NIH P50 Grant Renewal Fuels Collaborative Research

In 2012, the National Institutes of Health recognized the Division of Nephrology and Hypertension at Cincinnati Children’s as a pediatric center of excellence in nephrology. The recognition came with a P50 grant totaling over $4 million and, over the next five years, led to 100 peer-reviewed manuscripts, 15 new grants, eight patent applications and four final patent approvals. In late 2017, the NIH renewed the center’s P50 recognition with a five-year, $4.2 million grant. Principal Investigator and Division Director Prasad Devarajan, MD, talks about how this support will impact research efforts focusing on three different types of kidney disease.

What did the initial P50 grant help the division achieve?

Our first P50 grant funded research initiatives within the division’s training, administrative, enhancement, genomic, proteomic and biomarker cores, as well as three primary research projects and seven pilot projects in our major areas of interest and research expertise. This unique opportunity brought all of our team’s scientific and administrative capabilities to bear on critical translational research and training needs in pediatric nephrology.

Our first five years as a P50 grant recipient were very fruitful, and we were humbled when we received word of the five-year renewal. Cincinnati Children’s is one of only three hospitals in the country to be named a pediatric center of excellence in nephrology and receive this type of grant support.

What will be the focus of your division’s P50-funded research moving forward?

Our overarching theme remains the same: to conduct innovative and high-impact bench-to-bedside studies that explore the causes and possible therapies for critical pediatric kidney diseases that are underserved from a research standpoint—namely, acute kidney injury, kidney fibrosis and cardio-renal syndromes. We have been developing major areas of multidisciplinary interest and expertise related to these diseases for more than a decade at Cincinnati Children’s. 

Whose research is funded through the P50 grant renewal?

The grant renewal brings together experts in acute kidney injury, molecular biology, gene expression, informatics, biomarkers and many other areas essential to kidney research. We currently have five major studies and six pilot studies. Investigators include myself and other nephrology faculty members Michael Bennett, PhD (biomarkers); Elif Erkan, MD, MS (proteinuria); and Stuart Goldstein, MD (acute kidney injury). Four of our primary investigators are from outside the nephrology division: S. Steven Potter, PhD (Division of Developmental Biology); Bruce Aronow, PhD (Division of Bioinformatics); Burns Blaxall, PhD, FAHA, FACC, FAPS (Division of Molecular Cardiovascular Biology); and Ranjit Chima, MD, FAAP (Division of Critical Care Medicine).

The P50 grant provides a unique opportunity for collaboration and innovation among these talented researchers. It will be exciting to see what the next several years yield in our national collaborative efforts to better understand and treat pediatric kidney disease and injury.

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