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 are funded via P30. The Polycystic Kidney Disease Centers are funded via U54. For information on current funded Centers, please visit the NIH RePORTer website.

Centers are funded for project periods of five years. Current project periods and funding levels can be ascertained using the RePORTer tool. NIDDK plans for re-competitions at the end of each project period pending consideration and concurrence by the National Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases Advisory Council. Approved Center concepts can be found on this page.

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 goals of this Center are to develop new optical methodologies for investigators in Nephrologic and Urologic Research and provide an integrated approach to quantitative intravital and tissue microscopy to facilitate the study of disease processes and their therapy to our biomedical base and investigators from around the world. The approaches offered by this center include intravital multiphoton microscopy, 3-dimensional imaging and quantitative microscopic analyses.
  • Activities & Services
    • Cores
      • Intravital Imaging Core
      • Biosensor and Gene Delivery Core
      • Digital Image Analysis Core
    • Pilot & Feasibility Program
      • The Pilot and Feasibility program supports training of new investigators in learning various imaging research tools and participating in biennial workshops.

Northwestern University O’Brien Kidney Research Core Center

  • Research Aims: The goal of this center is to strengthen regional, national and international capacity to identify, test and advance the development of novel therapeutics for patients with kidney diseases by engaging across multiple institutions. The center achieves these goals through the following activities:
  • Activities & Services
    • Cores
      • Pre-Clinical Models Core
      • Therapeutics Development Core
      • Clinical and Translational Core
    • Pilot & Feasibility Program
      • The center conducts a Pilot and Feasibility program, whose primary purpose is to enhance cross-disciplinary collaborations, attract new investigators into the field and train therapeutics-focused investigators in nephrology.
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 whose 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: This 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
      • Animal and Translational Core
      • Kidney Imaging Core
    • Pilot & Feasibility Program
      • The Pilot and Feasibility (PAF) Grants program of this center is primarily focused to support new, outstanding, and innovative research proposals from junior investigators for training in renal physiology and imaging.
University of Michigan
  • Research Aims: The goal of this University of Michigan O’Brien Kidney Translational Core Center (MKTC) is to leverage Systems biology approaches for multiscalar integration across the translational spectrum to achieve Precision Health in Kidney disease.
  • Activities & Services
    • Cores
      • The Applied Systems Biology Core: This core is designed to provide genome scale information to empower the renal community to:
        • Understand kidney development and injury
        • Define molecular markers of diagnosis and disease progression
        • Identify critical therapeutic pathways
        • Define patient populations for targeted clinical trials
        • Individualized assistance using integrative data mining methods
    • Pilot & Feasibility Program
      • The pilot and feasibility program of this center provides seed funding to early state investigators to develop research expertise in kidney-specific areas and attract new scientific expertise to kidney disease research.

UT Southwestern Medical Center

  • Research Aims: The goal of this 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
      • The program assists renal investigators in their research and attracts other investigators to perform kidney research. The 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

  • Research Aims: The mission of this center is to advance research opportunities for kidney-related research and promote effective interactions between basic scientists and clinical researchers to advance effective prevention and treatment of acute and chronic kidney disease and their complications. The center achieves this mission through following activities:
  • Activities & Services
    • Cores
      • The Phenotyping-Pathophysiology Core
      • The Histology and Morphometry Core
      • The Cell and Genome Engineering Core
      • The Clinical and Translational Core
    • Pilot & Feasibility Program
      • The center conducts pilot and feasibility program to support new investigators and recruit new and established investigators to the field of Nephrology.
Yale University
  • Research Aims: The goal of this center is to facilitate translational and clinical research that will advance the prevention and treatment of kidney diseases and provide renal investigators both at Yale and across the country with access to highly specialized services not otherwise routinely available to support their research.
  • Activities & Services
    • Cores
      • Renal Physiology Core
      • Disease Models and Mechanisms Core
      • Human Genetics and Clinical Research Core
    • Pilot & Feasibility Program
      • The goals of Pilot grant program are to provide initial project funding for early career stage investigators, to attract new investigators into the field of kidney disease research, and to foster translational and clinical studies directly related to kidney diseases.

Pediatric Centers of Excellence in Nephrology

The goals of the Pediatric Centers of Excellence in Nephrology (PCEN) program are: 1. to attract new scientific expertise to the study of human pediatric renal physiology, kidney development, and pediatric kidney disorders; 2. to encourage multidisciplinary research in these areas; and 3. to develop the pediatric nephrology research community through a national research symposium, broad sharing of research resources, and a national Pilot and Feasibility grant program. The 3 funded centers will work collaboratively to reach the goals of the program.

Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

  • Research Aims: The CHOP PCEN facilitates extensive collaborative research around the causes, diagnoses, and treatment of kidney diseases in children and aims to break down barriers to clinical trials implementation.
  • Activities & Services
    • Learning Health System Core (LHS Core): This core leverages PEDSnet expertise and infrastructure to provide methodologic, informatics, and study development support to Center investigators and to expand the broad PEDSnet database to meet the needs of PCEN-sponsored studies.
    • Molecular Precision Nephrology Core (MPN Core): The overall goal of the MPN Core is to develop and maintain a tissue bank of human kidney samples that can be analyzed and translated into a kidney tissue reference resource atlas.
    • Enrichment Program: Aims to equip the research base with additional skill sets and maximizes interactions and intellectual discourse within the PCEN through early career engagement; career development and collaborations; and patient, family, and community engagement.
    • Opportunity Pool Pilot & Feasibility Program: Aims to support studies that promote synergistic interactions with the Cores, and brings new talent, scientific methods, and expertise to research focused on advancing clinical trials in childhood kidney disease.
  • Research Aims: Provide a coordinated, interdisciplinary approach to study the development of the kidney vasculature during embryonic, fetal and postnatal life. The main theme of this Research Center is “Regulation of Cell Fate during Kidney Development and Disease.” Broadly, the proposed research (Projects 1 and 2) deals with fundamental questions of clinical relevance in Pediatric Nephrology such as the understanding of the proper development, and the structural and functional maintenance of the kidney vasculature in health and disease. Foster advances in knowledge, new methodologies, training and collaborations in an inclusive and diverse multidisciplinary environment to improve the management of infants and children with renal and urological diseases.
  • 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. This is in coordination with the other 2 PCENs.
 Washington University Pediatric Center of Excellence
  • Research Aims:  The objective of the Washington University Kidney Single Cell Atlas Project (pKidCAP) is to create spatially resolved single cell molecular maps of pediatric reference and diseased kidneys at several time points across the pediatric lifespan. Discovery of regulatory factors associated with maturity and maladaptive or injury states will not only inform on therapeutic strategies but also in tissue engineering efforts.Project 1 of pKidCAP will construct a multimodal atlas of spatially resolved single nucleus gene expression and chromatin state maps with accompanying genomic variants at key stages of pediatric kidney development by using unique and innovatively collected high quality pediatric kidney samples from the Biomedical Core (pKidBIO).Project 2 will investigate the role of a new genetic driver of FSGS.Here single cell datasets as above will be generated at time points approximating the human postnatal development in control mice (for cross-species comparisons) and mouse model of FSGS (to find similarities in gene regulatory circuits with human FSGS). Through unique and innovative approaches and resources, WU Pediatric Center of Excellence will deliver novel concepts, knowledge and insights into the biology of kidney maturation and function in health and disease.
  • Activities & Services
    • Educational Enrichment Program
      • We will institute a summer research series for selected undergraduates/medical students to perform research in Center members' laboratories/clinical service, and in affiliated labs that will be enhanced by dedicated lectures and discussions with clinical and research faculty across various aspects of kidney development, engineering and disease.
      • Visiting lecture seminar series by leading experts in pediatric nephrology and single cell studies
    • Research Cores provide essential services, techniques, and resources to Center projects and Center participants, enabling them to conduct their research more efficiently, effectively, and in a cost-sensitive manner.
      • Pediatric Kidney Tissue Core
      • Human iPSC Core
    • Pilot & Feasibility Program
      • This Pilot and Feasibility program will encourage young and established investigators to undertake research relevant to kidney development, engineering and disease multiomics to accelerate the acquisition of knowledge that can be applied to treatment of children with renal and urological diseases and engineer devices to replenish kidney function.

Polycystic Kidney Disease Research and Translation Centers

The vision of the Polycystic Kidney Disease-Research Resource Consortium (RRC) is to accelerate discovery in polycystic kidney disease through innovation and resource sharing. The PKD- RRC was established in September 2020 as a collaborative team of Principal investigators (PIs) at three PKD Research and Translation Core Centers (RTCCs), the Central Coordinating Site (CCS) and the NIDDK. The RTCCs are located at the University of Maryland, the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, University of Kansas Medical Center, and the University of Alabama at Birmingham/Children’s National Medical Center. The CCS is located at University of Maryland.

Resources available through the PKD-RRC are available through

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

Funding Eligibility by Career Level arrow graphic

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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