Title and Department
Associate Professor of Medicine
Department of Medicine, Division of Nephrology and Hypertension
Professional bio

William H. Fissell, MD, is an Associate Professor of Medicine in the Division of Nephrology and Hypertension within the Department of Medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, and Medical Director of The Kidney Project, a multidisciplinary multicenter effort to engineer a universal door kidney to solve the scarcity problem in organ transplant.

Dr. Fissell is a member of the American Society of Nephrology (ASN) and is past president of the American Society of Artificial Internal Organs (ASAIO). He serves on the ASN's Policy and Advocacy Committee and has been a peer reviewer for the NIH and several medical journals. His clinical interests include critical care nephrology and dialysis.

Dr. Fissell graduated from MIT with degrees in Physics and Electrical Engineering. While he was an undergraduate and before medical school, he developed a love for patients while working as a 911 advanced life support paramedic in the under-resourced suburbs north of Boston. He completed an accelerated "3+3" medical school and internal medicine residency program at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, before subspecialty training in kidney disease at University of Michigan. There, he studied with H. David Humes, the pioneer of bioartificial kidney research.

Dr. Fissell's research group has focused on technology development to treat kidney failure. His team developed a completely novel biomimetic membrane for blood filtration that functions just like a kidney's filters, inside the body powered by the heart alone: no electric motors, no batteries. Along with that, his team has focused on understanding the mechanisms by with the physical microenvironment around a cell governs the activity of the cell. The two innovations together make up the Universal Donor Kidney for treatment of kidney failure.