CHOP and Penn Launch Kidney Innovation Center

Michelle Denburg

image: Michelle Denburg, MD, MSCE, co-director of the Penn-CHOP Kidney Innovation Center and director of research for the Division of Nephrology at CHOP
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Credit: Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

Philadelphia, August 26, 2022—In an effort to improve the lives of children and adults with kidney disease, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and Penn Medicine are jointly launching the Penn-CHOP Kidney Innovation Center. The first-of-its-kind center will advance research to transform patient care for those of all ages, focusing on the early detection, prevention, and treatment of kidney disease and its complications.

“More than 850 million people suffer from kidney disease, and kidney disease is one of the fastest growing causes of death, so there is a pressing need to accelerate breakthroughs in our understanding and treatment of the condition,” said co-director Katalin Susztak, MD, PhD, a professor of Nephrology and Genetics at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. “This center will draw from experts across both institutions, using interdisciplinary collaboration as the driving force to accelerate research that improves the health and well-being of all patients with kidney disease.”

The center will focus on three main areas: fostering cutting-edge discoveries through collaboration between Penn and CHOP; recruiting and growing top talent to key areas that align with the center’s mission; and building the next generation of nephrology researchers through an enhanced training and mentorship program.

“By bringing pediatric and adult kidney researchers under one umbrella, we will accelerate the pace of discovery for both populations,” said co-director Michelle Denburg, MD, MSCE, Director of Research for the Division of Nephrology at CHOP and an associate professor of Pediatrics and Epidemiology at Penn. “Some processes of kidney disease are shared in adults and children, and others are unique, but in both cases, promoting crosstalk between researchers can shed light on mechanisms of disease for both children and adults and lead to precise diagnostics and treatments.”

The Kidney Innovation Center brings together scientists in clinical epidemiology, biostatistics, bioinformatics, computational biology, genetics, pathology, physiology, biochemistry, immunology, genomics, pharmacology, psychology, and education. Researchers will take a bench-to-bedside, big data approach, investigating the molecular pathways, genetics, and biochemistry involved in kidney disease and identifying targets for potential therapies.

The center will promote a culture of cooperation and discovery among researchers at CHOP, Penn, and beyond by hosting an Annual Kidney Life Course Research Symposium, as well as regular meetings, journal clubs and shared resources. It will also grow local talent through training in the latest research methods and the administration of a pilot grant program.

Learn more here about research already underway in Susztak’s laboratorywhich explores the molecular pathways that govern chronic kidney disease development, and in the NIH-funded CHOP Pediatric Center of Excellence in Nephrology.

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About Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia: A non-profit, charitable organization, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia was founded in 1855 as the nation’s first pediatric hospital. Through its long-standing commitment to providing exceptional patient care, training new generations of pediatric healthcare professionals, and pioneering major research initiatives, the 595-bed hospital has fostered many discoveries that have benefited children worldwide. Its pediatric research program is among the largest in the country. The institution has a well-established history of providing advanced pediatric care close to home through its CHOP Care Network, which includes more than 50 primary care practices, specialty care and surgical centers, urgent care centers, and community hospital alliances throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey , as well as a new inpatient hospital with a dedicated pediatric emergency department in King of Prussia. In addition, its unique family-centered care and public service programs have brought Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia recognition as a leading advocate for children and adolescents. For more information, visit http://www.chop.edu.

About Penn Medicine:

Penn Medicine is one of the world’s leading academic medical centers, dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and excellence in patient care. Penn Medicine consists of the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (founded in 1765 as the nation’s first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health Systemwhich together form a $9.9 billion enterprise.

The Perelman School of Medicine has been ranked among the top medical schools in the United States for more than 20 years, according to US News & World Report’s survey of research-oriented medical schools. The School is consistently among the nation’s top recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health, with $546 million awarded in the 2021 fiscal year.

The University of Pennsylvania Health System’s patient care facilities include: the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Penn Presbyterian Medical Center—which are recognized as one of the nation’s top “Honor Roll” hospitals by US News & World Report—Chester County Hospital; Lancaster General Health; Penn Medicine Princeton Health; and Pennsylvania Hospital, the nation’s first hospital, founded in 1751. Additional facilities and enterprises include Good Shepherd Penn Partners, Penn Medicine at Home, Lancaster Behavioral Health Hospital, and Princeton House Behavioral Health, among others.

Penn Medicine is powered by a talented and dedicated workforce of more than 52,000 people. The organization also has alliances with top community health systems across both Southeastern Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey, creating more options for patients no matter where they live.

Penn Medicine is committed to improving lives and health through a variety of community-based programs and activities. In fiscal year 2021, Penn Medicine provided more than $619 million to benefit our community.


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