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About the Division of Pediatric Nephrology

The Division of Pediatric Nephrology is active in patient care, research and education. Clinically, the Division is the only service in San Diego and Imperial County that provides comprehensive care to children with kidney diseases, including acute and chronic dialysis and renal transplantation. The new clinical facilities and arrival of outstanding clinical faculty have energized and revitalized the clinical practice. We were recognized as among the top 30 programs in Pediatric Nephrology in the U.S. News and World Report 3 years in a row: 29th in 2011; 17th in 2012; and 24th in 2013. Due to the significant increase in clinical volume, we have recruited two attending nephrologists. Dr. Caitlin Carter started a part-time position with us in January 2013. Dr. Lieuko Nguyen will be starting a full time position in October 2013. Dr. Celina Cepeda is our new Fellow, starting July 2013.

The laboratory of Dr. Robert Mak is focused on the molecular mechanism involved in weight regulation abnormalities and cardiovascular complications of chronic kidney diseases as well as genetic regulation of weight and height in chronic kidney disease. Dr. Wilson Cheung is a research scientist who works in Dr. Mak’s laboratory. In addition, the Division is actively involved in clinical research in a variety of diseases and conditions. Drs. Mak and Benador are an integral part of a longitudinal cohort of children with chronic kidney disease (CKiD) which has been continuously funded by the NIH for more than 10 years. Dr. Mak serves on the steering committee and Dr. Benador is the Center PI of the CKiD study. Dr. Vivian Reznik is part of the leadership of the NIH funded Center of Excellence in Research in Health Disparities which is conducting research on genetic, biochemical and environmental aspects of health disparities in hypertension, the metabolic syndrome and HIV.

The Division has a three-year accredited subspecialty fellowship designed to prepare fellows for a career in academic pediatric nephrology. The fellowship program was reviewed by the ACGME in 2008 and was accredited for an additional five years. We have been successful in consistently recruiting outstanding fellowship candidates. Medical students and pediatric residents take electives in pediatric nephrology, spending two to four weeks on both the inpatient and outpatient services with kidney conditions. Sujana Gunta, a pediatric nephrology fellow working in Dr. Mak’s laboratory, won national basic science research awards in 2012 from the American Society of Pediatric Nephrology and in 2013 from the Pediatric Academic Societies.

Major Goals and Plans

1. National recognition for care of children with kidney disease
2. Expand research program to achieve national recognition for basic and translational science for all current faculty
3. Expand current dialysis, apheresis and kidney transplant services
4. Extramural funding for fellowship program