Richard Lifton awarded at WCN 2007

April 24, 2007

In recognition of his outstanding basic research within the nephrology field, the International Society of Nephrology (ISN) presented Richard P. Lifton, Howard Hughes Medical Investigator at the Yale University School of Medicine (USA) with the prestigious Alfred Newton Richards Award at the Opening Lecture of the World Congress of Nephrology (WCN), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Established in 1986 by ISN, the 2007 Award honors Richard Lifton's contribution to the understanding of the molecular and genetic basis for renal and cardiovascular disease, particularly for studies of the mechanisms of sodium and potassium handling by the kidney and the role of mitochondrial genetic mutations. His role in connecting traditional renal physiology with the modern sciences of genetics and molecular biology has also been paramount.

Setting the scientific stage for 4 ½ days' renal insights and opportunities of excellence

Expressing his gratitude upon receiving the Award, Lifton delighted WCN participants with a highly inspiring 40-minute Opening Lecture exploration into Genes, genomes and the future of nephrology which clearly reflected his major contribution in unraveling the molecular genetic basis of more than a dozen hereditary disorders of hypertension and kidney disease. Demonstrating the importance of salt regulation in renal function, his group has also begun to explore the genetic basis of hypertension, describing variants in three known kidney transporter genes that appear to confer significantly reduced blood pressure.

Future directions

Recognizing the challenges in identifying genes that contribute to common, complex diseases, Lifton's outlook toward the future is undoubtedly positive.

With today's tools and technologies facilitating the comprehensive identification of common variations in DNA sequence and copy number, the rapid re-sequencing of large segments of the genome and the ability to identify the contribution of both rare and common variants to common diseases, Lifton observed that continued and great progress in the field can be naturally expected over the next decade.

However, in order to significantly advance the understanding of disease biology, he observed that interdisciplinary collaboration should and must be better rewarded and encouraged to drive toward improved approaches to diagnosis and therapy.

International Society of Nephrology

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