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 and Polycystic Kidney Disease Research and Translation Centers are funded via P30.

Centers are funded every five years:

  • PKD Centers
    • Summer 2015
  • O’Brien Kidney Centers
    • Summer 2012, new applications in for Summer 2017
    • Summer 2013, new applications due in 2017 for Summer 2018
  • Pediatric Centers of Excellence in Nephrology
    • Summer 2012, new applications in for Summer 2017

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 goal of this Center is to develop new optical methodologies for investigators in Nephrologic and Urologic Research. Approaches include intravital multiphoton microscopy, 3-dimensional imaging and quantitative microscopic analyses.

Northwestern University O’Brien Kidney Research Core Center

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 who's 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: Our 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
      • Single Nephron and Metabolomics Core
      • Kidney Imaging Core
      • Model Organisms Core
    • Pilot & Feasibility Program
University of Michigan
  • Research Aims: Our goal is to develop improved diagnosis, prevention strategies and treatments for people with kidney diseases.

UT Southwestern Medical Center

  • Research Aims: The goal of the 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
      • 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

Yale University
  • Research Aims: Established to facilitate translational and clinical research that will advance the prevention and treatment of kidney diseases.
  • Activities & Services
    • Cores
      • Renal Physiology Core
      • Mouse Genetics and Cell Line Core
      • Human Genetics and Clinical Research Core

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

PKD Centers support research in cilia-related diseases and foster basic and clinical research to discover ways of combatting cystic diseases of the kidney in adults and children.

Mayo Clinic Rochester
  • Research Aims: Promote research leading to a better understanding of PKD through the discovery of therapy targets and development of clinical trials to improve patient outcomes.
  • Activities & Services
    • Cores
      • Gene Targeting Core
      • Epigenetics Core
      • Biomarkers Core
      • Clinical Research
    • Pilot & Feasibility Program
      • Maximize the development of research related to the Core Center theme and accelerate the growth of the Biomedical Research Cores and the training of new PKD physician-scientists.
UAB Hepatorenal Fibrocystic Diseases Core Center
  • Research Aims: Understanding the causes of Cystic Kidney Disease and other related disorder and the development of new therapeutic strategies.
  • Activities & Services
    • Cores
      • The Hepato-Renal Fibrocystic Disease Translational Resource
      • The Engineered Models Resource
      • The Cellular Physiology Resource
      • The Therapeutic Screening and Drug Discovery Resource
    • Pilot & Feasibility Voucher Program
      • Vouchers support the development of new projects that explore innovative concepts of relevance to hepatorenal fibrocystic disease research and will cover the costs associated with new resource/reagent development (e.g., animal model, CRISPR mutant cell lines, or requests for biological materials from models, etc.) or utilize of services (e.g., metabolic analysis, imaging and cystic index analysis, flow mechanosensation, pilot preclinical testing, etc.) available through the Core facilities in the HRFDCC.
University of Kansas Medical Center
  • Research Aims: To promote research leading to a better understanding of PKD through the discovery of therapy targets and development of clinical trials to improve patient outcomes.
  • Activities & Services
    • Cores
      • Gene Targeting Core
      • Epigenetics Core
      • Biomarkers Core
      • Clinical Research Core
    • Pilot & Feasibility Program
      • The Kansas PKD Research and Translation Core Center will offer three P&F grants funded through the P30 grant, plus two additional, targeted P&F grants funded by institutional matching dollars. Offering five P&F grants per year, locally and nationally, will maximize the development of research related to the Core Center theme and will accelerate the growth of the Biomedical Research Cores and the training of new PKD physician-scientists.
University of Maryland Baltimore
  • Research Aims: The goal of the Center is to promote translational PKD research by providing unique resources and expertise to an international group of investigators.
  • Activities & Services
    • Educational Enrichment Programs: Encourage critical thought which will yield creative approaches to research questions related to cystic kidney diseases.
    • Cores
      • Antibody and Vectorology
      • Mouse Models and Biobank
      • Cell Culture and Engineering
      • Clinical and Translational Core
    • Pilot & Feasibility Program
      • Support up to three new projects per year. In selecting projects preference is given to innovative lines of inquiry, junior investigators, and new investigators in the PKD field.

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.

Learn about NIDDK Research Training Programs


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.

Learn about NIDDK Small Business Programs

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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