New York Nephrologist Receives National Kidney Foundation Young Investigator Grant

Study Seeks to Develop New Tests to Decrease Peritonitis in Home Peritoneal Dialysis
New York—Wednesday, September 13, 2017– Transplant nephrologist John Richard Lee, MD, MS, has been awarded a 2017 Young Investigator Grant by the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) for a study he says will lead to the development of novel diagnostic tests to predict peritonitis and lead to future interventional studies to prevent its devastating complications.
"I hope that the technology will be able to be translated into the clinic, and I am immensely thankful for the support of the National Kidney Foundation,” said Dr. Lee, transplant nephrologist and assistant attending physician at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center and assistant professor of medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine.
He received the grant as part of the NKF Young Investigator Research Grant Program, which strives to improve the quality of life for those with kidney disease by funding promising young scientists in their research to discover the causes of kidney disease, how to prevent its progression and ways to improve treatment for those living with it today. Dr. Lee’s study emphasizes a strong need for research on peritoneal dialysis (PD), an alternative modality of dialysis that patients with kidney disease utilize. One of the major challenges that patients on PD encounter is peritonitis, a common infection that can cause significant morbidity and even death.
“Determining the cause of peritonitis can be challenging, as current culture methods do not always identify pathogens,” Dr. Lee said. “In this project, we plan to investigate cell-free DNA technology as a culture-independent method to diagnose the pathogens associated with peritonitis.” 
Dr. Lee hopes that the study, ultimately, will improve the care of patients on PD by improving diagnosis of peritonitis as well as predicting peritonitis before its development. Our NKF Young Investigator Research Program exists to help Dr. Lee and other pioneering researchers reach such potentially groundbreaking results.

“It’s critical that we stay on the front lines of clinical science that discovers better ways to treat and fight kidney disease,” said Kevin Longino, CEO of the National Kidney Foundation and a kidney transplant recipient. “It’s our responsibility and privilege to support researchers whose cutting-edge work can lead to real breakthroughs for each one of the millions of kidney patients like me.”

The NKF Young Investigator Grants are awarded for one-year terms. They are given based upon careful and balanced peer review by an independent committee, with an emphasis on the support of high-quality, clinical investigation.

Kidney Disease Facts

30 million American adults are estimated to have chronic kidney disease—and most aren’t aware of it. 1 in 3 American adults are at risk for chronic kidney disease. Risk factors for kidney disease include diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and family history of kidney failure. People of African American, Hispanic, Native American, Asian or Pacific Islander descent are at increased risk for developing the disease. African Americans are 3 times more likely than Whites, and Hispanics are nearly 1.5 times more likely than non-Hispanics to develop end-stage renal disease (kidney failure).

The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) is the largest, most comprehensive and longstanding organization dedicated to the awareness, prevention and treatment of kidney disease. For more information about NKF visit