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Beating Kidney Disease

Endowed chairs in nephrology aim to improve lives of two million Canadians affected by kidney disease

Chances are you don’t give much thought to the health of your kidneys – yet they’re essential for life. Kidneys are responsible for filtering waste from the blood and regulating the body’s fluid level. When a person’s kidneys fail, they often have to go on dialysis permanently or until they receive a kidney transplant. Medical advances over the past 25 years have allowed people with kidney disease to continue an active life, even though some require daily medication or dialysis.

At U of T, researchers are pushing the boundaries of medical investigation when it comes to the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of kidney disease. With the support of two new endowed chairs in nephrology – the Gabor Zellerman Chair in Nephrology Research and the Oreopoulos Baxter Chair in Nephrology Research – the aim is to improve the lives of the nearly two million Canadians and countless people around the world affected by kidney disease. Both chairs will be held in U of T’s Division of Nephrology at the Faculty of Medicine.

Elisabeth Hofmann donated $3 million to create an endowed chair in honour of her late husband, Gabor Zellerman, an engineer and inventor who held more than 50 patents in everything from hair colouring to medical instruments. A search is underway for a researcher to fill the chair.

In a separate donation, Baxter Corporation of Canada, a leading manufacturer of medical devices and pharmaceuticals, has created the Baxter Oreopoulos chair, named in honour of Dr. Dimitrios Oreopoulos, a professor of medicine at U of T and director of the peritoneal dialysis program at the University Health Network. Oreopoulos helped pioneer the use of peritoneal dialysis for kidney failure and is internationally recognized for his work in kidney disease. This chair will be held by the director of U of T’s nephrology division, with funds used to explore new avenues in research.

“The Zellerman and Baxter Oreopoulos chairs will strongly contribute to the body of research on kidney disease conducted at U of T,” says Dr. Edward Cole, head of the university’s nephrology division. “The Zellerman chair also provides a major benefit by allowing the nephrology division to attract a scientist of world-class calibre.”

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