ASN's Mission

To create a world without kidney diseases, the ASN Alliance for Kidney Health elevates care by educating and informing, driving breakthroughs and innovation, and advocating for policies that create transformative changes in kidney medicine throughout the world.

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2009 Award Recipients

Robert G. Narins Award

Burton D. Rose, MD

Burton D. Rose, MD. Dr. Rose is a clinical professor of medicine at Harvard University. Among his achievements, Dr. Rose has written several well-regarded textbooks, including Clinical Physiology of Acid-Base and Electrolyte Disorders, which is now in its fourth edition and has been translated into Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, and Chinese. He also wrote Pathophysiology of Renal Disease and co-authored Renal Pathophysiology: The Essentials.

In 1989, Dr. Rose co-founded UpToDate, and he has served as its editor-in-chief ever since. UpToDate is an educational resource available on the Web, on CD, and on PDAs that provides doctors with continuously updated answers to medical questions that arise when treating patients. To build and refresh its content, UpToDate collaborates regularly with more than 3000 experts from leading medical institutions around the world. The resource addresses questions in nephrology, primary care, family medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, and pediatrics. The objective, Dr. Rose said, is to help doctors "carry with them an entire library of medical knowledge and find answers to their questions within minutes."

Dr. Rose has been nominated five times for the Harvard Medical School Prize for Excellence in Teaching and has received similar awards recognizing his teaching talent from Brigham and Women's Hospital, the University of Massachusetts Medical School, and Saint Vincent Hospital.

Belding H. Scribner Award

James E. Cimino, MD

James E. Cimino, MD. Dr. Cimino is highly regarded for his role in finding an improved method of accessing the veins of dialysis patients. He led the team that developed the arteriovenous (AV) needle technique for vascular access in 1966—still a primary means for vascular access in chronic dialysis patients. The procedure creates a surgical connection between the artery and vein in the forearm that lasts longer than previously developed shunts, including the one developed by Dr. Scribner. The AV fistula is widely credited with prolonging the lives of patents with end stage renal disease and for simplifying their hemodialysis treatment.

Shortly after completing his medical residency and Air Force tour of duty, Dr. Cimino returned to the Bronx, where he was raised, to set up a practice. He worked first at the Bronx Veterans Administration Hospital. In 1960, he started a chronic dialysis program and established a nephrology residency. During the '60s, he was responsible for assisting in the placement of artificial kidneys in six New York metropolitan area hospitals. He was one of the first board-certified nephrologists.

Subsequently, he moved on to Calvary Hospital for advanced cancer patients in the Bronx, where he has held numerous positions, including chief of medicine and medical director. In 1994, he became director of the Palliative Care Institute at Calvary, serving until he retired from that position. Palliative care was Dr. Cimino's focus for many years. He not only cared for terminally ill cancer patients, but also lectured and wrote extensively on the subject, emphasizing nutrition, pain management, comfort care, and ethical issues.

Dr. Cimino has received numerous awards and honors, including the American Cancer Society's Hope Award and the American College of Physicians' Ralph Claypoole Sr. Memorial Award for Devotion of a Career in Internal Medicine to the Care of Patients. He also received two Laureate Awards from the American College of Physicians and is an Alpha Omega Alpha honorary faculty member.

In addition to his many years as a practicing physician, Dr. Cimino has taught medical students for more than five decades. He has been a clinical professor of medicine at New York Medical College since 1980. He is an honorary member of the American Dietetic Association for establishing and teaching a course in medical nutrition at New York University Graduate School for more than 20 years. Renal nutrition was an important part of the curriculum.

John P. Peters Award

William E. Mitch, III, MD, FASN

William E. Mitch, III, MD, FASN. For four decades Dr. Mitch has improved the lives of patients with renal disease—as a practicing physician, a medical researcher, and a medical school professor. He is widely recognized as an expert in the care of patients with hypertension and chronic kidney disease, with a particular focus on nutrition and diet. Among an extensive list of professional publication credits, Dr. Mitch is an editor of "The Handbook of Nutrition and the Kidney," a publication—now in its sixth edition—that guides physicians and nutritionists in applying dietary approaches to treat patients with kidney stones and hypertension.

Dr. Mitch's research identified how breakdown of muscle protein, or muscle wasting, is accelerated by chronic kidney disease and can be linked specifically to complications of kidney disease, such as metabolic acidosis, high levels of angiotensin II, and impaired signaling through the insulin/GF-1 pathway. His current research focus includes developing ways to block such pathways to correct the loss of muscle protein. His work has already helped in the development of a method for assessing muscle protein metabolism.

Dr. Mitch has earned numerous awards and accolades. Featured in several patient guides to top physicians, he was named one of "The Best Doctors in America" by American Health Magazine. He also received the National Torchbearer Award from the American Kidney Fund, which recognizes extensive work in nephrology and its impact on kidney patients' quality of life.

A graduate of Harvard University Medical School, Dr. Mitch practices in the Houston area and is the Gordon A. Cain Professor of Medicine and Chief of Nephrology at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.

Homer W. Smith Award

René J. Bindels, PhD

René J.M. Bindels, PhD. Dr. Bindels is a professor of physiology at the Nijmegen Centre for Molecular Life Sciences at Radboud University's Nijmegen Medical Centre in The Netherlands, where he has taught medical, biomedical, and dental students since 1988 and mentored numerous doctoral candidates.

His research focuses on the regulation of ion transport processes in the kidneys and small intestine. He is currently investigating the molecular mechanisms that control calcium and magnesium balance, with particular emphasis on the regulation of the new family of epithelial calcium and magnesium TRP (transient receptor potential) channels. Dr. Bindels' work has advanced the understanding of calcium channels and helped identify the major sites of calcium uptake along the nephron.

In addition to his teaching and research responsibilities, Dr. Bindels serves on the editorial boards of the European Journal of Physiology, the American Journal of Physiology, and the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology. He has lectured worldwide and authored more than 200 articles. In 2005, he was elected to the Academia Europaea, a group of leading scientists and scholars from several fields whose members include more than 40 Nobel Prize laureates.

Donald W. Seldin Young Investigator Award

Matthias Kretzler, MD

Matthias Kretzler, MD. Dr. Kretzler is an associate professor of internal medicine in the division of nephrology at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where he teaches medical students, internal medicine residents, and nephrology fellows. In addition to his teaching responsibilities, he is involved in a number of research initiatives at the state, national, and international levels. His research on chronic kidney disease addresses mechanisms for diabetic nephropathy, nephrotic syndrome, lupus nephritis, and IgA nephritis.

Since arriving at the University of Michigan in 2005, Dr. Kretzler has established the Personalized Molecular Nephrology Laboratory and the Michigan Renal Biobank. The laboratory uses modern molecular biology tools to better understand disease mechanisms activated in human renal biopsies. Dr. Kretzler and his team use these tools for molecular diagnosis of kidney and transplant failure in international multicenter studies. The Michigan Renal Biobank is a registry of medical histories, biopsy tissues, and specimens from patients with nephrotic syndrome and focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS). The biobank allows for development of a system of markers to subdivide different forms of FSGS, providing finer details as to prognosis, responsiveness to various drugs, and why some patients fail to respond to treatment.

At the national level, Dr. Kretzler initiated the Nephcure Biobank to establish prospective cohorts of patients with nephrotic syndrome for molecular phenotyping. In the international realm, he continues to integrate regional and national resources with the European Renal cDNA Bank, which he founded.

Dr. Kretzler serves on the advisory board of the European Kidney Research Association and on the editorial boards of the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, the Journal of Nephrology, Clinical Nephrology, and Nephrology, Dialysis, and Transplantation.