Lillian Jean Kaplan International Prize for Advancement in the Understanding of Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD)

The Lillian Jean Kaplan International Prize for Advancement recognizes individual(s) whose seminal scientific work constitutes tangible achievement toward improving knowledge and treatment of PKD. $50,000 USD is payable in American funds to an individual winner. More than one prize may be awarded and it may be awarded to residents of any country without restriction. The 2017 Prize will be presented at the World Congress of Nephrology in Mexico in April 2017. In addition to the $50,000 USD prize, a citation depicting the winner’s work and a sculpture will be presented. The awardee(s) will present a lecture during the World Congress of Nephrology. A complete nomination must include the following information:

  • The full name and complete contact information for the nominee(s).
  • A formal letter of nomination which contains a summary of the contributions of the nominee(s) and a description of how and why the work of the nominee(s) represents a major advance in basic or clinical understanding of PKD,  distinguishing those aspects of the work which clearly set it apart from the work of others in the field.
  • A full curriculum vitae and bibliography of the nominee(s).
  • At least two letters of support for the nomination.
  • The full name and complete contact information for the nominator(s).

Nominations should to be sent to: Dr. Nathan W. Levin Chair of the Advisory Committee Lillian Jean Kaplan International Prize for Advancement in the Understanding of PKD

2015 Award recipients

Peter Igarashi, M.D.

Peter Igarashi, M.D.Dr. Igarashi is the Nesbitt Chair and Head of the Department of Medicine at the University of Minnesota Medical School. He previously served as Chief of the Nephrology Division at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center where much of his work on PKD was conducted. Dr. Igarashi has 30 years of research experience in kidney development, stem cells and PKD. His laboratory has identified new proteins that control genes and characterized their roles in cystic kidney disease. In addition, Dr. Igarashi has studied the role of the primary cilium in the progression of PKD. His group demonstrated that inactivation of a gene needed for the production of the primary cilium causes polycystic kidneys. Recent studies from his laboratory have revealed that non-protein coding genes play a role in PKD and represent potential therapeutic targets. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Riverside, and his M.D. degree from the University of California, Los Angeles School of Medicine. He completed residency training in internal medicine at the University of California, Davis Medical Center and a nephrology fellowship at the Yale University School of Medicine.

Gregory J. Pazour, Ph.D.

Gregory J. Pazour, Ph.D.Gregory J. Pazour, Ph.D., is a Professor of Molecular Medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School where he is working to understand the function of the primary cilium in mammalian development and disease. Dr. Pazour has a broad background in cilia. His postdoctoral work focused on the function and assembly mechanisms of cilia in the green alga Chlamydomonas. Work with colleagues George Witman, Joel Rosenbaum and Doug Cole demonstrated that the intraflagellar transport (IFT) system was critical for ciliary assembly. Unexpectedly, they found that the Tg737 polycystic kidney disease gene encoded the intraflagellar transport protein IFT88 and showed that this gene is required for ciliary assembly in both Chlamydomonas and in the mouse kidney. This was the first demonstration of a ciliary defect causing polycystic kidney disease. He later went on to show that polycystin-2, the protein encoded by the human autosomal dominant PKD2 gene, is localized to cilia. These studies laid the groundwork for our current appreciation of the role of cilia in polycystic kidney disease and helped establish that the primary cilium is a sensory organelle. His laboratory is currently focused on understanding the functions of the intraflagellar transport proteins using the mouse model. This work established that cilia play critical roles in many organs including the heart and eye. Dr. Pazour earned B.S. degrees in Chemistry and Biology from South Dakota State University and a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Minnesota. He did postdoctoral work at the Worcester Foundation for Biomedical Research.

Past award recipients

2013 Recipients

Vincent Gattone, Ph.D.Vincent Gattone, Ph.D. Indiana University School of Medicine Indianapolis
Dorien Peters, Ph.D.Dorien Peters, Ph.D. Leiden University Medical Center Leiden, Netherlands

2011 Recipients

Gerd Walz, M.D.Gerd Walz, M.D. University of Freiburg Medical Center Germany
Jim Calvet, Ph.D.James Calvet, Ph.D. University of Kansas Medical Center Kansas City, Kan.

2009 Recipients

Lisa Guay-Woodford, M.D.Lisa Guay-Woodford, M.D. University of Alabama at Birmingham Birmingham, Ala.
Corinne Antignac, M.D., Ph.D.Corinne Antignac, M.D., Ph.D. Necker Hospital Paris
Friedhelm Hildebrandt, M.D.Frieldhelm Hildebrandt, M.D. Harvard Medical School Boston

2007 Recipients

Jing Zhou, Ph.D.Jing Zhou, M.D., Ph.D. Harvard Medical Center Boston
Vicente Torres, M.D.Vicente Torres, M.D. Mayo Clinic Rochester, Minn.

2005 Recipients

Greg Germino, M.D.Greg Germino, M.D. Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Baltimore
Stefan Somlo, M.D.Stefan Somlo, M.D. Yale University School of Medicine New Haven, Conn.

2003 Recipients

Jared Grantham, M.D.Jared J. Grantham, M.D. University of Kansas Medical Center Kansas City, Kan.
Peter Harris, Ph.D.Peter Harris, Ph.D. Mayo Clinic Rochester, Minn.