7th Annual AKI Symposium Included Patient Advocate Experience

The 7th Annual AKI Symposium, held October 19, 2017, drew a diverse and engaged group of acute kidney injury (AKI) physician-scientists and junior investigators. The symposium featured two keynote speakers—Andrew Shaw, MBBS, and Benjamin Humphreys, MD, PhD—and, for the first time, an AKI patient advocate as the guest speaker—Leslie Megis.

Andrew Shaw’s keynote was “Endpoint for Clinical Trials in AKI – an Update from the StEP Initiative.” Shaw is the Executive Medical Director for Perioperative Services and the Executive Vice Chair for Anesthesiology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

From the Division of Nephrology at Washington University School of Medicine, Benjamin D. Humphreys delivered the second keynote “Acute to Chronic Kidney Disease: Mechanistic Insights.”

The keynote addresses were followed by Leslie Megis’ talk “My Personal Journey: AKI.” Meigs is a meningococcal meningitis survivor who subsequently suffered AKI as a child and required a kidney transplant as a teenager.

The afternoon was split into two sessions: an abstract presentation session and a patient education session. Seven University of Pittsburgh junior investigators presented their AKI research via a six-minute talk and four-minute Q&A. First Place prize of $500 was awarded to Katherine Maringer for “Endothelial Marker Expressing Stromal Cells are Important Regulators of Recovery from AKI.” Second Place prize of $300 was awarded to Megan Eshbach for “Heomglobin Inhibits Protein Uptake by Proximal Tubule Cells: Implications for Sickle Cell Disease.” Helong Dai was awarded Third Place prize of $200 for “Rictor Deficiency in CD11c+ Dendritic Cell Exacerbates Kidney Ischemia-reperfusion Injury.”

The patient education session included patients and UPMC nurses, and representatives from the National Kidney Foundation and the Western Pennsylvania Kidney Support Group. Talks addressed current research, drug management and education, services and support from the National Kidney Foundation, and grass roots patient advocacy.

The AKI Symposium was supported by the National Kidney Foundation, and by educational grants from Astute Medical, Inc. and Baxter Healthcare Corporation. Event organizers at UPMC and the University of Pittsburgh were:

Center for Critical Care Nephrology, Department of Critical Care Medicine

Pittsburgh Center for Kidney Research-O’Brien Center, Renal-Electrolyte Division, Department of Medicine

Thomas E. Starzl Transplantation Institute, Department of Surgery

Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, Division of Nephrology