San Francisco Researcher Receives National Kidney Foundation Young Investigators Grant

Study examines weight as a risk factor for adverse outcomes in patients with chronic kidney disease. 

New York, NY – Elaine Ku, MD, of San Francisco, CA has been awarded a 2016 Young Investigators Grant by National Kidney Foundation for her research in risk factors for adverse outcomes in patients with chronic kidney disease.

The NKF Young Investigator Research Program 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. Elaine Ku, MD, is Assistant Professor, Division of Nephrology and Pediatric Nephrology, University of California, San Francisco. In this study, Dr. Ku is interested in comparing the weight trajectory of children versus adults with kidney disease over time. 

As kidney disease advances, it is not uncommon for many patients to experience decreased appetite and weight loss.  However, when such weight changes may potentially occur, and whether weight loss increases the risk of adverse outcomes, has not been well-defined. 

“The results of this study should help providers and patients with kidney disease better understand the role of weight changes role in kidney disease outcomes and whether these weight changes increase the risk of death in patients during long-term follow-up,” said Dr. Ku, “Our ultimate goal is to be able to develop interventions that may help support improve the nutritional status of patients even as kidney disease progresses.”

Ku expects to publish her work sometime next year. In her next research project, she plans to compare blood pressure management in children versus adults with kidney disease, and how differences in the diagnosis and management of blood pressure relates to outcomes in both children and adults. 

“We recognize that research is an important means to advancing our knowledge of kidney disease, developing new methods to slow its progression and finding innovative ways to improve treatment,” said Kevin Longino, CEO of the National Kidney Foundation. “Supporting researchers at the early stages of their investigative careers, like Dr. Ku, can contribute to a life-long commitment of discoveries and progress in treatment.”

The Young Investigator Grants are awarded for one-year terms, beginning on July 1, 2016. The awards are based upon careful and balanced peer review by an independent review committee, with an emphasis on the support of high-quality clinical investigation.

Kidney Facts:

To date, NKF’s innovative research grant program has invested over $100 million in support to over 1,100 talented researchers investigating the causes and treatments of kidney disease.

1 in 3 American adults is at risk for kidney disease.  26 million American adults have kidney disease -- and most don't know it.  Risk factors for kidney disease include diabetes, high blood pressure, family history, and age 60+.  People of African American, Hispanic, Asian, Native American or Pacific Islander descent are at increased risk for developing the disease.

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