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Nephrology Fellowship

The Nephrology Fellowship Program at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine's Department of Medicine emphasizes clinical training in the diagnosis and treatment of renal diseases and hypertension and a basic understanding of renal physiology and pathophysiology.

Fellows gain exposure to a wide variety of renal diseases during fellowship. In the first year of subspecialty training, fellows spend nine months on the inpatient Nephrology Consultation Service at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. Fellows manage patients throughout the hospital with acute kidney injury and chronic kidney disease, including a significant number of critically ill patients in the medical, surgical, cardiac and neurological ICUs. Fellows learn to prescribe and modify renal replacement therapies including acute hemodialysis, peritoneal dialysis and continuous replacement therapies and diagnose and treat its complications.

We offer robust clinical experiences and opportunities to engage in world-class innovation all while learning from a diverse group of dedicated and accessible faculty. We aim to create a supportive and nurturing learning environment in which we train compassionate, competent and socially-conscious nephrologists who will be leaders in the fight against kidney disease.“

–Yusra Cheema, MD


Because we are passionately committed to the training of physicians who come to our program, we have a rich variety of didactic and practical courses to help fellows master core nephrology knowledge and skills:
  • “Boot camp”: Daily lectures during the first 5 weeks of fellowship prepare new fellows for clinical service and overnight on-call coverage
    Topics include the basics of dialysis, transplantation, electrolyte emergencies, and acute kidney injury 
    Find a list of topics here.
  • Core lecture series: 2-year, once-weekly didactic lectures on various topics in clinical nephrology
    Core lecture series list.
  • Renal pathology: Monthly conference with renal pathologists focused on gaining competency in reading renal biopsies
  • Boards review: Monthly sessions with nephrology faculty reviewing knowledge and practicing boards-style questions to prepare fellows for taking the nephrology specialty board examination
  • Home therapies conference: Monthly series on topics in home dialysis (peritoneal dialysis and home hemodialysis)
  • Quality improvement: Quarterly meetings to discuss cases of “near miss” or suboptimal outcomes and learn how and where changes in individual decisions or systems can be made to improve patient care
  • Renal Grand Rounds: Weekly conference with cutting-edge research presented by leading researchers and clinicians within nephrology from around the world
    Explore Upcoming Grand Rounds Here. 

Additionally, fellow learn by preparing presentations for: 

  • Journal Club: Fellows learn to critically read the current nephrology literature by presenting a recently published article, in conjunction with faculty guidance/input. 
  • Clinical case conference: Fellows present clinically relevant patient cases to the division, with attention to review of the literature, differential diagnosis, diagnostic tests, and therapy 

 Clinical Experience


Inpatient rotations are divided into 4 services:

  • ICU (MICU, SICU, CCU, and neurosurgical ICUs): fellows gain specific expertise in continuous renal replacement therapy (CRRT) as they participate in the care of very complex patients including those on extra-corporeal membrane oxygenation and those with mechanical support devices such as ventricular assist devices and intra-aortic balloon pumps. 
  • Acute: fellows see a diverse array of pathology across our main hospital (Northwestern Memorial Hospital) and our women’s and oncology hospital (Prentice Women’s Hospital), including acute kidney injury (AKI), glomerular diseases/vasculitides, and electrolyte disorders
  • ESRD: fellows manage dialysis and dialysis-related complications for patients admitted to NMH
  • Transplantation: fellows co-manage kidney, kidney-liver and kidney-pancreas transplant patients with the transplant nephrologists and surgeons, from the pre-operative stage until discharge, as well as those requiring re-hospitalization
Outpatient continuity clinic
  • Fellows follow their own patients in their weekly general nephrology clinic at Northwestern. Cases are discussed with a faculty preceptor who is assigned to them for the 2 years of their fellowship.
Elective weeks
  • Fellows spend 6-8 weeks throughout the first year exploring a variety of outpatient settings including a glomerulonephritis clinic, transplant clinic, and home dialysis clinic.
  • An additional 4-6 weeks are allocated for research, scholarly activity, and exploration of areas including pathology and pediatric nephrology.

Second year

Inpatient rotations

  • 6 weeks on the inpatient consultation service at the Jesse Brown Veterans Administration Hospital where they will manage patients with the entire spectrum of renal problems, including ICU patients needing CRRT, dialysis for both ESKD patients and those needing new initiation on hemodialysis, as well as consults from the general medicine, surgical or rehabilitation units covering AKI, glomerular, electrolyte or hypertensive disorders
  • 6 weeks at NMH divided among four services described above
Outpatient clinics
  • Fellows will continue to follow their patients in the Northwestern general nephrology clinic
  • Fellows will rotate through the weekly VA nephrology clinic (two 2nd year fellows each week)
Outpatient dialysis
  • Each fellow will follow a cohort of in-center hemodialysis patients
  • Fellows will rotate through our Home Dialysis clinic and manage a cohort of peritoneal and home hemodialysis patients monthly
Elective rotations
  • Fellows will spend 1-2 weeks in each of the following ambulatory experiences: glomerulonephritis clinic, transplant clinic, apheresis, interventional nephrology/vascular access clinic, and renal pathology. Opportunities for individualized elective rotations in palliative care medicine, critical care medicine, interventional radiology, and pediatric nephrology are available.
Scholarly activity. Expectations of second-year fellows include:
  • scholarly concentration through one of three options:
    • Conducting clinical research projects in their area of interest, mentored by a divisional faculty member
    • Participate in a basic science research project under the mentorship of a divisional faculty member, OR
    • Identify a clinical area of focus (ie home dialysis, transplantation, glomerular diseases, etc) with enhanced clinical experiences and curricula via a faculty mentor resulting in a scholarly project
  • poster presentation of their research work at the annual National Kidney Foundation, American Society of Nephrology, or other national meeting
  • group quality-improvement project initiated and conducted by second-year fellows with a presentation of their project to the division at the end of their 2nd year
  • Publications of a paper in a peer-reviewed journal are heavily encouraged

 Overview of Faculty Expertise


Our faculty have served as

  • president of the American Society of Nephrology (ASN)
  • council member of the Association of American Physicians
  • chair of the World Congress of Nephrology program committee
  • chair of the Professional Advisory Board, National Kidney Foundation of Illinois (NKF-I)
  • Executive Committee, Board of Directors NKF-I

Additionally, numerous faculty serve on committees of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), ASN, NKF, the American Heart Association, the American Society of Transplantation, American Transplant Congress and the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS).



Our faculty has been recognized with the ASN Distinguished Mentor Award, Mentor of the Year at the Feinberg School of Medicine (FSM), and Mentor of the Year in the Department of Medicine (DOM).



We are known throughout FSM for our outstanding teaching, with many faculty being recognized by FSM and DOM teaching awards.


Editorial Boards

Faculty serve as associate/section editors and on the editorial boards of major nephrology journals including the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (CJASN), American Journal of Kidney Diseases (AJKD), Current Opinion in Nephrology and Hypertension, Clinical Transplantation, Nephron, Transplantation and the Journal of International Urology and Nephrology.


Awards and Honors 

Our faculty have been recipients of numerous prestigious awards including being elected to the National Academy of Medicine, the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, and the American Society for Clinical Investigation, as well as many others.


Extraordinary Humanitarianism

We are immensely proud to have Dr. Aleksandra Gmurczyk, MD as one of our faculty.  In February 2023, she altruistically donated one of her kidneys to a hard-to-match stranger in Virginia, through paired donation that also allowed a Chicago patient to receive a kidney allograft.  Her story was carried on CNN, other news outlets and locally on NBC, CBS and Fox 32.  View her story here and watch the post-transplant meeting of Dr. Gmurcyzk and both kidney recipients in this powerful video


While all clinical faculty are general nephrologists, a number have specialized areas of clinical expertise and focus:

 Research Opportunities

Nephrology fellows have many opportunities to get involved in research and lead scholarly projects. Examples include:

Fellows interested in protected time for additional mentored research training can apply for a position on the Chicago KUH FORWARD TL1 training grant.

Our nephrology fellowship graduate, Rupal C Mehta, MD, has gone on to receive career development awards to advance her research. 

Leading the way in the discovery of kidney diseases, their pathogenetic mechanisms, and in the relentless pursuit of therapies to better the lives of the millions of worldwide CKD patients, many of our faculty are engaged in cutting-edge research, funded by the NIH and other sources.  

Clinical research

  • Abby Agrawal
    • ApoL1 genetic testing in potential living kidney donors
  • Amishi Desai
    • Health equity in transplantation and implementation science
  • John Friedewald
    • Transplant genomics and biomarker development
  • Bing Ho
    • Quality and process improvement
  • Tamara Isakova
    • CKD and disordered mineral metabolism 
  • Rupal Mehta
    • Improvement in diagnostics and therapeutics for CKD patients with cardiovascular disease
  • Sook Hyeon Park
    • Improving outcomes of and access to kidney transplants

Basic science research

  • Javeed Ansari 
    • Mechanisms of allograft rejection and tolerance
    • Development of assays for immune monitoring of transplant recipients
  • Dan Batlle
    • Biology of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system, particularly the role ACE2 plays in the degradation of angiotensin 2
    • Potential therapeutic use of novel soluble ACE2 proteins bioengineered to treat kidney diseases and to neutralize SARS-CoV2
  • Nicolae Vantin David
    • Molecular mechanisms of metabolic bone diseases, with particular emphasis on the regulation and function of FGF23 in situations of normal and abnormal mineral metabolism.
  • Jing Jin
    • The molecular mechanisms of kidney and vasculature diseases.
  • Pinelopi Kapitsinou
    • molecular mechanisms by which the hypoxic signaling (PHD/HIF axis) modulates responses to kidney injury
    • translation of these findings to novel diagnostic and therapeutic approaches
  • Jennie Lin
    • Investigation of genotype-phenotype relationships in cardiometabolic phenotypes and kidney fibrosis
    • Role of inflammation in the development and progression of CKD
  • Aline Martin
    • The role of the skeleton in the endocrine regulation of mineral metabolism and the cardiovascular complications of mineral and bone diseases.
  • Guillermo Oliver
    • Exploring how each specific cell type and organ acquires all its specific and unique morphological and functional characteristics during embryogenesis
  • Joo-Seop Park
    • Kidney development and disease: How cell identities are determined by signaling pathways and transcription factors
  • Susan Quaggin
    • Establishment and maintenance of specialized vascular beds of the kidney and eye
    • Pathogenic mechanisms and development of new therapeutic targets for diabetic kidney and eye disease, nephrotic syndrome, and glaucoma

 Nephrology-Critical Care Track

In recognizing the interconnectedness and overlapping nature of nephrology and critical care medicine, we have collaborated with the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine to create a combined training track in Nephrology-Critical Care. Our innovative training program is one of only a few across the country. In this integrated three-year track, fellows will complete two years of clinical nephrology training followed by one year of critical care training. Upon completion of the three-year program, fellows will be eligible for both nephrology and critical care medicine board certification.

Applicants interested in this training pathway should apply through the Nephrology program on ERAS and indicate interest in the Nephrology-Critical Care track. During interviews, invited applicants will meet with both nephrology and critical care medicine faculty. Applicants should preferentially rank the Nephrology-Critical Care track in their National Residency Matching Program (NRMP) Rank List, while also ranking the Clinical Fellowship track separately if they remain interested in the two-year general nephrology program.

 Diversity and Inclusion

The Department of Medicine at Northwestern University seeks to attract inquisitive, motivated residents and fellows and is committed to providing them with every opportunity for success. The greatest challenges facing the medical field are complex, and addressing them will require a diverse body of physicians and researchers who can work collaboratively. Northwestern offers unparalleled training and research opportunities and encourages fellowship applications from those who seek to become future leaders in the subspecialties of medicine.  We are committed to and inspired by a diverse and inclusive work environment that allows each trainee to achieve their personal goals.

For more information on Northwestern’s commitment to diversity please see the following resources:

 Requirements & Eligibility

Applicant qualifications include successful completion of an ACGME accredited residency and eligibility for the American Board of Internal Medicine's certification exam prior to the start of fellowship training. All applicants must be eligible for an unrestricted medical license prior to beginning training. If applicable, applicants must have valid ECFMG certification and a valid visa.

 Application Process

For the academic fellowship year, applications for Nephrology/Hypertension fellowship training at Northwestern are accepted exclusively through the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS).  To apply, please go to the ERAS website and follow the directions for Fellowship applicants. Applications and related documents submitted without the use of ERAS for this year will not be considered.

For additional application instructions for the Nephrology-Critical Care Track, please refer to the tab above.

Interviews will begin at the end of August and extend through the 1st week of November. 

To complete your application, the following documents are required:

  1. A letter of recommendation from your Internal Medicine Residency Program Director or Department Chairperson.
  2. At least 2 (but not more than 4) additional letters of recommendation.  These should be from clinical faculty and/or research mentors who know you and your work well.  Ideally, at least one letter should be from a senior member of the faculty at your institution.
  3. A personal statement describing who you are, why you have chosen to pursue training in nephrology, and your current thoughts about your future path.
  4. Your curriculum vitae.
  5. Original reports of your USMLE scores.
  6. Medical School dean's letters and transcripts are not required.

Since we participate in the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) Medical Specialties Matching Program, fellowship applicants must also register with NRMP ( and plan to participate in the NRMP match.

 Get to Know us Better Here at Northwestern

 Why Northwestern?

Housestaff training through McGaw Medical Center of Northwestern University provides diverse and challenging clinical experiences and world-class education located in the heart of the beautiful city of Chicago. Learn more via the links to the McGaw website below.

Watch Our Videos

McGaw Experience Discover Feinberg Northwestern Medicine Community Partnership Program Learn More About Chicago Get to Know Streeterville

More Information

Learn more about the benefits of training at a world-class academic medical center in a diverse and vibrant city of Chicago. Further program details, including the Department of Medicine housestaff manual and a sample training contract, are available on our McGaw Medical Center Graduate Education site. 

Renal Transplant Nephrology Fellowship (Advanced Fellowship Information)

Learn more on the McGaw Site

Likewise, we recommend reading through our FREIDA listing (program number 148-16-21-058).

Contact Us

Yusra R Cheema, MD

Yusra R Cheema, MD

Program Director

Nephrology and Hypertension

View Faculty Profile

Tillie Moy

Fellowship Coordinator

Endocrinology, Nephrology and Hypertension

tmoy( at )

Physician-Scientist Training & Resources

We offer a wide range of resources, mentorship opportunities and formal training programs to help our residents and fellows excel as physician-scientists. Explore all of the resources and hear from housestaff who are making research a major part of their career development plans.

Visit the Starzl Academy Site