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UAB's Lisa Guay-Woodford earns top international nephrology prize

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- University of Alabama at Birmingham professor Lisa Guay-Woodford, M.D., will receive a top international award in nephrology, the Lillian Jean Kaplan International Prize for Advancement in the Understanding of Polycystic Kidney Disease, given by the The PKD Foundation and the International Society of Nephrology.

She was cited for her original contributions to the field of polycystic kidney disease (PKD) research, clinical practice and the advancement of potential PKD therapies.

"I truly am honored to receive this award in recognition of our investigative work, our care of affected infants and children, and our efforts to educate and support affected families," she said.

Guay-Woodford is a professor of genetics at UAB and her research focuses on the molecular genetic determinants of polycystic kidney disease. She is trained and certified as a pediatric nephrologist and also holds appointments in the departments of medicine, pediatrics and cell biology.

Guay-Woodford joined the UAB faculty in 1994 and was named director of the Inherited Renal Disorders Clinic at UAB and Children's Hospital in 1995. In 1997, as a result of her research and clinical efforts, the Polycystic Kidney Research Foundation awarded UAB a grant to establish the first North American Autosomal Recessive PKD Database - a comprehensive registry to collect and disseminate information about PKD.

In 2001, she was named the first director of the UAB Division of Genetic and Translational Medicine and the first director of the UAB Recessive Polycystic Kidney Disease Core Center when it was established in 2005. In 2007, she was appointed to the Anderson Family Endowed Chair in Medical Education, Research and Patient Care at UAB.

In addition to her work with PKD, Guay-Woodford is the principal investigator of five-year, $26.9 million grant awarded to UAB in May 2008 that will help transform basic scientific discoveries into practical applications. The grant, one of the largest single grants from the National Institutes of Health in UAB history, established the Center for Clinical and Translational Sciences at UAB, of which Guay-Woodford is the director.

At the national level, Guay-Woodford has served as president of the Society for Pediatric Research, a councilor to the International Pediatric Nephrology Association, and a member of Scientific Advisory Committees for the Polycystic Kidney Research Foundation, the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, and the National Institutes of Health. She also is a member of the American Society of Nephrology, American Society of Pediatric Nephrology, International Pediatric Nephrology Association, Society for Pediatric Research and American Pediatric Society.

Guay-Woodford graduated from the College of the Holy Cross summa cum laude and earned her M.D. degree from Harvard Medical School. She then completed pediatric training and a pediatric nephrology fellowship at Boston Children's Hospital.

Guay-Woodford is one of three recipients of the Lillian Jean Kaplan International Prize for Advancement in the Understanding of Polycystic Kidney Disease for 2009. The others are Dr. Friedhelm Hildebrandt from the University of Michigan and Dr. Corinne Antignac from Necker Hospital in Paris, France. The three will receive their award and $50,000 each at the World Congress of Nephrology May 25 in Milan, Italy.

"For the first time ever, the 2009 Lillian Jean Kaplan International Prize for Advancement in the Understanding of Polycystic Kidney Disease honors three (not two) world renowned kidney doctors - all of whom are pediatric nephrologists," said Dan Larson, PKD Foundation President and CEO. "The significance of the first testifies to Mr. Kaplan's incredible generosity, especially during a major recession, and the second - because all three passionately strive to save the most vulnerable, fragile and precious of the world's PKD patients."


Contact: Jennifer Lollar
University of Alabama at Birmingham

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