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February 1, 2011

Mark D. Okusa, M.D., named chief of Division of Nephrology

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Robert M. Strieter, M.D., Chairman of the Department of Medicine at the University of Virginia School of Medicine, has announced the appointment of Mark D. Okusa, M.D., FASN, as Chief of the Division of Nephrology. Dr. Okusa, the John C. Buchanan Distinguished Professor of Medicine, joined the UVA faculty in 1991  and serves as director of UVA’s Center for Immunity, Inflammation and Regenerative Medicine.

“I am honored to lead the division of Nephrology, which has grown into a leading center of clinical, research and educational excellence during the past two decades of leadership of Dr. Kline Bolton,” says Dr. Okusa. “I hope to build bridges and link our efforts with others in the UVA community. My goal for the Division of Nephrology and the Center for Immunity, Inflammation and Regenerative Medicine is to create a strong collaborative research environment that will interact with other research centers and departments.”

Dr. Okusa received his medical degrees from the Medical College of Virginia and completed his residency in internal medicine from MCV as well. He went on to complete a fellowship in Nephrology at Yale University.

Dr. Okusa’s research interests include acute and chronic kidney injury. His current research involves the role of inflammation and immune cells in initiating and maintaining acute kidney injury. Through funding from the National Institutes of Health, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and the American Heart Association, he has developed the foundation for clinical trials using adenosine 2a agonists and lysophospholipid ligands in both acute kidney injury as well as in diabetic nephropathy. He is the principal investigator of several NIH grants including a T32 training grant “Kidney Disease and Inflammation.”

Dr. Okusa has published more than 70 original manuscripts and book chapters. At the national level, Dr. Okusa has established himself in the area of acute kidney injury. He is the Chair of the Acute Kidney Injury Advisory Committee of the American Society of Nephrology (ASN) and member of the Acute Kidney Injury Network. He has been invited to speak at the ASN Renal Weekends on AKI (2009).  Dr. Okusa is an Associate Editor of Nephron Physiology , and member of the editorial board of the American Journal of Physiology:Renal Physiology , American Journal of Nephrology and Kidney International. Dr. Okusa is a regular member of the NIH Pathobiology of Kidney Disease Study Section.

“Mark Okusa is an outstanding clinician, scientist and educator. We are thrilled to have him lead the division,” says Dr. Strieter. “Dr. Okusa’s and the division’s research into why kidneys fail and how to cure or reverse kidney diseases through the development of new treatment and therapies holds the promise to improve the quality of life of millions of people who suffer from kidney disease.”

Dr. Okusa says he takes over a division which has been transformed by Dr. Bolton into a national leader in terms of clinical care, education and research. Nearly 20 years ago, the division cared for 80 patients a year in one dialysis center and now cares for more than 750 patients at seven centers. The division now consists of nine full-time faculty, four research faculty, nine clinical fellows and two research fellows, compared to only four faculty members and two fellows when Dr. Bolton took the reins.

“I am proud to have been recruited to UVA by Kline Bolton as he was developing a world-class division and hope to build upon the foundation he built over the past two decades,” says Dr. Okusa.

Dr. Bolton remains Director of the Nephrology Clinical Research Center at UVA and serves as Associate Clinical Director of the Division.

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