Kidney Disease Centers

Enhancing the effectiveness of research related to nephrology by encouraging collaboration among investigators from relevant disciplines.

NIDDK Program Staff

Funding for Kidney Disease Centers

NIDDK funds Pediatric Centers of Excellence in Nephrology via P50. The O'Brien Kidney Centers are funded via P30. The Polycystic Kidney Disease Centers are funded via U54. For information on current funded Centers, please visit the NIH RePORTer website.

Centers are funded for project periods of five years. Current project periods and funding levels can be ascertained using the RePORTer tool. NIDDK plans for re-competitions at the end of each project period pending consideration and concurrence by the National Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases Advisory Council. Approved Center concepts can be found on this page.

Resources and Services Available from Kidney Disease Centers

Kidney Disease Centers generate investigative resources that can be made available to the broader research community. They have integrated teams of investigators from a wide range of disciplines, share specialized equipment, and serve as regional or national resources. Centers often support pilot and feasibility programs that fund small grants to generate preliminary data to include in larger grant applications and, many times, offer short-term enrichment activities. These applications may be received from within the Center institution or outside institutions.

O'Brien Kidney Centers

O'Brien Centers conduct interdisciplinary investigations that address basic, clinical, and applied aspects of biomedical research in renal physiology and pathophysiology. Investigations emphasize kidney diseases of hypertension and diabetes, immune- and nonimmune-related mechanisms of kidney disease, nephrotoxins and cell injury. The O'Brien Centers are committed to sharing resources widely throughout the kidney community.

Indiana O'Brien Center for Advanced Microscopic Analysis
  • Research Aims: The goals of this Center are to develop new optical methodologies for investigators in Nephrologic and Urologic Research and provide an integrated approach to quantitative intravital and tissue microscopy to facilitate the study of disease processes and their therapy to our biomedical base and investigators from around the world. The approaches offered by this center include intravital multiphoton microscopy, 3-dimensional imaging and quantitative microscopic analyses.
  • Activities & Services
    • Cores
      • Intravital Imaging Core
      • Biosensor and Gene Delivery Core
      • Digital Image Analysis Core
    • Pilot & Feasibility Program
      • The Pilot and Feasibility program supports training of new investigators in learning various imaging research tools and participating in biennial workshops.

Northwestern University O’Brien Kidney Research Core Center

  • Research Aims: The goal of this center is to strengthen regional, national and international capacity to identify, test and advance the development of novel therapeutics for patients with kidney diseases by engaging across multiple institutions. The center achieves these goals through the following activities:
  • Activities & Services
    • Cores
      • Pre-Clinical Models Core
      • Therapeutics Development Core
      • Clinical and Translational Core
    • Pilot & Feasibility Program
      • The center conducts a Pilot and Feasibility program, whose primary purpose is to enhance cross-disciplinary collaborations, attract new investigators into the field and train therapeutics-focused investigators in nephrology.
UAB-UCSD Core Center for Acute Kidney Injury Research
  • Research Aims: The Center
    • Supports shared core facilities to enhance collaborations and further research understanding
    • Fosters interactions among investigators from different backgrounds and disciplines whose shared interest is in kidney research
    • Provides intellectual resources and infrastructure to attract new and established investigators to AKI research
  • Activities & Services
    • Cores
      • Clinical Studies of AKI
      • Pre-Clinical Studies of AKI
      • Bioanalytical Core
      • Biostatistical Core
    • Pilot & Feasibility Program
      • The UAB-UCSD O'Brien Center Pilot and Feasibility (PAF) Grants program provides seed funds for new, outstanding, and innovative research proposals related to Acute Kidney Injury (AKI).
University of Pittsburgh
  • Research Aims: This center is designed to facilitate multidisciplinary research, as well as training and information transfer related to kidney cell biology, physiology, pathobiology, and translational research.
  • Activities & Services
    • Cores
      • Cellular Physiology Core
      • Animal and Translational Core
      • Kidney Imaging Core
    • Pilot & Feasibility Program
      • The Pilot and Feasibility (PAF) Grants program of this center is primarily focused to support new, outstanding, and innovative research proposals from junior investigators for training in renal physiology and imaging.
University of Michigan
  • Research Aims: The goal of this University of Michigan O’Brien Kidney Translational Core Center (MKTC) is to leverage Systems biology approaches for multiscalar integration across the translational spectrum to achieve Precision Health in Kidney disease.
  • Activities & Services
    • Cores
      • The Applied Systems Biology Core: This core is designed to provide genome scale information to empower the renal community to:
        • Understand kidney development and injury
        • Define molecular markers of diagnosis and disease progression
        • Identify critical therapeutic pathways
        • Define patient populations for targeted clinical trials
        • Individualized assistance using integrative data mining methods
    • Pilot & Feasibility Program
      • The pilot and feasibility program of this center provides seed funding to early state investigators to develop research expertise in kidney-specific areas and attract new scientific expertise to kidney disease research.

UT Southwestern Medical Center

  • Research Aims: The goal of this Center is to support research in the areas of kidney development and genetics, renal physiology, and chronic kidney disease. The specific aims are to generate new animal models to study the pathogenesis and treatment of human kidney diseases and their cardiovascular complications, accelerate the clinical application of discoveries made in renal basic science laboratories, and provide investigators with specialized tools and expertise to study kidney development, physiology, and pathophysiology.
  • Activities & Services
    • Cores
      • Animal Models Core
      • Physiology Core
      • Cell Biology and Imaging Core
      • Clinical and Translational Core
    • Pilot & Feasibility Program
      • The program assists renal investigators in their research and attracts other investigators to perform kidney research. The proposed studies must fall within the scientific objectives of the O’Brien Kidney Research Core Center and must utilize at least one Biomedical Research Core.

Vanderbilt University

  • Research Aims: The mission of this center is to advance research opportunities for kidney-related research and promote effective interactions between basic scientists and clinical researchers to advance effective prevention and treatment of acute and chronic kidney disease and their complications. The center achieves this mission through following activities:
  • Activities & Services
    • Cores
      • The Phenotyping-Pathophysiology Core
      • The Histology and Morphometry Core
      • The Cell and Genome Engineering Core
      • The Clinical and Translational Core
    • Pilot & Feasibility Program
      • The center conducts pilot and feasibility program to support new investigators and recruit new and established investigators to the field of Nephrology.
Yale University
  • Research Aims: The goal of this center is to facilitate translational and clinical research that will advance the prevention and treatment of kidney diseases and provide renal investigators both at Yale and across the country with access to highly specialized services not otherwise routinely available to support their research.
  • Activities & Services
    • Cores
      • Renal Physiology Core
      • Disease Models and Mechanisms Core
      • Human Genetics and Clinical Research Core
    • Pilot & Feasibility Program
      • The goals of Pilot grant program are to provide initial project funding for early career stage investigators, to attract new investigators into the field of kidney disease research, and to foster translational and clinical studies directly related to kidney diseases.

Pediatric Centers of Excellence in Nephrology

Below are the three currently funded centers, which focus on Translational Studies in Pediatric Nephrology, Undiagnosed Pediatric Renal and Urogenital Disorders, and Kidney Development, respectively.

Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center
  • Research Aims: The Center of Excellence serves as a national resource for conducting ground-breaking research into pediatric kidney disease.
  • Activities & Services
    • Cores
      • Research Cores provide essential services, techniques, and instrumentation to Center participants, enabling them to conduct their research projects more efficiently, effectively, and in a cost-sensitive manner.
        • Gene Expression Core
        • Proteomics Core
        • Biomarker Core
    • Pilot & Feasibility Program
      • Studies proposed by exceptional and promising young investigators in each of the three focus areas will interact with the Research Cores to form the basis for future investigator-initiated applications.
University of Virginia
  • Research Aims: Provide a coordinated, interdisciplinary, and inter-institutional approach to study the development of the kidney during embryonic, fetal, and postnatal life. The main theme of this Research Center is “Kidney Development and Disease: Cell Fate and Precursors of Disease in the Young and Adult.” Broadly, the proposed research deals with fundamental questions of clinical relevance in Pediatric Nephrology such as the understanding of kidney morphogenesis and homeostasis in health and disease.
  • Activities & Services
    • Educational Enrichment Program       
      • Inspire, attract, and stimulate the interest of young individuals in Pediatric Nephrology research.
      • Make new knowledge, technologies, expertise, and reagents available to all scientists worldwide.
      • Pursue collaborations with the broader research community.
      • Engage and educate the public and health professionals regarding recent advances in pediatric renal research.
    • Pilot & Feasibility Program
      • Encourages young and established investigators to take up research relevant to kidney development and disease and speed the acquisition of knowledge that can be applied to treatment of children with renal and urological diseases.

Polycystic Kidney Disease Research and Translation Centers

The vision of the Polycystic Kidney Disease-Research Resource Consortium (RRC) is to accelerate discovery in polycystic kidney disease through innovation and resource sharing. The PKD- RRC was established in September 2020 as a collaborative team of Principal investigators (PIs) at three PKD Research and Translation Core Centers (RTCCs), the Central Coordinating Site (CCS) and the NIDDK. The RTCCs are located at the University of Maryland, the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, University of Kansas Medical Center, and the University of Alabama at Birmingham/Children’s National Medical Center. The CCS is located at University of Maryland.

Resources available through the PKD-RRC are available through

UAB Hepatorenal Fibrocystic Diseases Core Center

University of Kansas Medical Center

University of Maryland Baltimore

Related Links

Research Resources

NIDDK makes publicly supported resources, data sets, and studies available to researchers to accelerate the rate and lower the cost of new discoveries.

  • Ancillary Studies to Major Ongoing Clinical Studies to extend our knowledge of the diseases being studied by the parent study investigators under a defined protocol or to study diseases and conditions not within the original scope of the parent study but within the mission of the NIDDK.
  • NIDDK Central Repository for access to clinical resources including data and biospecimens from NIDDK-funded studies.
  • NIDDK Information Network (dkNET) for simultaneous search of digital resources, including multiple datasets and biomedical resources relevant to the mission of the NIDDK.

Additional Research Programs

Research Training

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NIDDK supports the training and career development of medical and graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and physician scientists through institutional and individual grants.

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Diversity Programs

The NIDDK offers and participates in a variety of opportunities for trainees and researchers from communities underrepresented in the biomedical research enterprise. These opportunities include travel and scholarship awards, research supplements, small clinical grants, high school and undergraduate programs, and a network of minority health research investigators.

Learn about NIDDK Diversity Programs

Small Business

Small Business Programs

NIDDK participates in the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. These programs support innovative research conducted by small businesses that has the potential for commercialization.

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Human Subjects Research

Human Subjects Research

NIDDK provides funding for pivotal clinical research, from preliminary clinical feasibility to large multi-center studies.

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Translational Research

Translational Research process graphic

NIDDK provides funding opportunities and resources to encourage translation of basic discoveries into novel therapeutics.

Learn about NIDDK Translational Research Opportunities

Meetings & Workshops

  • NIH Common Fund

    Learn about current projects and view funding opportunities sponsored by the NIH Common Fund.

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