Meet the 2020 Lillian Jean Kaplan Prize Winner

Published May 14, 2020

Andy Betts, PKD Foundation president and CEO, is pleased to announce that Arlene Chapman, M.D., is the winner of the 2020 Lillian Jean Kaplan International Prize for Advancement in the Understanding of Polycystic Kidney Disease. Considered the most prestigious prize in the polycystic kidney field, the honor serves to stimulate members of the global scientific and medical communities to increase or begin research with an outcome leading to a PKD treatment and cure.

“The Lillian Jean Kaplan Prize is the most prestigious award for a clinician or clinician-scientist working in the area of autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease. This is a beautiful honor and the most cherished of my career. The encouragement this recognition gives extends beyond expectations and gives further support to find a cure for this life-threatening disorder. I am humbled and extremely appreciative.”

—Arlene Chapman, M.D.

The PKDF had hoped to present the award at the International Society of Nephrology World Congress of Nephrology in Abu Dhabi, UAE in late March, but the conference was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, the award will be officially presented at WCN’21 in Montreal, QC, Canada in April 2021. The award includes $50,000, an inscribed Tiffany & Co. bowl, and a citation depicting her work.

A nephrologist well-known for her efforts to improve the lives of patients with renal disease, Dr. Chapman is the Chief Section of Nephrology at the University of Chicago.

About Dr. Chapman

Dr. Chapman is a physician scientist who’s worked in the PKD field for over 30 years. She’s been involved in the development of novel imaging biomarkers, the study of personalized (or precision) medicine, and the role of genetics in predicting responses to blood pressure medications to treat hypertension. Dr. Chapman sat on the PKD Foundation’s Scientific Advisory Panel (SAP) from 1996–2005 and was chairwoman of the SAC from 2000-2001. She also established the FASEB research conference in PKD, now in its 15th year. Chapman’s work appears in nearly 170 peer-reviewed publications and book chapters.

In addition, Dr. Chapman served on the editorial boards for the American Journal of Kidney Diseases, Kidney International, and the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology. She’s received continuous funding from the NIH for her work over the last 18 years.

Lillian Jean Kaplan Prize History

In 2002, the Lillian Jean Kaplan Prize was established by the PKDF and the International Society of Nephrology. Thomas Kaplan created the award in memory of his mother, Lillian Jean Kaplan, who died in 2002 from PKD. The award recognizes individuals whose scientific work results in tangible achievement toward improving the knowledge and treatment of PKD.

“It’s my honor to present Dr. Chapman with this distinguished and significant award,” Betts said. “We sincerely appreciate Mr. Kaplan’s ongoing generous commitment to recognizing PKD researchers, such as Dr. Chapman, our 2020 award winner. Such work provides ongoing hope for PKD patients throughout the world.”

Moving Forward

Since 2002, Thomas Kaplan has generously donated more than $4.5 million to the PKDF, including more than $1 million in support of the Lillian Jean Kaplan Prize. In 2020, the PKD Foundation began offering the award annually, a change from awarding two scientific contributors biennially. We thank Thomas Kaplan for his generous support toward helping #endPKD.


  1. Neeti Gill

    Dr Chapman was my doctor for many years, and I am in awe of her in so many ways. She is a remarkable physician and person. Congratulations!!

  2. Beverly Tate

    Congrats tomDr Chapman! She is an amazing dr and I was privledged along with my son to be her patient here in Atlanta. This award is well deserved


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