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​Faculty - General Nephrology


Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) Clinic

Anschutz Outpatient Pavilion
1635 Aurora Court, 7th Floor
Aurora, CO  80045
Phone 303.724.7797
Fax 303.724.7799
Anip-Bansal-for-web.jpgAnip Bansal, MD
Assistant Professor

Dr. Bansal joined our faculty as a clinician educator in 2017, he was previously at the Mount Sinai St Luke's and Mount Sinai West Hospitals in New York. He is board certified in internal medicine and nephrology. He is also a certified specialist in clinical hypertension (American Society of Hypertension). He manages ambulatory and hospitalized patients with acute kidney injury, chronic kidney disease, End-stage renal disease, electrolyte disorders and acid-base disorders, and glomerular diseases. He is interested in critical care nephrology and is the medical director of the inpatient acute dialysis unit and the continuous renal replacement therapies program at the University of Colorado Hospital.

Tomas Berl, MD
Distinguished Professor

Dr. Berl served as head of the Division of Renal Diseases and Hypertension for 16 years. Board-certified in internal medicine and nephrology, his laboratory received continuous NIH funding for almost 40 years. He served as a member of the American Society of Nephrology, International Society of Nephrology, American Society of Clinical Investigation, American Association of Physicians, and American Clinical and Climatological Association, and is the recipient of several awards, including the National Kidney Foundation’s David Hume Award. Dr. Berl has also served on numerous committees, advisory boards, and editorial boards, and is the author of more than 110 articles in peer-reviewed journals, 85 book chapters, and 50 reviews and editorials. Notably, Dr. Berl was the president of the American Society of Nephrology in 2005.
Birgit Bispham, RN
Instructor
Hemodialysis Access Manager, Renal Clinical Liaison

Ms. Bispham has 30 years of experience working with dialysis patients. Her responsibilities in the Renal Division include, but are not limited to, new dialysis access planning for all end-stage renal disease and chronic kidney disease patients, assessment of access complications, and evaluation for the purpose of determining appropriate intervention. Ms. Bispham is a strong liaison between surgical and interventional radiology associates, multiple outside dialysis providers, our acute dialysis service and our affiliated hospitals (VMAC, Denver Health, and Rose Medical Center). She educates both staff and faculty on vascular access for dialysis patients and participated in a variety of quality improvement efforts.
Research Profile

Judith Blaine, MD, PhD
Associate Professor
Clinical Director for Renal at UCH and Associate Division Head for Clinical Affairs
Medical Director, Fresenius South Denver Dialysis Unit

Dr. Blaine focuses her research on podocytes, which are key components of the kidney filtration barrier. Her lab studies how podocytes handle serum proteins such as albumin and IgG and how these processes are disrupted in proteinuric kidney disease. Her research also investigates how podocytes handle immune complexes and the interactions between podocytes and immune mediators in glomerulonephritis. In understanding these processes, Dr. Blaine hopes to develop targeted therapies to treat proteinuria and immune-mediated kidney diseases.
Clinical Profile
Research Profile

Kathleen Brady, MS, ANP-BC
Assistant Professor

Brady has specialized in chronic kidney disease and end-stage renal disease since 1994. She believes that every individual needs to be an active participant in his or her own kidney care and works to make this possible through education.
Clinical Profile
Research Profile

Brosnahan-for-web.jpgGodela M. Brosnahan, MD
Associate Professor

Dr. Brosnahan has worked in clinical nephrology for over 30 years. She was fascinated by the complicated topics of nephrology during her residency and fellowship training in Germany, where she holds an unlimited board certification in internal medicine and nephrology.  She came to the United States in 1992 for a research fellowship in Autosomal Dominant Polycystic Kidney Disease and published several original papers. After getting married she repeated her training in the US in order to continue with her professional career. After a few years in private nephrology practice, Dr. Brosnahan’s interest in teaching took her to the University of Arkansas, where she served as Nephrology Fellowship Program Director. While in this position, she worked to expand and improve the program and, in 2009, received the Nephrology Fellows Teaching Award. In July 2010, Dr. Brosnahan came back to the University of Colorado to help manage a large clinical trial in autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease, known as the HALT PKD Trial, at the Colorado site. She continues to work in clinical research and appreciates her diverse clinical, teaching and research activities.
Clinical Profile

Chen-for-web.jpgAnnie Chen, MD
Assistant Professor
Dr. Chen completed her internal medicine residency and nephrology fellowship at the University of Washington in Seattle. She joined our faculty in 2017. As a clinician educator, Dr. Chen focuses her attention on patient care and mentoring medical students, residents, and fellows. She takes care of patients both in the hospital and in the clinic. Her clinical interests include improving all aspects of care related to chronic kidney disease and preventing kidney stones. She also cares for patients with end-stage renal disease who are on chronic hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis.
Clinical Profile
Michel Chonchol, MD
Professor of Medicine
Mats Wahlstrom Endowed Chair in Nephrology
Director, Clinical Research
Director, Polycystic Kidney Disease Research Program
Medical Director, End Stage Kidney Disease Program

The ove
rall goal of my research group is to explore traditional and non-traditional risk factors in patients with chronic kidney disease and autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease that could explain the high rate of death and cardiovascular events, as well as kidney disease progression observed in this patient population. The risk factors that we have focused on include: abnormalities of mineral metabolism, hypertension, and vascular disease.
Clinical Profile
Research Profile

Combs-for-web.jpgSara Combs, MD, MS
Assistant Professor
 
Dr. Combs joined the Division in 2015 as a faculty member after completing Internal Medicine fellowships in Palliative Medicine and Nephrology. She is now based at the Denver VA, where she is the director of the Outpatient Nephrology and Palliative Medicine Clinics, as well as the Outpatient Hemodialysis Unit.  Dr. Combs is active in trainee curriculum development and educational activities for nephrologists, generalists, and palliative care providers. Her scholarly interests focus in the field of palliative nephrology and the non-dialytic management of end-stage renal disease.
Charles Edelstein, MD, PhD
Professor

Through his Department of Veterans Affairs Merit Award, Dr. Edelstein investigated the pathophysiology of cisplatin-induced acute kidney injury (AKI) in a clinically relevant model of mice with cancer.  In his renewed VA Merit award, he will study the role of autophagy in polycystic kidney disease. Through his industry and Department of Defense-funded grants, Dr. Edelstein investigates the mammalian target of rapamycin signaling and autophagy in rodent models of polycystic kidney disease (PKD). He is the principal investigator on numerous clinical studies in patients with PKD and is interested in biomarkers of AKI, having edited a book on biomarkers in kidney diseases. Dr. Edelstein does inpatient attending at both the VA and University Hospitals and has a weekly clinic at the University Hospital that specializes in PKD.
Clinical Profile
Research Profile

Sarah Faubel, MD
Professor
Associate Division Head

Dr. Faubel is a physician-scientist with over 15 years of bench and translational research experience focused on the systemic complications of acute kidney injury (AKI); she has been continuously funded her entire research career. She was chair of the American Society of Nephrology AKI Advisory Group. Dr. Faubel’s research interests at the bench include systemic inflammation, lung injury, hepatic injury, cardiac injury, and immune dysfunction after AKI in murine models. Translational research interests include the same distant effects, as well as topics related to acute care nephrology including the effects of CRRT on complications in AKI. She recently founded and directs the Multidisciplinary-Translational Research in AKI Collaborative (M-TRAC) which consists a group of investigators interested in the systemic complications of AKI in patients that currently has over 25 members from multiple institutions and subspecialties (e.g., anesthesiology, cardiology, cardiac surgery, infectious disease, pulmonary critical care, nephrology, UH, VA, Children’s Hospital, NJH) and over 20 ongoing projects ongoing to study complications in of AKI in patients. The Faubel lab and M-TRAC consist of members that are highly collaborative; collaborators and trainees at any level are welcome to participate (contact Dr. Faubel at sarah.faubel@ucdenver.edu).
Clinical Profile
Research Profile

Elizabeth Flanigan, NP
Instructor

Ms. Flanigan’s nursing career spans more than twenty years, and she is highly experienced at working in both inpatient and outpatient clinics, as well as outpatient dialysis areas.  Her background consists of critical care and nephrology, and Ms. Flanigan enjoys teaching nurse practitioner and physician assistant students in the clinical setting.

Seth Furgeson, MD
Assistant Professor

Dr. Furgeson studies signaling pathways that regulate renal fibrosis and chronic kidney disease. Clinically, Dr. Furgeson cares for chronic hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis patients at Denver Health Medical Center (Denver Health). He is also an inpatient attending on the Nephrology Consult Services at Denver Health.
Alkesh Jani, MD
Professor
VA Renal Section Chief

Dr. Jani attends at both the University of Colorado and VA Hospitals and is funded by the VA to study the prevention of ischemic delayed graft function in a mouse kidney transplant model.  Dr. Jani is interested in understanding, through research, the ways in which hibernating mammals are protected from prolonged cold ischemia/warm reperfusion.
Research Profile
Richard Johnson, MD
Tomas Berl Professor of Medicine

Dr. Johnson is active in both basic and clinical research as well as education.  Dr. Johnson’s research has focused on a wide range of topics, including mechanisms involved in kidney injury from diabetes and chronic kidney disease, the role of heat stress and climate change in the pathogenesis of Mesoamerican Nephropathy, and the role of uric acid in acute and chronic kidney disease. He also has a longstanding interest in the pathogenesis of metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and hypertension, and his work has focused on the role of sugar (fructose) and uric acid, which is a metabolite of fructose. He also has studied 
the pathogenesis of nephrotic syndrome, especially minimal change disease, and the role of autoimmunity in kidney disease and primary hypertension.  He is an avid writer (>500 publications), founding editor of the textbook Comprehensive Clinical Nephrology, and also has several books that he has authored for the general public (most notably, the Fat Switch, Mercola.com, 2012). Finally, Dr. Johnson also has an active clinical practice and enjoys patient care.
Clinical Profile
Research Profile

Anna Jovanovich, MD
Assistant Professor

Dr. Jovanovich is a physician-scientist in the field of chronic kidney disease. She is interested in phosphorus metabolism, including fibroblast growth factor 23 (FGF23), and vascular function. The main goal of her research is to identify mechanisms and treatments for cardiovascular disease in chronic kidney disease. Dr. Jovanovich receives funding from the VA and the Colorado Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute. She is also a principal investigator on a multi-site trial evaluating the effects of dapagliflozin in chronic kidney disease. Additionally, Dr. Jovanovich is the Mentorship Director in the Division of Renal Diseases and Hypertension and has developed curriculum in palliative and supportive care within the field of nephrology. She regularly sees patients at the Denver VA Medical Center and teaches nephrology fellows, internal medicine residents, and medical students in the clinical setting.
Research Profile
Jessica Kendrick, MD, MPH
Associate Professor
Program Director of the Nephrology Fellowship Program
Associate Program Director of T32 Nephrology Training Grant
Director, Northeast Denver FMC dialysis unit

Dr. Kendrick researches vascular function in chronic kidney disease (CKD) in order to illuminate those mechanisms and interventions most greatly affecting vascular dysfunction and mortality in CKD patients. In addition to developing non-invasive techniques for determining the relationship between vascular dysfunction and mortality, Dr. Kendrick is testing interventions that have the potential to improve vascular function in patients with CKD. She is the recipient of an R01 Project Award, R56 Project Award and a K Career Development Award from the National Institutes of Health, and the recipient of multiple grant awards sponsored by Denver Health Medical Center (Denver Health), Amgen and the American Heart Association. Dr. Kendrick consistently receives “Top 5%” reviews as an educator in internal medicine and nephrology, and is recognized as a top physician at the University of Colorado. As a result, she is highly sought after by patients, families, and staff desiring her involvement in their clinical care.
Clinical Profile

Stuart Linas, MD
Rocky Mountain Professor of Renal Research
Chief of Nephrology, Denver Health Medical Center

Dr. Linas is the Rocky Mountain Professor of Renal Research at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, and the Chief of Nephrology at the Denver Health Medical Center. After earning a medical degree from Tufts University School of Medicine, he completed an internal medicine residency at the University of Rochester School of Medicine, followed by nephrology training at the University of Colorado. He has since dedicated the entirety of his academic career to the University of Colorado, serving over the years as faculty, the Renal Fellowship Director, and head of the Section of Hypertension within the Division of Renal Diseases and Hypertension. He currently chairs the Curriculum Steering Committee for the University of Colorado School of Medicine, and previously chaired the ABIM Subspecialty Board on Nephrology. He also served on the American Society of Nephrology (ASN) Board of Advisors, on the Alliance of Academic Internal Medicine Board of Directors, and on the Association of Specialty Professors as President. Notably, Dr. Linas has won numerous teaching awards at the University of Colorado and the Robert Narins Teaching Award from the ASN.

John Montford, MD  
Assistant Professor

Dr. Montford’s research explores novel immune pathways regulating CKD progression. He devotes his clinical time to the VA Eastern Colorado Health System and manages a population of chronic dialysis patients in the Denver Metro Area; he also maintains an active basic science laboratory at the Anschutz Medical Campus along with Dr. Seth Furgeson. Dr. Montford is actively involved in medical student, house staff, and fellow education by teaching formal coursework and clinical education at the Anschutz Medical campus hospitals and clinics.

Franklin O’Donnell, MPAS, PA-C 
Instructor

Mr. O’Donnell is originally from Fairbanks, Alaska and attended the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington where he majored in biochemistry with a minor in French Language. He then went to PA school at the University of Colorado’s Physician Assistant Child Health Associate Program, graduating in 2015 and receiving his NCCPA certification. Mr. O’Donnell recently completed an intensive 13-month hospitalist training program for advanced practice providers at the University of Colorado Hospital within the Hospital Medicine Group.
Research Profile

Kathryn Rafferty, MS, NP, RN
Instructor

Ms. Rafferty has clinical expertise in chronic kidney disease, end-stage renal disease, and hemodialysis. She has been with the Division since 2008 and with the University of Colorado Hospital for over 16 years.

Isaac Teitelbaum, MD
Professor
Medical Director, Home Dialysis Program

Dr. Teitelbaum, as medical director of the Home Dialysis Program, oversees the care of approximately 55 home-dialysis patients. He serves as president of the International Society for Peritoneal Dialysis and participates in global educational programs on peritoneal dialysis and other areas of nephrology. Dr. Teitelbaum also maintains a small outpatient clinical practice with a focus in glomerular diseases and spends several months each year attending on one of the University’s inpatient consult services. Notably, Dr. Teitelbaum has been named one of Denver’s “Top Doctors” by 5280 Magazine each year since 2008.
Research Profile
Joshua Thurman, MD
Professor

Director of the Glomerulonephritis Program
Dr. Thurman’s primary research interest is the immunologic basis of kidney disease. His laboratory studies the underlying causes of auto-immunity and inflammation; this work has led to the development of several novel anti-inflammatory therapeutic agents. Dr. Thurman’s laboratory has also developed novel radiologic probes to detect and monitor renal inflammation by magnetic resonance imaging and positron emission tomography. He currently oversees the Glomerulonephritis Clinic at the University of Colorado Hospital, which cares for patients with all forms of inflammatory kidney disease, and participates in clinical trials focused on new therapies and diagnostic tools for treating these diseases.