Scientific Advisory Committee

Made up of 12 of the most prestigious physicians and scientists in the United States, the Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) oversees our research and medical programs aimed at discovering and delivering treatments for PKD. The SAC meets several times throughout the year to discuss relevant medical issues, provide guidance to our staff and review and approve research applications for grants and fellowships in the field of PKD science. All our materials and publications are approved by SAC members, who possess the highest level of experience and knowledge in PKD clinical and scientific work.


Terry WatnickTerry Watnick, M.D. – Chair

The University of Maryland

Dr. Terry Watnick, M.D., is an associate professor in the Division of Nephrology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, where she established an inherited renal disease clinic. She has also been an investigator in several multicenter clinical trials recruiting patients with ADPKD, including TEMPO. She moved to the University of Maryland School of Medicine in 2012 where she leads the Baltimore Polycystic Kidney Disease Research and Clinical Core Center. She currently serves as the Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) Chair for the PKD Foundation’s Board of Trustees. Dr. Watnick received her medical degree from The Yale School of Medicine and completed her internal medicine training at Yale-New Haven Hospital. She then moved to the Johns Hopkins Hospital where she received clinical training in Nephrology. She also completed a research fellowship that was focused on the genetics of autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease. Dr. Watnick subsequently joined the faculty at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine where she rose through the ranks to associate professor. During this time she continued to develop her clinical and research interests in inherited kidney diseases.

Stefan Somlo, M.D.

Yale University School of Medicine

C.N.H. Long Professor of Medicine (Nephrology) and Professor of Genetics; Chief, Section of Nephrology – Research Interests: Genetic kidney and liver disease;  Cilia function in tissue homeostasis;  Polycystin function


Benjamin D. Cowley Jr., M.D.

University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center

Has been Section Chief of Nephrology in the Department of Medicine since March, 2002, and is also the John Gammill Professor in Polycystic Kidney Disease. He is a former Chair of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Polycystic Kidney Disease Foundation and also the President, Board of Directors, for the Oklahoma Foundation for Kidney Disease. Serves on the Board of Directors of LifeShare Transplant Donor Services of Oklahoma and is currently the UNOS designated physician for the OU Mecical Center Kidney Transplant Program and the OU Medical Center Pancreas Transplant Program

John J. Bissler, M.D.

University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center

Board certified in Pediatrics and Pediatric Nephrology with expertise in Angioedema, Kidney Disease, and Tuberous Sclerosis. Left the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital in September 2013 (Cincinnati will no longer be seeing Renal Adult patients) and moved to the University of Tennessee, Le Bonheur Pediatric Hospital and St. Jude Pediatric Research Hospital.

Alessandra Boletta, Ph.D.

San Raffaele Scientific Institute – Milan, Italy
Director, Division of Genetics and Cell Biology, Head of Research Unit

The main interest of Dr. Boletta’s laboratory is to understand the normal function of PC-1 protein in ADPKD and to identify
potential new targets for therapy in PKD. In a recent study, her laboratory also described a defect at the level of glucose metabolism in PKD.  She applied for and was granted funding the Foundation for a continuation of this work. One additional interest is in understanding the mechanism which leads to renal epithelial transformation in a subset of cystic kidney diseases, such as Tuberous Sclerosis Complex, which are characterized by the presence of cystadenomas and carcinomas in addition to cysts.

Iain Drummond, Ph.D.

Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School

Associate Professor, Department of Medicine, Harvard Medical School/Associate Biologist, Renal Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital

Michal Mrug, M.D.

University of Alabama at Birmingham – Department of Medicine/Division of Nephrology
Associate Professor of Medicine

Dr. Mrug’s clinical interests center on evaluation and management of adult patients with PKD. His current research focuses on the identification of specific genes and molecular pathways that modulate PKD severity and progression. He is continuing his collaboration with Dr. Guay-Woodford to identify non-PKD genes that contribute to phenotypic variability in PKD.

York Pei, M.D., FRCP(C), FACP, FASN

Toronto General Hospital, University Health Network

Professor, Department of Medicine, Division of Nephrology and Division of Genomic Medicine; Director, Hereditary Kidney Disease Program; Director, Centre for Innovative Management of Polycystic Kidney Disease

Ronald D. Perrone, M.D.

Tufts Medical Center

Associate Chief, Division of Nephrology; Medical Director, Kidney Transplantation; Professor, Tufts University School of Medicine.  2012 “Top Doctor” (Boston Magazine), 2012 “Top Doctor” and in top 1% in the nation in his specialty (U.S. News & World Report)

Richard Sandford, M.D., Ph.D., FRCP

University of Cambridge, Cambridge Institute of Medical Research

Consultant Clinical Geneticist with a special interest in inherited renal and liver disease, with a particular interest in autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease

Darren Wallace, Ph.D.

University of Kansas Medical Center

Dr. Wallace is an Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine and the Kidney Institute at the University of Kansas Medical Center. He received his PhD from the Department of Molecular and Integrative Physiology at KUMC in 1998 and joined the faculty of the Department of Medicine in 2002. Dr. Wallace’s research is funded by an R01 grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIDDK). He is the Director of the PKD Research Biomaterials and Cellular Models Core funded by the PKD Foundation. Additional research support is derived from private foundations and biotechnology companies. Dr. Wallace is also a member of the Scientific Advisory Committee for the PKD Foundation.

Angela Wandinger-Ness Ph.D.

University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center
Director of Fluorescence Microscopy and Cell Imaging Shared Resource, and Professor in Department of Pathology

Interests include:

GTPases as targets of small molecules therapeutics for ovarian cancer and genetic diseases; Cellular and molecular basis of autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease; Renal stem cells;  Interrelationships between membrane trafficking, signaling cell polarity and disease pathology; and Molecular mechanisms of Rab GTPases and lipid  signaling in membrane trafficking.