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May 14, 2021

Recipients of the 2020 & 2021 Medal for Research Excellence Announced

The Kidney Foundation of Canada is pleased to announce the recipients of the Medal for Research Excellence for 2020 and 2021. 

Exceptionally this year, two recipients of the Medal for Research Excellence were announced at the recent Canadian Society of Nephrology virtual Annual General Meeting. Many research activities were affected last year due to COVID-19, including the recognition of this prestigious award. “Despite the turmoil of 2020, The Kidney Foundation is unwavering in its commitment to acknowledge the preeminent figures who have distinguished themselves in the field of kidney research in Canada,” states Elizabeth Myles, National Executive Director of The Kidney Foundation of Canada. “Therefore, it gives me great pleasure that we are awarding the medal for both 2020 and 2021.”

2020 Medal for Research Excellence

Dr York PeiThe recipient of the 2020 Medal for Research Excellence is Dr. York Pei, MD, FRCP(C), FACP, FASN. Dr. Pei is Professor, Department of Medicine, Division of Nephrology at the University of Toronto; Director, Centre for Innovative Management of Polycystic Kidney Disease, University Health Network; and Senior Scientist, Toronto General Research Institute, University Health Network.

Dr. Pei’s research career has mainly centred on identifying the genetic factors involved in the initiation or progression of genetic kidney diseases as a target for developing novel diagnostic tests and therapies. His research program focuses on genetic, genomic, and translational research of hereditary kidney diseases with a major focus on autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD).

“York’s contributions to the field of PKD (polycystic kidney disease) are far-reaching and significant,” remarks Kidney Foundation Research Council Co-Chair Dr. Peter Nickerson. “For example, the criteria used throughout the world to confirm or exclude the diagnosis of autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease is largely the result of his work.”

Dr. Pei was the co-recipient of the Lillian Jean Kaplan International Prize for polycystic kidney disease in 2019. He also made important contributions to genetic research of other hereditary kidney diseases, including familial IgA nephropathy, familial nephrotic syndrome, and Alport syndrome. He has published over 150 peer-reviewed articles, has collaborated widely with researchers nationally and internationally and has trained numerous clinical and research fellows in hereditary kidney disease.

Dr. Pei founded the Centre for Innovative Management for Polycystic Kidney Disease in 2015 with the goal of developing a world-class PKD translational research program in Canada. The centre provides advanced diagnostic and novel therapeutics to patients with ADPKD. They also have access to the latest research studies in prognostic biomarkers and therapeutic interventions. More than 500 patients are followed or co-managed at the centre with roughly 95% of them involved in at least one research project.

2021 Medal for Research Excellence

Dr Amit GargDr. Amit Garg, MD, MEd, FRCPC, PhD, is the recipient of the 2021 Medal for Research Excellence. Dr. Garg is Professor of Medicine - Division of Nephrology and of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Western University in London, Ontario. He is medical director of the living kidney donor program at the London Health Sciences Centre and is a past president of the Canadian Society of Nephrology. He serves as the ICES Provincial Kidney, Dialysis and Transplantation Program Lead and the Provincial Medical Lead, Access to Kidney Transplantation for the Ontario Renal Network. He is a Scientist at the Lawson Health Research Institute and at ICES, and an Associate Scientist at the Population Health Research Institute.

Characterized by his peers as a world-class clinical and health services investigator in kidney, dialysis and transplantation medicine, Dr. Garg feels most fortunate to be able to contribute in this way and is grateful to be supported and surrounded by so many brilliant people, both in the workplace and at home. This includes two decades of support from The Kidney Foundation of Canada which started with a post-graduate fellowship in 2001. Working in teams, he has 600 published articles with more than 1,000 different authors from over 50 international centres.

“Dr. Garg is an outstanding example of research leadership in Canada,” notes Dr. Nicolas Fernandez, patient lead and co-chair of The Kidney Foundation’s Research Council. “His work with KDIGO (Kidney Disease Improving Global Outcomes) helped establish the definitive international clinical practice guidelines in living kidney donation and stands as just one of his many notable achievements.”

The research has appeared in top medical journals and in the lay press including CTV, Global News and the New York Times. It has been widely acknowledged for helping understand how different treatments alter the risk of acute kidney injury from elective surgery, improving the practice and safety of living kidney donation, and reducing adverse events from prescription medications. Additionally, the research has made it easier for fellow researchers and clinicians to systematically search for relevant kidney-related content in large bibliographic databases thanks to the development of specialized filters.

Dr. Garg has mentored and trained future kidney researchers. He has been the primary research supervisor to over 70 trainees at Western University from who he has learned a great deal. He is also grateful to work with a team of highly qualified research administrators, coordinators, data managers, epidemiologists and statisticians in London, Ontario.

The Kidney Foundation congratulates the recipients of the Medal for Research Excellence who both exemplify research excellence and place Canada on the world stage in kidney research. Their work has contributed to a quantifiable change for people living with kidney disease.

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