Dr. Franz and team get Scientist Development Award

May 11, 2020

Image with caption: Douglas Franz, M.D.

Douglas Franz, M.D.

A proposal by Douglas Franz, M.D., and colleagues recently was selected for funding by the UNMC Department of Internal Medicine for its fifth annual Scientist Development Award.

Scientist Development Award

The Department of Internal Medicine accepted applications for its Scientist Development Award in November. The award is designed to support promising internal medicine faculty candidates making the transition from fellowship training into an initial academic appointments at UNMC. The grant provides one year of support for a mentored research project.

Dr. Franz and his colleagues aim to determine predictors of clinically significant kidney function decline among patients receiving long-term left ventricular assist device (LVAD) support. They assert that in order to reduce the high incidence of kidney dysfunction among patients on LVAD support and the major associated negative outcomes, which include higher mortality, it is imperative to identify determinants for the incidence of kidney dysfunction so providers may intervene on those determinants found to be modifiable.

For this proposal, the team will perform a non-concurrent prospective cohort study utilizing a nationwide registry of over 25,000 patients who received LVADs. They will ascertain potential determinants of incident chronic kidney disease (CKD) and CKD progression among LVAD recipients who remain on support at least three months after LVAD implant. Potential determinants of CKD and CKD progression will be identified using state of the art analytic approaches.

Ted Mikuls, M.D., professor of rheumatology and immunology and vice chair of research, will serve as Dr. Franz's primary mentor for this grant.

Under direction of Troy Plumb, M.D., chief of the UNMC Division of Nephrology, and a team of mentors including Dr. Mikuls, Roslyn Mannon, M.D., and Tara Chang, M.D., of Stanford University, Dr. Franz is building a clinical research lab in nephrology. Several projects within the division already are ongoing at the lab, and collaborations with research leaders across the department of medicine have been established.

The Scientist Development Award was established with the goal of growing the next generation of research leaders in the UNMC Department of Internal Medicine, said Debra Romberger, M.D., department chair. Dr. Franz joined the department as an assistant professor of nephrology in January 2020. He graduated from the UNMC College of Medicine in 2013 and completed his internal medicine residency at UNMC in 2016.

"We're excited to have recruited Dr. Franz back to UNMC and the department of internal medicine," Dr. Romberger said. "He is a great selection for this award, and we're confident that he will help us move closer to our goal of having a critical mass of talented young investigators to lead our growing research efforts."

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