideration of a profile of demographic and health characteristics. Krista’s excellent work impacted the first international guideline on living donor evaluation as well as U.S. policies for living donor care.”

The Excellence in Transplantation Award was established to recognize a scientist or clinician scientist whose exceptional research has contributed novel insights in or resulted in improved access to kidney transplantation.

“It is difficult to fully express my gratitude for this award embodying the NKF’s commitment to helping people navigate the challenges of kidney disease, organ donation and transplantation,” Dr. Lentine said. “I’m deeply honored to join esteemed past awarded colleagues and future recipients as we work together with the NKF and other organizations to make the gift of life possible for more patients in need. This shared mission honors the altruism of organ donors, and the courage, hope and appreciation of those who seek and receive transplants.”

Works to improve deceased donation, reduce discards

Along with efforts to expand opportunities for safe living donation, Dr. Lentine’s research agenda seeks to improve utilization of organs from deceased donors, reduce organ discards, and improve transplant patient outcomes. She currently leads investigations of the role precision medicine techniques, such as APOL1 genotyping, in the evaluation of deceased and living organ donors. She is Co-PI of one of 13 NIH “APOL1 Long‐term Kidney Transplantation Outcomes” (APOLLO) Network” U01 clinical consortia, and Co-PI of the NIH-funded “Living Donor Extended Time (LETO)” R01 study. 

To help reduce organ discards, she also studies appropriate use of organs from Hepatitis C-positive donors, the impact of deceased donor procurement biopsies on organ use, and artificial intelligence tools to support organ acceptance decisions. 

Testified in state legislature

Illustrating her dedication to translating research to patient-centered policy, Dr. Lentine testified along with her local NKF Executive Director at the Missouri State House and Senate in support of the Missouri Living Donor Protection Act – testimony that helped the bill become law in summer 2020. She previously chaired the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN)/United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) Living Donor Committee, and now serves as co-chair of the American Society of Transplantation (AST) Living Donor Community of Practice, Senior Staff of the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients (SRTR), member of the National Living Donor Assistance Center (NLDAC) Advisory Group, and member of the American Society of Nephrology (ASN) Policy and Advocacy Committee.

NKF Spring Clinical Meetings 

For the past 29 years, nephrology healthcare professionals from across the country have come to NKF’s Spring Clinical Meetings to learn about the newest developments related to all aspects of nephrology practice; network with colleagues; and present their research findings. The NKF Spring Clinical Meetings are designed for meaningful change in the multidisciplinary healthcare teams’ skills, performance, and patient health outcomes. It is the only conference of its kind that focuses on translating science into practice for the entire healthcare team.  This year’s Spring Clinical Meetings will be held virtually April 6-10.  

NKF Professional Membership 

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, 37 million adults are estimated to have chronic kidney disease (CKD)—and approximately 90 percent don’t know they have it.  1 in 3 adults in the U.S. is at risk for chronic kidney disease.  Risk factors for kidney disease include: diabeteshigh blood pressureheart diseaseobesity, and family history. People who are Black or African American, Hispanic or Latino, American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian American, or Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander are at increased risk for developing the disease. Black or African American people are almost 4 times more likely than Whites to have kidney failure. Hispanic or Latino people are 1.3 times more likely than non-Hispanic or non-Latino people to have kidney failure.

About the National Kidney Foundation

The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) is the largest, most comprehensive, and longstanding patient-centric organization dedicated to the awareness, prevention, and treatment of kidney disease in the U.S. For more information about NKF, visit