The Vanderbilt O’Brien Kidney Center (VOKC) supports two national conferences, the VUMC-UAB Retreat and the FASEB Acute Kidney Injury Bench to Bedside Conference. Both meetings provide faculty and trainees with opportunities to present and learn about recent work, state-of-the-art techniques, and networking with their peers.

VUMC - UAB Retreat

The combined Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) - University of Alabama, Birmingham (UAB) meeting started in 2009 with the idea of having members of two Nephrology Divisions whose research is supported by a P30-NIH O’Brien Kidney Center coming together and highlighting key and unique core services provided by each division.

This biennial retreat takes place in Chattanooga, Tenn., and over the years has provided an outstanding opportunity for:

  • Reviewing basic and clinical studies performed at the two institutions
  • Becoming acquainted with unique services that each institution offers
  • Providing services
  • Establishing new collaborations
  • Giving students, postdoctoral and clinical fellows, and junior investigators an opportunity to present their work in a friendly and supportive environment.

The most recent VUMC-UAB Retreat was held Sept. 16-17, 2022, at The Chattanooga Hotel.

This very successful and well-attended retreat is organized by Ambra Pozzi, MD (VUMC), in collaboration with Paul Sanders, MD (UAB). 

Contact the retreat organizers:

Ambra Pozzi, PhD

Professor of Medicine, Division of Nephrology & Hypertension
Co-director, Vanderbilt O'Brien Kidney Center


Paul Sanders, MD

Professor of Medicine, Division of Nephrology & Hypertension
University of Alabama at Birmingham


FASEB AKI Conference

Areas of bench research into the mechanisms, new therapeutics for AKI, and clinical approaches to better understand inter-individual pathobiology of human AKI, have received considerable attention in recent years. The Kidney Precision Medicine Program (KPMP), as well as the drive to better coordinate pre-clinical research with clinical disease, have raised increasing interest in promoting stronger collaborations between the clinical scientists studying human AKI, and bench researchers trying to understand the complex biology of this condition.

However, aside from the annual scientific meeting of the American Society of Nephrology (ASN), which averages 12,000 attendees, there are no established forums that promote direct exchange of ideas across the clinical, translations basic science AKI research communities in academia and industry. The concept of the FASEB AKI conferences is to host small, in person (100-120 attendees) meetings to develop and increase scientific collaborations across the bench to bedside divide. It is anticipated that this his forum will help develop a pipeline of investigators trained to think in a more translational way about the problem of AKI.

The first meeting was organized at the Asilomar Conference Center in Monterey, Calif., in 2019. The 2nd FASEB Acute Kidney Injury Conference: From Bench to Bedside was held May 14-18, 2022 at the Banff Center for the Arts and Creativity in Alberta, Canada. 

Goals for the FASEB AKI conferences include:

  • Providing an inclusive environment to foster new relationships among individuals with different perspectives on how to best prevent and treat AKI. This includes interactions with faculty involved in KPMP, staff scientists from various industries, and meeting one-on-one with patient advocates.
  • Designing a comprehensive and up-to-date program from molecular mechanisms to novel biomarkers to clinical outcomes. By encouraging speakers to present unpublished data, attendees will have an opportunity to be at the cutting edge of novel and new developments related to AKI research.
  • Providing professional and career development sessions for trainees to help develop their networking skills, overcome imposter syndrome, and understand and prevent unconscious bias to help promote lifelong engagement in AKI and related research.

Contact the conference organizers:

Ray Harris, MD

Professor of Medicine
Director, Vanderbilt O'Brien Kidney Center


Edward Siew, MD, MSCI

Associate Professor of Medicine,
Division of Nephrology and Hypertension


For more information and questions, please email Jennifer Rieke, Program Manager, or call (615) 343-5400.