With New Chief, Staff, UA Nephrology Division Focuses on Partnerships to Deliver Innovative, High-Quality Kidney Care

As the new UA, Banner kidney specialist leader in Tucson, Dr. Prabir Roy-Chaudhury brings his lab from the University of Cincinnati where the NIH-funded physician scientist was director of the Dialysis Vascular Access Research Group and embraces the UA’s academic, community and industry collaborative approach.

Prabir Roy-Chaudhury, MD, PhDThe arrival this summer of Prabir Roy-Chaudhury, MD, PhD, as new chief of the Division of Nephrology at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson came at an opportune time, coinciding with the announcement that the medical specialty at Banner – University Medical Center Tucson that deals with diseases of the kidney was chosen 41st best in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.

“The ranking is a tribute to the hard work, commitment and dedication of the many different people who worked together in a multidisciplinary fashion to offer the best possible kidney care for the Tucson community and region,” said Dr. Roy-Chaudhury, a professor of medicine in the UA Department of Medicine and UA BIO5 Institute investigator. He also serves as national co-chair of the Kidney Health Initiative, a public-private partnership of the American Society of Nephrology (ASN) and U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and a member of the ASN Board of Advisors.

The need is great, he says, noting that 26 million Americans suffer from kidney disease and more than 600,000 patients in the United States require some form of renal-replacement therapy to survive (more than 400,000 via hemodialysis and almost 200,000 with a kidney transplant). Arizona, in particular has one of the nation’s highest rates of kidney disease, due to the high prevalence of diabetes and large Hispanic and American Indian populations, which are more prone to kidney disease.

“As the only academic nephrology program in the state of Arizona, our charge is not only to deliver high-quality kidney care to the community along the entire continuum of kidney disease (from acute kidney injury to chronic kidney disease to dialysis and transplant); but also to be at the forefront of innovation in this field,” Dr. Roy-Chaudhury said. “For example, we plan to explore reasons for the high incidence of cardiovascular disease in kidney patients (especially Hispanics and American Indians), bring cutting-edge clinical trials to Arizona, and contribute to the development of new therapies and implementation of new process of care pathways for treating patients with kidney disease.”

He plans to do this by making the Division of Nephrology at the University of Arizona a hub for multidisciplinary and transformative partnerships with patients and patient organizations, community nephrologists, other UA medical and surgical specialties, UA scientists and engineers, and industry partners. Dr. Roy-Chaudhury said, “Kidney disease is a multidisciplinary problem and the only way we can do better by our kidney patients is to have a multidisciplinary approach inclusive of all stakeholders, including our patients.”

He added, “I am particularly excited about the potential to be able to leverage the unique and diverse research strengths within the College of Medicine and the BIO5 Institute to change the way we take care of patients with kidney disease.” In addition, the recent partnership of Banner Health and the University of Arizona is a great opportunity to apply advances in medicine and technology to the process of care within Banner hospitals and clinics, and improve the overall quality of health-care delivery in the community, he said.

Dr. Roy-Chaudhury, a professor of medicine in the UA Department of Medicine, earned his medical degree from the Armed Forces Medical College in Pune, India, and did his internal medicine and nephrology training at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, and Beth Israel Hospital, an affiliate of Harvard Medical School, in Boston. He comes to the UA from the University of Cincinnati where, in addition to being an active transplant nephrologist, he built a unique multi-disciplinary bench-to-bedside program for new therapeutic interventions in dialysis vascular access. An important aspect of his research, currently funded through National Institutes of Health and Veterans Administration grants, relates to development of novel devices for dialysis vascular access. He has ongoing related collaborations with a number of industry partners, including Symic Biomedical which recently received a $1.5 million NIH grant to further develop a therapeutic agent to reduce arteriovenous fistula failures in end-stage renal disease patients undergoing hemodialysis. 

Dr. Roy-Chaudhury also is actively involved in public policy aspects of kidney disease through memberships on multiple national boards and committees that share a core focus on passage of drugs, devices and biologics into the renal care space to improve patient quality of life. He has published more than 150 papers in scientific journals and is an invited speaker worldwide on nephrology and kidney health issues.

He joins other recent additions to the UA nephrology team, including:

Lavanya Kodali, MDLavanya Kodali, MD, a transplant nephrologist who came to Tucson in January from the University of Missouri – Columbia, where she was also an assistant professor of medicine in nephrology. She earned her medical degree from Osmania Medical College in Hyderabad, India; completed a residency in internal medicine at Creighton University Medical Center in Omaha, Neb.; and did fellowships in nephrology at the University of Florida – Jacksonville and transplant nephrology at Methodist University Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., an affiliate of the University of Tennessee. She was also a visiting fellow in nephrology at Jacksonville’s Mayo Clinic.

Asjad Sardar, MDAsjad Sardar, MD, a transplant nephrologist and UA assistant professor of medicine, who arrived in July from the University of Wisconsin – Madison, where he finished a fellowship in transplant nephrology. With a medical degree from the University of Punjab in Lahore, Pakistan, he did his residency at New York’s St. Barnabas Hospital. He also worked as a hospitalist in Indiana and internist in Yuma, Ariz., before completing a general nephrology fellowship at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston.

Sireesha Koppula, MDSireesha Koppula, MD, a nephrologist and UA assistant professor of medicine, returned to the UA Department of Medicine last fall from Tucson’s Renal Care Associates. She was an assistant professor of clinical medicine in the Department of Internal Medicine from 2007-2010. Her medical degree comes from Rangaraya Medical College in Kakinada, India. She also holds a master’s degree in public health from Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, Ky. She completed an internship in internal medicine at Creighton University Medical Center and a residency at the University of Rosalind Franklin in Chicago, both in internal medicine, before completing a nephrology fellowship at the UA College of Medicine – Tucson.