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NUKIDs: Scientist Training Program in Kidney Disease

The Northwestern University Scientist Training Program in Kidney Disease (NUKIDs) is a mentored training program sponsored by a National Research Service Award (NRSA) from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (grant #T32 DK108738). The purpose of this program is to nurture bright, enthusiastic, well-trained, academically-oriented MDs, MD/PhDs, and PhDs in pursuit of a career in Kidney Research, developing the next generation of academic leaders.

Our Mission

Our mission is to address the urgent need for Nephrology research training by providing rigorous mentored and inspired research experiences in both clinical and basic disciplines. The program builds on the strengths of current training opportunities in basic, clinical, translational, public health and health services research and engages a pool of talented investigators within the adult and pediatric divisions of Nephrology at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and Children's Lurie Hospital, the division of transplant medicine and numerous other Departments across the Northwestern campus. This first time proposal request comes at a time of substantial and sustained growth in the Divisions of Nephrology and the research enterprise of the Feinberg School of Medicine. 

Our program will provide a `team approach' to mentorship, which will be provided by both clinical and basic investigators who have expertise across multiple disciplines. This approach will provide trainees with essential skills needed to develop the most innovative, successful and significant kidney research programs in the ever- evolving scientific environment, which depends heavily on ability of investigators to develop multi-disciplinary collaborations. The specific objectives of the training grant are:

  • to develop clinical and basic research scientists, who will ultimately be capable of independently performing hypothesis-driven research that addresses the needs of our target patient population
  • to provide stipend support and protected time for research trainees
  • to provide both basic and clinical science trainees a rigorous base of classroom and interactive study in the disciplines necessary for successfully conducting research relevant to disease etiology, pathogenesis and outcomes and for the development of innovative care to patients with all forms of kidney disease and/or replacement therapy
  • to establish an ongoing evaluation process
  • to provide exposure to both basic and clinical research through a co-mentorship process
  • to train pediatric and adult nephrologists side-by-side to improve understanding of kidney disease initiation, progression and transition.

Tamara Isakova, MD, MMSc

Program Director
Director, Institute for Public Health and Medicine (IPHAM) - Center for Translational Metabolism and Health
Associate Professor of Medicine (Nephrology and Hypertension)

Craig Brodie
Administrator, Division of Nephrology & FCVRI

John Greenwood
Research Administrator, Division of Nephrology & FCVRI

 Program Eligibility and Application Process

The NUKIDs: Scientist Training Program in Kidney Disease, housed within the Division of Nephrology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine is currently accepting applications for postdoctoral trainees.

Program Eligibility

Candidates must meet NRSA citizenship and support requirements:

  • Citizenship: Any individual to be trained must be a citizen or non-citizen national of the United States or have been lawfully admitted for permanent residence at the time of appointment. 
  • NRSA Support: No individual trainee may receive more than 5 years of aggregate Kirschstein-NRSA support at the predoctoral level and 3 years of aggregate Kirschstein-NRSA support at the postdoctoral level, including any combination of support from Kirschstein-NRSA institutional research training grants and individual fellowships.

For more information on NRSA eligibility requirements, see the NIH Grants Policy Statement on Kirschstein NRSAs.

Application Materials

Interested candidates should submit the following application materials:

  1. NUKIDs Applicant Data Form
  2. NIH NRSA Fellowship style Biosketch
  3. Letter of support from NUKIDs mentor (Candidates should contact a NUKIDs mentor to discuss their projects before applying)
  4. Non-U.S. citizens must submit a copy of currently valid Permanent Resident Card (USCIS Form I-551) or other legal verification of such status with their application.
  5. OPTIONAL: Additional relevant documents applicant would like to include (e.g. publications, additional letters of recommendation, etc.)


 T32 Executive Committee

 FAQ & Program Expectations

What is a Payback Obligation and how do I know if I incur one?

Any NRSA postdoctoral trainee or fellow incurs a payback obligation during their first year of support.  Pre-doctoral NRSA trainees do not incur a payback obligation.  Payback means that you will perform qualified research or teaching activities for a length of time equal to the period of NRSA support you received.  Receiving 12 months of postdoctoral training support obligates you to perform 12 months of qualified research or teaching activities as payback.  Only the first year of training incurs a payback obligation; the second year of training pays back the first year, with each month of qualifying payback activity paying back one month of NRSA support.  If you receive two full years of NRSA training, you will have completed your payback obligation.  In general, payback activity must involve at least 20 hours per week and be conducted over 12 consecutive months. Special exceptions to these requirements may be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Additional resources on Payback Obligations can be found on the NIH website:

 Trainee Resources

See a list of resources dedicated to T32 trainees.  All trainees are encouraged to join the Department of Medicine New Investigator Career Enhancement (NICE) group and visit the NIK T32 Kiosk.

The following resources are made available to trainees:

Contact Jennifer Felten with any questions you may have.

 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: