Halpin Foundation and the ASN announce recipient of Halpin Foundation-ASN research grant

October 30, 2008

The Halpin Foundation and the American Society of Nephrology (ASN) proudly announce the recipient of the Halpin Foundation-ASN Research Grant for 2008, which was created to provide funding for young faculty to foster evolution to an independent research career by providing transition funding toward successful application for an RO1 grant.

This year's recipient is Elena Torban, PhD. Dr. Torban, Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine, Division of Nephrology at McGill University, who will focus her research on podocytes, the cells in the glomerulus that are most important for preventing leakage of protein into the urine. Her research is significantly important in understanding the cell and molecular basis for nephrotic syndrome, which is often caused by membranous nephropathy.

The 2007 recipient, Changli Wei, PhD, MD, of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, is currently researching the role of TRPC6 in the pathogenesis of membranous nephropathy.

The necessity to gain insight into a kidney disease that causes loss of protein in the urine and a progressive decline in renal function initially partnered The Halpin Foundation with the American Society of Nephrology (ASN) and led to the creation of a fund to promote research relevant to membranous nephropathy in 2004.

The Halpin Foundation dedicated itself to the study of this important kidney disease after the Halpins' 14-year-old son was diagnosed with it in 1989. The foundation is committed to obtaining answers to questions that plague the medical community, including whether there is a hereditary predisposition to the disease. In addition to enabling researchers to better understand this disease, The Halpin Foundation is devoted to raising awareness of the disease in the scientific and lay communities.

"Unfortunately, there are many unanswered questions surrounding membranous nephropathy and nephrotic syndrome, and we are grateful to The Halpin Foundation for helping us fund new investigators to study this disorder," said ASN's President, Peter S. Aronson, MD, FASN.

In a concerted effort to highlight research advances and stimulate investigations regarding membranous nephropathy, ASN will sponsor a Clinical Nephrology Conference devoted to this topic during its annual fall meeting, Renal Week 2008. The session, entitled "Membranous Glomerulonephritis" will take place on Thursday, November 6 from 4:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. and will feature talks by David J. Salant, MD; Stephan Troyanov, MD; Giuseppe Remuzzi, MD; and Jack F. Wetzels, MD. Joan Halpin, President of the Halpin Foundation, is hopeful this symposium will "attract a diverse audience that will be encouraged to devote time and intellect to the consideration of the pathogenesis and therapy for this disorder."

ASN will also sponsor two Free Communications sessions on nephrotic syndrome during Renal Week. "Genetics of Nephrotic Syndrome and Other Mendelian Syndromes" will take place on Thursday, November 6 from 4:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m., and "New Insights into the Mechanisms of Proteinuria and the Nephrotic Syndrome: Beyond the Slit Diaphragm" will occur on Friday, November 7 from 1:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m..
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ASN is a not-for-profit organization of 11,000 physicians and scientists dedicated to the study of nephrology and committed to providing a forum for the promulgation of information regarding the latest research and clinical findings on kidney disease. ASN Renal Week 2008, the largest nephrology meeting of its kind, will provide a forum for 11,000 nephrologists to discuss the latest findings in renal research and engage in educational sessions related to advances in the care of patients with kidney and related disorders. Renal Week 2008 will take place November 4 - November 9 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia, PA.

American Society of Nephrology

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