Research at PKDF

Since the Foundation’s establishment in 1982, it has invested over $50 million in more than 1,300 research, clinical and scientific grants, awards, fellowships and scientific meetings. The Foundation’s financial commitment over the years has seen results on a local, national, and even global level, including initiating funding for young investigators from around the world; supporting innovative research ideas; and providing seed funding to researchers to allow researchers world-wide to apply for larger National Institutes of Health (NIH) grants.

The Research Department has also led the launch of the nation’s largest patient-powered ADPKD Registry, and brings together multiple research stakeholders in the PKD Outcomes Consortium. Together, these programs form a research continuum that spans from pre-clinical basic science, Phase 1-4 clinical trials, and translational studies to maximize the impact patients will see in the clinic.


Please feel free to contact us by email or at 800.753.2873 for more information!

PKDF’s Grants and Fellowships Programs

Funding opportunities

The principal goal of our research grant program is the development of clinical interventions for the treatment of PKD. Explore available funding opportunities.

Funded research

The Research Grant and Fellowship Programs will fund critical research to increase understanding of the genetic and pathological processes involved in PKD

Resources for PKD clinicians and researchers

Up to Date information about treating PKD

We partnered with UptoDate to provide medical professionals education on PKD.

PKD Outcomes Consortium

Created to facilitate clinical trial development by establishing a clear regulatory pathway to evaluate the effectiveness of potential treatments

ACT Alerts

Members of the PKD community have signed up for updates on new clinical research. Do you have a study open for enrollment?

Data resources in PKD research

By encouraging utilization of existing datasets, the Foundation hopes to bring new perspectives. Learn more here.

Research news

Explore the latest in polycystic kidney disease publications and articles from our grantees, collaborators, and other PKD experts.

Kaplan award

See past winners or nominate your peers for the Lillian Jean Kaplan International Prize for Advancement in the Understanding of PKD

For patients who want to get involved in research

Sign up for a study or clinical trial in PKD

From observational studies to clinical trials, patients can help researchers unlock the secrets of PKD and find a treatment by participating in a study.

ADPKD Registry

The first in the U.S., the secure and patient-powered ADPKD Registry will advance research and help us #endPKD.

Become a stakeholder reviewer

Join our panel and provide a patient/caregiver perspective in PKDF’s annual research grant review process.

PKD treatment pipeline

Learn about the treatments for PKD currently being developed in the United States.

Getting a nephrectomy? Donate your PKD kidney to research

Our PKD tissue donation program provides patients with an avenue to contribute to the advancement of our understanding of PKD.

Spotlight on PKDF grantees and publications

PKDF funds researchers and clinician scientists across the world who are dedicated to finding  answers to help us better understand polycystic kidney disease. Here are some highlights of their work.

Harini Ramalingam, Ph.D.
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

“ADPKD is the most common genetic cause of renal failure. Current treatment options are limited. miRNAs have emerged as novel pathogenic regulators of ADPKD progression. Anti-miR-based drugs represent a new therapeutic modality to treat ADPKD patients.” – Harini Ramalingam, Ph.D.

Whitney Besse, M.D.
Yale University

“Clinical genetic testing is not without challenges, but with careful analysis and collaboration, it has the potential to accelerate progress in our understanding of the mechanistic basis of kidney disease and development of targets for treatments that could alter the landscape of both inherited and acquired kidney disease.” – Whitney Besse, M.D.

Owen Woodward, Ph.D.
University of Maryland Baltimore

My lab is working on growing our understanding of how kidney cysts start to grow. We grow kidney tubules in gel so they can form their normal 3D shape. Then because of their special engineering, we can cut out the PKD DNA just by adding a chemical and watching the tubes turn into cysts. We can stop this process at different time points to ask, “What has changed?” Which proteins have become more abundant, which are less, which genes are turned on, which are turned off? By knowing the very first things that start the cyst growing, maybe we can target this process and stop new cysts from forming. Fewer cysts mean lower disease burden. – Owen Woodward, Ph.D.

Read one of Dr. Woodward’s recent publications:

Molecular Structure of the PKD Protein Complex Finally Solved

Read more grantee and fellow spotlights here.

Page last reviewed June 2021