Nephrology fellowship - Training Pathways

The Division of Nephrology at the University of Washington offers three training pathways that lead to board eligibility in Nephrology.

Clinician Educator Training in Nephrology

The purpose of this pathway is to train fellows interested in pursuing academic careers as future clinician educators. Individuals accepted into this pathway will complete two (2) years of clinical nephrology training.

Our goal is to train highly competent clinician educators who will assume important roles in academic medicine. This encompasses teaching and mentoring students, residents and fellows in clinical settings; teaching medical students in small-group classroom settings; gaining expertise in administrative leadership; performing educational and clinical research; achieving excellence in direct patient care; and fulfilling the vital task of teaching and leadership in the community. Realizing the unmet need for clinician educators and future leaders in academic nephrology, our training program strives to combine these essential elements into a rigorous and carefully designed didactic and clinical experience.

The clinician educator in nephrology pathway at the University of Washington is a mentored pathway. The mentor and the mentoring team will be assigned during the first month of fellowship which will then be responsbile for creating an individualized plan for the two years of training. The pathway will focus on building skills in the following areas:

Clinical Nephrology

Clinical skills will be developed continually during the 24 months of training. Our nationally and internationally renowned faculty at the four (4) clinical sites provides a unique learning experience in all aspects of nephrology. This occurs in general nephrology settings as well as other specialty and transplant clinics. Fellows are also encouraged to develop an area(s) of clinical expertise and will be provided structured guidance in learning new skills such as diagnostic ultrasound or catheter placement.

Teaching Skills

Fellows will be expected to participate in mentored involvement in medical student, resident, and co-fellow teaching. This will occur in the context of clinical rounding as well as formal classroom or conference style didactic teaching.

Curriculum Design

Fellows will also be involved in developing curriculum for medical student, resident and fellow education. Dr. Ashley Jefferson (Associate Program Director for Education) is intimately involved in designing medical student and resident teaching curriculum at University of Washington, School of Medicine. He also oversees all didactic activities of the Division of Nephrology and involves fellows-in-training in these activities.


Fellows will also receive mentored guidance in taking on the role of Medical Director of a dialysis unit, serving on various administrative and regulatory committees at the University of Washington as well as the various facets of the fellowship program administration. Training in time management skills will also be provided for clinician educators in recognition of diverse demands which clinical educators face in academic medicine.

Professional Development

Fellows are provided protected educational time to attend national meetings during the second clinical year. They are also encouraged and afforded divisional resources to present their scholarly work at various local and national avenues.

Scholarly Work

All fellows will be required to complete at least one scholarly project preferably in educational or clinical research, a QI project, or a project integrated into the research programs of the division. Part of this activity may be undertaken during the three (3) months of Outpatient Rotation offered in the second clinical year. A research mentor will be assigned to each fellow and satisfactory progress will be overseen and facilitated by Dr. Nisha Bansal [Associate Program Director].

The Teaching Scholars Program

Interested and competent candidates will be encouraged to apply to the Teaching Scholars Program at the University of Washington, which is a one-year professional development program for educators in the health professions. The program goals are to develop academic leaders, promote scholarly innovation, and enhance teaching skills. A separate application is required for this program which is a competitive application process. If accepted, fellows participate in this program for a half day per week during the second year of fellowship.

Advanced Fellowship Training

Fellows interested in continuing to build clinical and academic skills will be encouraged to apply to the University of Washington Renal Transplant or Advanced Dialysis Fellowship program.

Clinician Educator Training Timeline Example

First Year

  • Mentoring team identified and plan the focus of the fellowship experience
  • Identify clinical area of interest
  • Design a research project with a realistic expectation to complete over two years
  • Identify teaching focus (medical student, resident, fellow, curriculum design)
  • Clinical rotations
  • Progress through clinical rotations and outpatient experience

Second Year

  • Teaching scholars program option (September-June, 1/2 day per week)
  • QI project, abstract paper completed
  • Administrative duties
  • Progress through clinical rotations and outpatient experience

Third Year Option

  • Possible Dialysis Fellowship or Transplant Fellowship

Basic Science Research

Three-year program with a first clinical year followed by two research years.

In the basic science pathway the trainee concentrates and acquires skills predominantly in the molecular, biochemical and cellular aspects of kidney-related research, and develops an understanding of how this basic research may be translated from the bench to the bedside. Most individuals undertaking laboratory research training are supported in their research years by an NIH training grant, "Research Training in Renal Disease (Shankland/PI),"; and must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents. Please see a complete listing of our research areas of expertise.

The basic science training program generally consists of:

  • Working under the direct supervision of a faculty member in nephrology doing basic laboratory studies related to mechanisms of renal disease. Emphasis will be on acquisition of basic research laboratory skills, experimental design, data analysis, and an in-depth understanding of the relevant research literature.
  • The opportunity to supplement renal research training with experience in a basic science department (Immunology, Biochemistry, Pathology, Biologic Structure, and other departments).
  • Options for formal coursework in basic science including molecular biology, statistics, mechanisms of disease, etc. Other topics in related or unrelated fields may be pursued depending on trainee interest.
  • Biomedical research integrity training. In order to retain NIH training grant support, all research fellows at the UW are required to have documented attendance at a series of lectures and workshops on the principles and ethics of research.

Most individuals completing basic science research training seek to pursue academic careers as physician-scientists with independent research laboratories.

PhD Basic Science Training Program

We strongly encourage PhDs to apply to our leading kidney research program. The goals fo the PhD Basic Science Training Program is to enable the trainee to utilize their molecular and cellular skills and knowledge towards disease-based processes.

The training of PhDs in our program will specifically focus on kidney injury and repair.

The 1st year Basic Science curriculum in kidney disease for PhDs and MD/PhDs is as follows:


  • Cell Culture basic methods with cell lines, generation of primary cells development of cell based assays with examples of functional readouts.
  • Basic understanding of molecular biology: from PCR methods through to molecular cloning of genes. Use of bacteria to generate copies of DNA. Sequencing.
  • Basic understanding of mouse genetics: modern genetic tools and pitfalls.
  • Bioinformatics platforms and their uses: multiplexing, arrays, mini-arrays. Analysis of data.
  • Basic approaches to designing experiments: controls, timepoints, timecourses, critical endpoints, basic statistical approaches.


  • Attend Core Curriculum Division of Nephrology conferences
  • Comprehensive knowledge of Nephrogenesis and Anatomy (Med Student Level)
  • Comprehensive knowledge of kidney physiology (Med Student level)
  • Basic knowledge of kidney pathologies terminologies and specialized cells of the kidney
  • Overview of kidney related gene defects in humans
  • Overview of systemic diseases that have kidney disease as a component
  • Vascular and metabolic and endocrine consequences of chronic kidney disease

Clinical and Translational Research

Three-year program with a first clinical year followed by two research years.

In the clinical and translational research pathway the trainee focuses on epidemiology, clinical trials, outcomes-based or other clinical and translational studies. The training includes coursework in the School of Public Health or Epidemiology at the University of Washington. Most individuals completing this training seek to pursue academic careers with independent funding with an emphasis on clinical and translational research and outcomes research. Most individuals undertaking laboratory research training are supported in their research years by an NIH training grant, "Research Training in Renal Disease (Shankland/PI),"; and must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents. Please see a listing of our research areas of expertise.

The clinical research training program consists of:

  • Formal coursework leading to a certificate or master's degree in epidemiology (MPH or MS) with emphasis on epidemiology, biostatistics, data management, and research design. Translational topics in other fields may be pursued depending on trainee interest (e.g. pharmacokinetics, biomarker discovery).
  • Hands-on clinical and translational research experience. Under combined mentoring, the trainee will design and carry out a clinical or translational study on an important nephrologic topic.
  • Seminars and tutorials in research design, research methodology, and statistical methods will focus on the specific studies the trainees are conducting to provide immediate and ongoing review of projects in progress.
  • Biomedical research integrity training. In order to retain NIH training grant support, all research fellows at the UW are required to have documented attendance at a series of lectures and workshops on the principles and ethics of research.

Given the current high level of interest in clinical and translational research training, the faculty within the School of Public Health and Community Medicine is a critical resource for our program. The School is the only accredited school of public health in the Northwest and is highly regarded nationally. There are five departments within the School: Biostatistics, Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, Epidemiology, Global Health, and Health Services. Extensive interdepartmental and inter-school collaboration for research and training provides students with expertise in a broad range of public health problems. The School has 158 primary faculty. In 2013, the School had 1232 enrolled students in all its programs. It offers both master’s and PhD-level training in epidemiology and biostatistics. Courses in the Department of Epidemiology provide a rigorous introduction to both observational studies and randomized controlled trials, primarily as they relate to investigation of disease etiology, evaluation of diagnostic and screening tests, therapeutic intervention, and disease prognosis. Courses in the Department of Biostatistics cover quantitative techniques for analysis of data from medical studies: statistics, principles of estimation and hypothesis testing, sample size, evaluation of statistical significance, and survival analysis.

Upon completion of the program, trainees will be prepared to function effectively as independent investigators and teachers in clinical research and epidemiology, in nephrology, and in academic or public health environments.