Young Investigators Recognized at NKF’s 16th Annual National Young Investigators Forum

April 29, 2021—New York, NY—Research fellows were recognized for their excellence in basic and clinical research at the annual National Young Investigators Forum (YIF) on April 22 and April 23. Regional winners were invited to participate virtually and compete for national accolades based on original research they presented at the forum.

“I applaud all the nephrology and post-doctoral fellows who participated in this year’s Young Investigators Forum.  Kidney disease has reached epidemic proportions in the United States, affecting 37 million Americans,” said Paul Palevsky, MD, FASN, FNKF, National Kidney Foundation President. “These young investigators, the future of nephrology research, give us hope that their generation of researchers will find new approaches to decrease the burden of kidney disease and move us closer to being able to say, we can cure it,” added Palevsky.

Final awards were determined through an open competition that was judged by independent clinical experts. The 2021 winners in both categories include:

Basic Science

1st Place: Stephanie Mutchler, MD, PhD, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA for her project, Salt Status Modulates the Effects of Aldosterone on Distal Transporter Expression and Renal Inflammation

2nd Place: Laurence Black, PhD, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL, for her project, Characterizing De Novo Lymphangiogenesis During Acute Kidney Injury Using Three-Dimensional Imaging and Tissue Cytometry

3rd Place: Jiaojiao Xu, MS, PhD, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, for her project, Uncovering the Physiological Role of Olfactory Receptor 558 in Renal Vasculature

Clinical Research

1st Place: Christina Wang, MD, MSCE, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, for her project, Time-Varying Dynamics of Plasma Refill Rate and Risk of Hypotension During Maintenance Hemodialysis

2nd Place: Ruey Hu, MD, MPH, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN for his project, A Metabolomics Approach to Identifying Toxins Associated with Uremic Symptoms in Advanced Chronic Kidney Disease

3rd Place: Richard Chia, MD, University of Texas Southwestern, Dallas, TX, for his project, High Dietary Inorganic Phosphate Impairs Exercise Tolerance in Healthy Adults with Normal Renal Function Editor’s note: This presentation is not yet available for posting

The National Kidney Foundation’s Young Investigators Forum was funded through an educational grant provided by AstraZeneca.

About Kidney Disease

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

NKF Professional Membership

Healthcare professionals can join NKF to receive access to tools and resources both patients and professionals, discounts on professional education, and access to a network of thousands of individuals who treat patients with kidney disease. 

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