Jared J. Grantham, M.D.

PKD Foundation Co-Founder

Our esteemed Co-Founder, Jared J. Grantham, M.D., who had been undergoing treatment for cancer, passed away Jan. 22, 2017 at the age of 80. His brilliant career as a clinician and researcher spanned more than five decades, most of which were dedicated to advancing PKD research and science.

Dr. Grantham’s determination to help PKD patients was unwavering, and his many accomplishments were key to leading us closer to treatments and a cure for PKD. We are grateful for Dr. Grantham’s steadfast support and commitment throughout the years, and his vision that one day no one will have to suffer the full effects of PKD. We will continue to honor his legacy by working diligently toward a future without PKD.

Our community thanks Dr. Grantham

Dr. Grantham has certainly helped and inspired many of us. I believe I met him only once but was very impressed both by his knowledge and his desire to help others. Thank you for all you have done.


Our community thanks Dr. Grantham

Dear Dr. Grantham, Although I never met you in person, you have made a difference in my life and that of my family. The PKD foundation is truly a blessing. Your Foundation is becoming better known every year. You will be remembered every day.


Our community thanks Dr. Grantham

Thank you for your tireless dedication to finding treatments and a cure for PKD.


Our community thanks Dr. Grantham

Thank you so much for starting this Foundation. It has been my go-to place for information about PKD for many, many years. I have hope that my children will be less affected by PKD because of the research supported by this Foundation. Thank you!


A life dedicated to PKD research and science

Jared J. Grantham, M.D., and Joseph Bruening founded the PKD Foundation in August 1982, with a vision to find treatments and a cure for polycystic kidney disease (PKD). When they started, no one knew much about PKD, and the progress we have made in PKD research and science over the last few decades is truly amazing. Dr. Grantham’s lifelong work and dedication have made an immense impact on the progress of PKD research and science. Among Dr. Grantham’s many contributions were:

  • His discovery of the hydro-osmotic effects of the hormone vasopressin in the kidneys.
  • His leadership as the Director of the Division of Nephrology at the University of Kansas Hospital, which shaped the program into a world-class program to train new researchers.
  • His discovery that the renal tubules secrete and reabsorb solutes and water, a finding that came from a series of experiments that showed that kidney cysts in PKD patients are in fact distended renal tubules that trap fluid within an expanding cavity lined by a single layer of cells.
  • The founding of the Polycystic Kidney Disease Research Foundation (now the PKD Foundation) in partnership with Mr. Joseph Bruening to advance PKD research and science.
  • His role as the founding director of the Kidney Institute at the University of Kansas Hospital, a renal research and training program, and as the founding editor of the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.



Watch Dr. Grantham talk about his passion for science and discovery

A key discovery sparked by memories of a childhood friend

One of Dr. Grantham’s greatest contributions to PKD science was sparked by the memory of a childhood friendship, which then paved the way to a career dedicated to PKD research. As Dr. Grantham made an important discovery — that renal tubules both secrete and reabsorb solutes and water — he remembered his childhood friend, Ronnie Wilkerson, who had PKD. Dr. Grantham wondered if the fluid in kidney cysts might be secreted and whether the cysts were in fact distended renal tubules. He then started studies with PKD patients to determine the tubular nature of kidney cysts and eventually confirmed that the cysts are neoplastic growths filled with liquid.




Watch Dr. Grantham talk about how the memory of childhood friendship led to his seminal discovery about how kidney cysts form in PKD patients.

A vision to end PKD

As Dr. Grantham’s PKD studies progressed and the word got out in the media, he was approached by Kansas City businessman, Joseph Bruening. Mr. Bruening wanted to help his wife and daughter, who both had PKD, through financial support. Dr. Grantham understood that PKD was a neglected field of research at the time so, instead of proposing that the money be used to support his own research, he formed a partnership with Mr. Bruening to found the Polycystic Kidney Disease Research Foundation (now the PKD Foundation) to support and advance PKD research and science.



Watch Dr. Grantham talk about how you can help advance PKD research and science.

Learn more about Dr. Grantham

Read more about Dr. Grantham’s life and journey in his book “Why I Think About Urine…and a Treatment for Polycystic Kidney Disease.”

Page last reviewed November 2022