Speakers

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George Bakris
Director
Comprehensive Hypertensive Center, University of Chicago

Dr. Bakris received his medical degree from the Rosalind Franklin School of Medicine and completed residency in Internal Medicine at the Mayo Graduate School of Medicine where he also completed a research fellowship in Physiology and Biophysics. He then completed fellowships in Nephrology and Clinical Pharmacology at the University of Chicago. From 1988 to 1991, he served as Director of Renal Research at the Ochsner Clinic and had faculty appointments in the Departments of Medicine and Physiology at Tulane University School of Medicine. He later was Professor and Vice Chairman of Preventive Medicine and Director of the Rush University Hypertension Center in Chicago from 1993 until 2006. Currently, he is a Professor of Medicine and Director of the ASH Comprehensive Hypertension Center in the Department of Medicine at the University of Chicago Medicine. Dr. Bakris has published over 800 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters in the areas of diabetic kidney disease, hypertension and progression of nephropathy. He is the Editor or Co-Editor of 20 books, in the areas of Kidney Disease Progression and Diabetes as well as the new 3rd edition of Hypertension: A Companion to Braunwald’s The Heart. Additionally, he is an Associate Editor of the International Textbook of Cardiology. He was a member of the NIH National High Blood Pressure Education Program Working Group on Hypertension and Renal Disease (1994). He also serves as a special government expert to the Cardio-renal Advisory Board of the FDA and to CMS. He was a co-principal investigator on the NIH Clinical Research training grant for clinical research (K30) (1999-2004). He chaired the first National Kidney Foundation Consensus report on blood pressure and impact on renal disease progression (2000). He has also served on many national guideline committees including: The Joint National Committee Writing Groups VI & 7 (1997, 2003), the JNC 7 executive committee (2003), the American Diabetes Association Clinical Practice Guideline Committee (2002-2004), the National Kidney Foundation (K-DOQI) Blood Pressure Guideline committee (2002-2004 & 2013), (K-DOQI) Diabetes Guideline committee (2003-2005 & 2014), Chair, ADA BP Consensus Report (2016) and writing committee ACC/AHA Resistant Hypertension Guidelines (2016-2017). Dr. Bakris is the past-president of the American College of Clinical Pharmacology (2000-2002) and the American Society of Hypertension (ASH). He is the current Editor-in-Chief, Am J Nephrology, Editor-in-Chief- Up-to-Date, Nephrology section, Hypertension Section Editor Up-to-Date and Assoc. Ed of Diabetes Care. He serves on more than 18 editorial boards including Nephrology, Dialysis & Transplant, Hypertension, J Hypertension and J American Soc. Hypertension.

Vlado Perkovic
Executive Director
The George Institute Australia

Vlado Perkovic is Executive Director of The George Institute, Australia, Professor of Medicine at UNSW Sydney, and a Staff Specialist in Nephrology at the Royal North Shore Hospital. His research focus is in clinical trials and epidemiology, in particular in preventing the progression of kidney disease and its complications. He leads several international clinical trials, and has been involved in developing Australian and global treatment guidelines. He has played a central role in the development of an affordable dialysis system, which was a Eureka Prize finalist in 2017. Vlado is a member of the National Health and Medical Research Council Principal Committee on Research Translation, and is on the Board of the Australian Clinical Trials Alliance and the Association of Australian Medical Research Institutes. He is Chair of the International Society of Nephrology Advancing Clinical Trials (ISN-ACT) group; and is a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, and the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences. He serves on the Editorial Boards of a number of leading specialist and general journals, including the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, Circulation, and the New England Journal of Medicine.

Matthias Kretzler
Professor of Medicine Nephology/Internal Medicine & Bioinformatics
University of Michigan

Dr. Kretzler is the Warner-Lambert/Parke-Davis Professor of Internal Medicine/Nephrology and Computational Medicine and Bioinformatics. The overarching goal of his research is to define chronic organ dysfunction in mechanistic terms and use this knowledge for targeted therapeutic interventions. To reach this goal he has developed a translational research pipeline centered on integrated systems biology analysis of renal disease. He leads the U54 Nephrotic Syndrome Research Network (Neptune) in the Rare Disease Clinical Research Network II, is a Principle Investigator (PI) of the Coordinating center of the CureGN research network, the Director of the Applied Systems Biology Core, PI in the R24 “Integrated Systems Biology Approach to Diabetic Microvascular Complications” and site PI in the NIH Acceleration of Medicine (AMP) program in lupus. He has 20 years of experience in integration of bioinformatics, molecular and clinical approaches in more than 210 publications. He has a track record on interdisciplinary data integration of large-scale data sets in international multi-disciplinary research networks in the US, Europe, China and sub-Saharan Africa. These studies enable precision medicine across the genotype-phenotype continuum using carefully monitored environmental exposures, genetic predispositions, epigenetic markers, transcriptional networks, proteomic profiles, metabolic fingerprints, digital histological biopsy archive and prospective clinical disease characterization. The molecular mechanism identified have result in new disease predictors and successful phase II trial of a novel therapeutic modality in diabetic kidney disease. Matthias Kretzler was born in Bruchsal, Germany close to Heidelberg (and France). He received his medical training at the University of Heidelberg, Germany; Newcastle upon the Tyne in the U.K.; and at the University of Michigan. Taking full advantage of Germany’s medical training system, Matthias enrolled in an MD/PhD structured program working Wilhelm Kriz’s Anatomy and Cell Biology research team on the mechanism of glomerular filtration barrier failure. The fascination of the aesthetic beauty of glomerular filters has become the central theme of his research for the past 20 years. Beginning with ultrastructural morphology, he expanded his research efforts to modern molecular biology tools during a post-doctoral fellowship with Josie Briggs, MD, Juergen Schnermann, MD, and Larry Holzman, MD and the University of Michigan. After returning to Germany he built, under the mentorship of Detlef Schlondorff, MD, a molecular nephrology laboratory at the Medizinische Poliklinik in Munich. Using the unique research team network around the European Renal Cell Study Group, he initiated what is now a worldwide network of kidney research centers to define molecular mechanism of renal disease in humans. For this personalized medicine approach to Nephrology he found an ideal environment at his old alma mater – the University of Michigan – and is now embedded in the fascinating collaborative network of molecular biologists, clinician-scientists, mathematicians, bioinformaticians, and systems analysts at work in Ann Arbor. The love of his life, Annette, and his two children Katharina and Johannes, are very effective counterbalances to his busy life as a clinician-scientist and ensure he enjoys the wonders and beauties of Michigan’s nature.

Jyothis George
Head of Clinical Development, Therapeutic Area, CardioMetabolism
Boehringer Ingelheim

Jyothis is an entrepreneurial physician-scientist with a track-record in global leadership. Leading clinical development of BI’s cardio-metabolic portfolio (which includes two blockbusters – Empagliflozin and Linagliptin) His global outcome-trial leadership includes the pragmatic trial EXSCEL, the active-comparator trial CAROLINA, the CARMELINA trial with a renal-enriched population and the EMPEROR Heart Failure Program. This decade-long experience in clinical development (>40,000 patients from >40 countries), helped design a lean global registration programme in CKD, with world-leading university partners (EMPA-KIDNEY). He has dozens of publications in prestigious journals and multiple award-winning presentations complement >15 years of clinical practice -including senior roles in world-renowned tertiary hospitals. This foundation helped consolidate a team delivering high-impact publications in cardiology and diabetes, enabling the clinical implementation of Empagliflozin (EMPA-REG OUTCOME). Regulatory interactions (FDA, EMA and PMDA) range from pre-IND to approvals, including FDA Advisory Committee and CHMP Oral Examination. Addressing evidence needs of payers, HTAs and guideline providers is also a key focus.

Pernille B. Laerkegaard Hansen
Senior Director, Head of Bioscience, CKD, CVRM, IMED
AstraZeneca

Prof. Hansen has over 20 years of experience in Chronic kidney Diseases. She holds a PhD in physiology from the University of Southern Denmark. After a postdoc from the National Institutes of Health, National inst. of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Diseases, USA she later became Professor and Deputy Department Head of Cardivascular and Renal Research at the University of Southern Denmark. Prof. Hansen has significant experience from the field of renal hemodynamics and thorough experience in in vitro and in vivo systems as well as translational approaches. Prof Hansen is now working at AstraZeneca, Gothenburg, Sweden as Head of CKD, CVRM, IMED and also holds an adjunct professorship at Gothenburg University.

Matthew Breyer
Distinguish Scientist
Janssen Research & Development

Matthew D. Breyer, MD, CSO BioTDR Lead Generation Eli Lilly & Company (retired): Dr. Breyer received his M.D from Harvard, Internal medicine Residency at Michael Reese Hospital, and training in Nephrology at Parkland Hospital, University of Texas Health science center Dallas. From 1985-2007 he was Professor of Medicine in the division of Nephrology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center where his work focused on the study of transgenic mouse models to study diabetic kidney disease and hypertension. Dr. Breyer held numerous NIH and VA awards and from 2001-2006 headed the nephropathy sub-group of the NIH Animal Models of Diabetic Complications Consortium (AMDCC). As a result of his interest in developing treatments for diabetic nephropathy he moved to Eli Lilly in 2007 to oversee a program to develop bio-therapeutics for diabetic kidney disease. In 2009 he was appointed to his current position at Eli Lilly as Chief Scientific Officer Lead Generation Biotechnology Discovery Research, where he oversaw preclinical target identification and validation of biologics for metabolic, neurologic, oncologic and chronic kidney diseases.

Lori Gowen Morton
Vice President Research
Regeneron Pharmaceuticals

Dr. Lori Morton is Vice President Research at Regeneron Pharmaceuticals. Preciously she was Senior Director of Cardiovascular Research and Fibrosis Research. Dr Morton has a Ph.D. in Genetics and Molecular Biology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Following her Ph.D., Dr. Morton trained at Pfizer Pharmaceuticals and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

Curtis Rambaran
Senior Director & Global Team Leader
Daiichi Sankyo

Curtis Rambaran is a physician scientist and Global Team Leader within Cardiovascular, Metabolic & Renal Disease Therapeutic Area at Daiichi-Sankyo working in areas of heart failure, thrombosis and stem cell therapy. He is an internationally recognized cardiovascular therapy area expert with a postgraduate research doctorate in Cardiology and 8+ years Industry experience in leadership across late stage clinical programs and early phase Translational and experimental medicine studies. Recent European Head of Translational medicine now relocated to US east coast within same organization and reporting to SVP/CV TA head. With training and specialism within UK National Health Service, UK academia and Industry he brings diverse expertise combined with excellent communication skills and a nurturing personality. Curtis advocates enterprising leadership and global team working evidenced by his experience as medical governance lead on a large phase 3 outcomes study, and success working across EU, Japanese and US cultures.

Fabio Dorigotti
Global Medical Lead Vice President, Global Medical Affairs
Vifor Pharma

Radko Komers
Director – Nephrology
Retrophin

Radko Komers is a Medical Director of Nephrology at Retrophin and an Assistant Professor at Oregon Health & Science University. Retrophin is a biopharmaceutical company focused on developing pipeline for focal glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) and IgA nephropathy (IgAN), disorders characterized by progressive scarring of the kidney. Radko’s published papers include “Effects of xanthine oxidase inhibition with febuxostat on the development of nephropathy in experimental Type 2 diabetes” and “miR-21 promotes renal fibrosis in diabetic nephropathy by targeting PTEN and SMAD7”.

Colin Meyer
Chief Medical Officer & Executive Vice President
Reata Pharmaceuticals

Colin is Chief Medical Officer of Reata Pharmaceuticals and leads product development and strategy, clinical trial design and analysis, and medical affairs. He joined Reata in 2003. Colin received a B.S. in chemistry with specialization in biochemistry and a B.A. in biology from the University of Virginia. He received an M.D. from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School and an M.B.A. from Southern Methodist University Cox School of Business.

Carol Moreno Quinn
Senior Global Medical Affairs Lead
AstraZeneca

Carol Moreno is a Senior Global Medical Affairs Lead in AstraZeneca. She obtained her MD and PhD from the University of Murcia (Spain), after which she held a faculty position in the Department of Physiology at the Medical College of Wisconsin until 2013. She then moved to AbbVie and MedImmune in 2014 to lead the early portfolio development on Chronic Kidney Disease and in 2018 joined AstraZeneca Medical Affairs. Carol has an extensive record of successful research in renal, cardiovascular, metabolic and genetic research. Her expertise is focused on cardiovascular and renal therapeutic areas, with an emphasis in rare diseases and translational medicine. She currently leads several medical activities on evidence generation and medical education on Hyperkalemia.

Bergur Stefansson
Senior Research Physician, Medical Lead in Chronic Kidney Disease
AstraZeneca

Bergur Stefansson is a Senior Research Physician and Medical Lead in Chronic Kidney Disease at AstraZeneca. His recent published work includes “Reduction in albuminuria with dapagliflozin cannot be predicted by baseline clinical characteristics or change in most other risk markers” and “Contemporary rates and predictors of fast progression of chronic kidney disease in adults with and without diabetes mellitus”. He received his Ph.D in Renal Anemia from University of Gothenburg and worked as a Nephrologist at Sahlgrenska University Hospital for 17 years.

Barbara Gillespie
Adjunct Professor, Division of Nephrology & Hypertension
University of North Carolina

Barbara S. Gillespie, MD, MMS, FASN, is a board-certified nephrologist who completed her residency in internal medicine at the University of North Carolina (UNC) and her nephrology fellowship at Duke University Medical Center. She is currently a Vice President at Covance Global CRO where she is the Therapeutic Head of Nephrology and will continue to support sponsors on CKD drug & renal device development. She is also an Adjunct Professor at the University of North Carolina, Division of Nephrology and Hypertension. Barbara is currently on the Board of Directors for the Kidney Health Initiative, and a member of several Workgroups: Endpoints in IgAN, Barriers to CKD patient participation in CV Trials, and Endpoints for FSGS. Prior to Covance, Barbara worked at Quintiles (currently known as IQVIA) for 11 years, and most recently reported directly to the Chief Medical and Scientific Officer to support issues related to strategy, science, ethics and governance, with a focus on Medical Expertise Integration. She is a past Head of the North American Internal Medicine Medical Teams & was a team leader for 8 physicians reporting to her. As a Global Nephrology Lead she led CKD & ESRD trials from protocol development to trial execution, serving as a consultant to sponsors for Clinical Development Plans, Due Diligence, Regulatory submissions, Commercialization Plans, Health Economics Outcomes Research and Patient Reported Outcomes. Her roles also included Executive Sponsor on a Strategic Partnership and member on a Steering Committee and an Scientific Ad Board. She participates in several Advisory Boards and/or Stakeholder Panels including the FDA/EMA/NKF Workshop on Renal Endpoints (Stakeholder Committee and invited participant for March 2018), NKF CKD Registry (Scientific Ad Board) , UNC’s PCORI grant on Building Research Capacity in the Dialysis Community (Stakeholder Advisory Panel), and the global Standardized Outcomes for Nephrology (SONG) Initiative. Barbara has also served on an Independent Endpoint Adjudication Committee for a global CKD and CV Outcomes program. She is an Associate Medical Director at a small local dialysis unit, a Fellow of the American Society of Nephrology, and received board certification in Internal Medicine in 2004 and in Nephrology in 2006 & 2015

Melissa West
Project Director, Kidney Health Initiative
American Society of Nephrology

Anna Greka
Principal Investigator
Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Anna Greka is an institute member of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, where she directs the institute’s Kidney Disease Initiative. Greka is a physician-scientist leading the translation of scientific discoveries from the laboratory to clinical trials. She is an associate professor at Harvard Medical School (HMS); an associate physician in the Renal Division in the Department of Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH); and the founding director of Kidney-NExT, a Center for Kidney Disease and Novel Experimental Therapeutics at BWH and HMS. The Greka laboratory specializes in the development of precision therapies for difficult-to-treat diseases with a special interest in genetically defined disorders.. Her team focuses on a detailed, mechanistic understanding of disease pathways and circuits as the foundation for the development of targeted therapeutics. Specifically, her lab studies mechanisms of cell survival and metabolic regulation, with an emphasis on calcium signaling and transient receptor potential (TRP) ion channel biology. Applying this expertise to the study of kidney podocytes, the laboratory recently identified a specific TRPC5 channel blocker as the first mechanism-based therapeutic strategy for FSGS, a progressive kidney disease. Significant effort is also directed toward developing a targeted therapy for Mucin-1 associated autosomal dominant kidney disease, a rare disease with no cure. The Greka laboratory is also interested in using the modern tools of genomics and other multi-omic approaches to understand the mechanisms linking calcium signaling to disrupted cellular metabolism, with important connections to obesity and diabetes. Greka has been the recipient of several honors, including the 2018 Seldin-Smith Award for Pioneering Research from the American Society of Clinical Investigation, a 2017 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, a 2014 Top 10 Exceptional Research Award from the Clinical Research Council, and a 2014 Young Physician-Scientist Award from the American Society of Clinical Investigation Council. She also serves on the Harvard-MIT M.D.-Ph.D. Program Leadership Council. Greka holds an A.B. in biology from Harvard College and an M.D. and Ph.D. in neurobiology from HMS. She received her medical and scientific training in the Harvard-MIT program in Health Sciences and Technology in the laboratory of National Academy of Sciences member David Clapham, where she explored the role of TRP channels in neuronal growth cone motility.

John Brennan
Pharmaceutical Industry Consultant
AbbVie

John Brennan is the Principal Consultant in a pharmaceutical industry consulting service based in Illinois. He has broad experience in all phases of of global drug development with special interest in the application of translational biomarkers, point-of-care testing and strategic study analytics. He has more than 30 years of Pharma industry experience at Johnson and Johnson (Ortho), Bristol Myers Squibb, Solvay Pharma and AbbVie.

Gigi Shafai
Director of Medical Affairs
Akebia Therapeutics

Gigi completed her Pharm.D. at Northeastern University and has since developed a diverse background through her experiences in biopharma, government institutions (NIH), and pharmacy settings. She has served patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) through her work in hospital and retail pharmacy, at Tufts NEMC’s outpatient dialysis unit, a research fellowship at Roche managing anemia clinical trials, engaging in scientific discussions and presentations with academics across the country (Luitpold and Akebia), and through her current research and publication efforts at Akebia Therapeutics. As Medical Director in the Medical Affairs department at Akebia Therapeutics, she is involved in medical strategy at multiple levels – from supporting early commercialization and brand strategy for a development stage anemia drug, to establishing the first health economics and outcomes research efforts, to bringing clinical perspective for business development and new product planning efforts. She is passionate about building a real world, patient-centered approach to the development of novel treatments for CKD and implements this through her work on cross-functional teams and across corporate alliances.

Rahul Kakkar
Chief Medical Officer & Chief Strategy Officer
Corvidia Therapeutics

Rahul Kakkar is a founder and leads clinical and strategic development at Corvidia. Previously, Rahul was Director for Emerging Innovations at AstraZeneca, responsible for re-profiling assets across preclinical and clinical development. Through out-licensing efforts, his programs enabled the raise of over $85M in venture-backed capital. Rahul served as a consultant to Venrock and Novartis Venture Funds. Rahul is dual-trained as a physician-scientist via the American Board of Internal Medicine Fast Track program. His basic research at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston focused on immune signaling and novel biomarkers in cardiac ventricular maladaptation. He trained in Clinical Cardiology at the Massachusetts General Hospital. Rahul received his BA and MD from Tufts University where he graduated as a junior-inductee of the Alpha Omega Alpha honor society and served as an Albert Schweitzer Fellow.

Harry Alcorn
Chief Medical Director
Diamedica

Dr. Alcorn has over 30 years of clinical research experience working with public and private biotech and pharmaceutical companies in studies of kidney diseases and diabetic, hepatic and cardiovascular patients. He has designed, authored and been a consultant to a multitude of companies in the industry on protocol development, clinical execution and regulatory guidance. He has served as Principal Investigator or Sub Investigator in over 450 clinical studies and has assisted many biotech and pharmaceutical companies in negotiating protocols and presenting results to the FDA. Dr. Alcorn has presented at numerous international meetings and industry seminars discussing the critical challenges in conducting patient studies. Prior to joining DiaMedica, Dr. Alcorn served as Chief Scientific Officer at DaVita Clinical Research (DaVita), a company that provides clinical research services for pharmaceutical and biotech companies. During this time, he also served on the Board of Directors for The Association of Clinical Pharmacology Units and on the Board of Directors of MedTox Laboratories. In 2000 Dr. Alcorn started the US Renal Network, the first organization to coordinate clinical trial sites for the conduct of kidney studies. Prior to DaVita he held the position of Executive Director and led the clinical trials at GalaGen Inc, a biopharmaceutical company developing therapeutics to target life-threatening and emerging pathogens. Dr. Alcorn obtained his Bachelor of Pharmacy from Creighton University and his Doctor of Pharmacy from University of Nebraska Medical Center. He currently holds clinical faculty appointments with the University of Minnesota, Creighton University, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Virginia Commonwealth and the University of Colorado, Denver.

Dario Lemos
Medicine at Harvard Medical School, and Associate Bioengineer
Brigham and Women's Hospital

I am Junior Faculty and Principal Investigator at Harvard Medical School, and an Associate Bioengineer at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, where I lead a laboratory of regenerative renal biology. Our scientific contributions include the identification of novel mechanisms of crosstalk between inflammation and fibrosis, in settings of chronic kidney damage. Some of our major scientific contributions include novel mechanisms of nephron damage and fibrosis induced by the IL1/MyD88/IRAK4 signaling axis. Our work has been published and/or highlighted in Nature Medicine, JASN, Nature Reviews Nephrology, and Trends in Endocrinology and Metabolism, among others.

Steven Coca
Associate Professor, Medicine, Nephrology
Mount Sinai

Steven G. Coca, DO, is a graduate of the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine. He completed his medical residency and clinical nephrology fellowship at Yale University and Yale New Haven Hospital in Connecticut. He also received a Master’s Degree in Epidemiology and Public Health during his training at Yale. There, he later served as an Assistant Professor in the Section of Nephrology, until his recruitment to Mount Sinai in 2014 as Associate Professor. He is the Director for Clinical Research for the Division of Nephrology and was recently named Associate Chair for Clinical and Translational Research for the Department of Medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. His research has focused on using novel biomarkers to improve risk stratification in patients with acute kidney injury and patients at risk or with prevalent chronic kidney disease. He has been continually funded by the NIH over the last decade for multiple biomarker-related projects. Dr. Coca has been an active investigator in three large NIH-funded consortia: the Translational Research in Biomarker Endpoints in Acute Kidney Injury (TRIBE-AKI) consortium; the Assessment, Serial Evaluation, and Subsequent Sequelae in Acute Kidney Injury (ASSESS-AKI) consortium; and the CKD Biomarkers Consortium. He also has given numerous invited lectures at national conferences and leading academic medical centers over the past 13 years.

Darren Kelly
Chief Executive Officer & Managing Director
Certa Therapeutics

Darren is the CEO and Managing Director of Certa Therapeutics, bringing over 25 years of management and research expertise in the life sciences and biotech sector. Concurrent to his role with Certa Therapeutics, Darren is the Associate Dean (Innovation and Enterprise, MDHS) at The University of Melbourne, the Director of Innovation and Enterprise at the Centre for Eye Research Australia (CERA), the Director Biomedical Research in the Department of Medicine, St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne and CEO and Managing Director of OccuRx, where his research expertise lies in progressing pre-clinical novel interventions and developing experimental models of cardiovascular disease. Darren has published over 200 manuscripts in the field of translational research and novel interventions, many of which have had a direct impact on human disease. In 2009, Darren was a recipient of the prestigious TJ Neale award for outstanding contribution to nephrology. In 2015 Darren joined the Medical Research Commercialisation Fund as Venture Partner. Darren has proven history in translational research. He was previously Founder, CEO and Director of Fibrotech Therapeutics, a company that developed orally active anti-fibrotic inhibitors to treat underlying pathological fibrosis in kidney and heart failure, which was ultimately acquired by Shire Plc for a record 75 million USD upfront including milestone payments up to 600 million USD. Darren has a PhD in Translational Medicine from the University of Melbourne, and an Executive Diploma Business Administration. He is a current member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, AusBiotech, BioMelbourne Network and a Fellow of the American Society of Nephrology.

Jack Lawrence
Head of Global Development, CVM
Janssen R&D

Guangping Gao
Professor
University of Massachusetts Medical School

Benjamin Freedman
Assistant Professor, Division of Nephrology
University of Washington

Nichole Jefferson

KHI Patient Family Partnership Council

Nichole Jefferson, a native of Dallas, TX, currently resides in West Des Moines, IA. When diagnosed with end-stage renal disease in 2003, not only was she unaware of what it meant, she had no idea she was at high-risk for developing kidney disease. Though Nichole experienced both forms of dialysis (HD and PD), she preferred the convenience peritoneal dialysis offered. On June 12, 2008, she received the gift of life, a kidney transplant. Due to the many obstacles she faced following her transplant, Nichole realized that a transplant was simply another form of treatment and not a cure. This realization sparked her quest for knowledge, which later initiated her enthusiasm for advocacy. While in Dallas, Nichole was involved in the local chapter of the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) and continued volunteering with the organization following her move to West Des Moines in 2011. Nichole’s enthusiasm for advocacy increased even further when she realized that not many people understood the prevalence of kidney disease in the black community. This discovery encouraged Nichole to seek additional knowledge to share with her community and underserved populations. Soon thereafter she began speaking with legislators regarding the need for early detection and other issues relating to chronic kidney disease. In 2015, Nichole was selected to join the NKF Kidney Advocacy Committee, representing the state of Iowa. As a result of her advocacy, she was invited to join the Kidney Health Initiative's Patient and Family Partnership Council in 2016, and then became a Field Ambassador for the American Association of Kidney Patients in 2017. These opportunities allowed Nichole to broaden her advocacy audience to include not only kidney patients but nephrologists, researchers, scientists and other key stakeholders in the renal community. Being a member of the PFPC has allowed Nichole numerous opportunities to engage in the renal community, enabling her to expand her resources and share her kidney journey with others. As her education of kidney-related matters expanded, Nichole discovered another critical gap – few people she encountered during her journey were aware of home dialysis as a treatment option. In a desire to help spread awareness, she joined the Home Dialyzors United (HDU) Board of Directors in 2017, and was recently elected President of the Board. Nichole is grateful for the PFPC and the commitment to patients.

Tim Johnson
Director, Immunology Therapeutic Area
UCB

Lesley Inker
Director, Kidney & Blood Pressure Center, Director, Kidney Function & Evaluation Center, Director, Quality Improvement, Associate Professor
Tufts University School of Medicine

Aliza Thompson
Division of Cardiovascular & Renal Products, CDER
FDA

Frank Czerwiec
Chief Medical Officer
Goldfinch Bio

Dr. Czerwiec is Chief Medical Officer of Goldfinch Bio, “the kidney company” based in Cambridge MA. In this role, he is responsible for leading all aspects of clinical development in partnership with the CEO, CSO and CBO/COO in driving the overall strategy for the company’s current and future R&D pipeline. Dr. Czerwiec comes to Goldfinch Bio from Otsuka Pharmaceutical Development & Commercialization, Inc, where Dr. Czerwiec’s team was responsible for the approval of tolvaptan (Jynarque TM), the first treatment approved to delay chronic kidney disease progression in autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD) and the first US-FDA approved drug for treating an important form of CKD in the past decade. Dr. Czerwiec trained in Adult Endocrinology and Metabolism at the NIH – NICHD/NIDDK and Internal Medicine at the University of Miami School of Medicine.