Faculty: Division of Nephrology and Hypertension
Faculty of the Division of Nephrology and Hypertension conduct research and treat people with kidney diseases of various types, such as glomerular diseases, chronic kidney disease, kidney stones, diabetes, high blood pressure, and other kidney diseases.
To learn more about our faculty, follow the links below to access their Georgetown University faculty profiles. If a particular faculty member doesn’t have a link, their profile is currently under development and will be available shortly.
Also within the division, faculty of the Center for Hypertension, Kidney & Vascular Research investigate the mechanisms that underlie kidney and vascular (blood vessel) diseases, high blood pressure (hypertension), and train the next generation of leaders in these fields.
Michael James Choi, MD
Chief of Nephrology and Hypertension
- Medical Degree: Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 1987
- Internship: Johns Hopkins Hospital, 1987
- Residency: Johns Hopkins Hospital, 1988-90
- Fellowship: University of Pennsylvania, 1990-94
- Certifications: Internal Medicine, 1990; Nephrology, 1992
Dr. Choi is the Chief of the Georgetown Nephrology and Hypertension Division He is the immediate Past-President of the National Kidney Foundation (NKF). He is the initial Chair and member of the NKF Education Committee. He is on the American Board of Internal Medicine Nephrology Test Writing Committee. He is presently an editorial board of the American Journal of Kidney Diseases. He is Co-Chair of the Mid-Atlantic Nephrology Young Investigators Forum.
He has won the Garabed Eknoyan Award for his outstanding contributions to the NKF. He was the Chair of the NKF Spring Clinical Meeting in 2011. He has served on the American Society of Nephrology (ASN) Post-Graduate Education Committee and has spoken for ASN Highlights in Clinical Nephrology.
Dr. Choi also served as the ASN Co-editor of its leading educational project, Nephrology Self-Assessment Program (NephSAP) Chronic Kidney Disease and Progression. He was the Deputy Editor of Advances in Chronic Kidney Disease and previously served on the editorial board for the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.
Previously, he was the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Nephrology Division Clinical Director and Fellowship Program Director where he was won multiple awards (W. Barry Wood Jr. Award, Osler Housestaff Teaching Award, Professor’s Award, Miller-Coulson Academy Award for Clinical Excellence).
His clinical and research interests include glomerular diseases, chronic kidney disease, kidney stones and medical education.
Christopher Wilcox, MD, PhD
Director of the Center for Hypertension Research.
Distinguished Professor of Medicine
- Medical Degree: Oxford University, UK, 1969
- Ph.D: London University, UK, 1974
- Internship: London University, UK, 1970
- Residency: London University, 1971
- Fellowship: London University, UK, 1973
- Certifications: Internal Medicine, 1986; Nephrology, 1992; Certified Hypertension Specialist, 1999
Dr. Wilcox was the former Chief of the Georgetown Nephrology Division and the George E. Schreiner Professor of Nephrology. Prior to this he held professional positions at University of Florida, Harvard Medical School, Yale Medical School, University of Cambridge, and London University. He holds two NIH individual investigator RO-1 grants, one NIH program Project Grant and two NIH Small Business Investigator Research and Development Grants. He has been Chair of several NIH/NIDDK Study Sections, and is the immediate past Chair of the AHA Council of High Blood Pressure Research. He has received many national and international honors and distinguished lecturer positions. He is a mentor for many faculty and fellows of the Georgetown Nephrology and Hypertension Division.
His research is focused on the interaction between blood pressure and the kidney. His basic research entails studies of genes, cells, tissues and animal models. Currently, he is investigating the hypothesis that oxidative stress is a proximate cause of most of the diseases of the second half of life. He studies this in animal models of hypertension, kidney disease, menopause and aging using a combination of methods including isolated, perfused renal afferent, mesenteric and intracerebral arterioles from mice, and long term whole animal studies. He has developed new catalytic long-acting drugs to combat oxidative stress and validated them in his rat and mouse models. His clinical/translated research is focused on better methods to manage the complications of chronic kidney disease and hypertension. He investigates small human arterioles dissected from a skin biopsy to study the origin of vascular disease. He is developing a new extended release formulation of a diuretic that he has taken through Phase 1 clinical trials in normal subjects. He hopes to be able to test the new antioxidant drug in patients in the future.
Associate Professor of Medicine
- Medical Degree: Carol Davila University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Romania, 1997
- Residency: Internal Medicine, Yale University, 2001-2004
- Fellowship: Nephrology, Columbia University, 2004-2006
- Certifications: Internal Medicine, 2004; Nephrology, 2006 / 2016; Hypertension Specialist, 2009
Dr. Dragoi joined University of Missouri – Columbia Nephrology faculty as an Assistant Professor of Medicine after he completed his fellowship training. In 2008 he joined Georgetown University – Division of Nephrology and Hypertension. He is an Associate Professor of Medicine, actively involved in patient care, teaching, administration and research. His special clinical interests include: all aspects of home dialysis, nephrolithiasis and glomerulonephritis. He plays an active role in the education and training of medical students and young physicians. Dr. Dragoi’s special training and expertise was instrumental in creation of Washington DC’s first Home-Only Dialysis Program. He currently serves as Medical Director of DaVita Grant Park Dialysis Center in Washington, DC. His current research is focused on a novel oral C5aR inhibitor (avacopan) which could effectively and safely replace the use of high-dose glucocorticoids in patients with ANCA-associated vasculitis.
Assistant Professor of Medicine
- Medical Degree: Temple University School of Medicine, Philadelphia PA, 2005
- Internship: Temple University School of Medicine, Philadelphia PA,2006
- Residency: Temple University School of Medicine, Philadelphia PA, 2008
- Fellowship: Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 2011
- Certification: Internal Medicine 2008, Nephrology 2011
Dr. Gordon-Cappitelli completed her fellowship at Johns Hopkins University, where she was an instructor prior to joining Georgetown Nephrology. She enjoys patient care, teaching fellows, residents and students. She has taken a passionate interest in improving and revising the Georgetown Nephrology Fellowship curriculum and serves as Interim Fellowship Director. Her clinical interests include home dialysis modalities, CKD and hypertension management, glomerular diseases and pregnancy related hypertension and renal disease.
Chanigan Nilubol, MD
- Medical Degree: Chalalongkorn University, Thailand, 1999
- Internship: Queen Sawangwattana Memorial Hospital, 20001
- Residency: Internal Medicine, St Elizabeth Health Center, Youngstown, OH, 2004
- Fellowship: Nephrology, University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics, WI 2007; Columbia University Medical Center, NY, 2009
- Certifications: Internal Medicine, 2004; Nephrology, 2007
Dr. Nilubol received her nephrology fellowship training at University of Wisconsin in Madison, where she developed her interest and passion in kidney transplantation. She then completed her transplant nephrology fellowship at Columbia University and became a faculty member at SUNY Downstate Medical Center before joining Georgetown Nephrology faculty as an Assistant Professor of Medicine in 2010. Her clinical expertise and research interests include living kidney donor evaluation and their outcomes, medically complex kidney donors, disease progression and long term management of kidney transplant recipients. She has also developed growing interest in genetic predisposing factors for kidney disease in high-risk population and the implications of becoming a kidney donor.
Wen Shen, MD, PhD
- Medical Education: MD/PhD, Fudan University Shanghai Medical College Shanghai, China, 2001
- Postdoctoral Training: Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA
- Internship: Internal Medicine, Yale University Bridgeport Hospital, CT 2006
- Residency: Internal Medicine, Yale University Bridgeport Hospital, CT 2009
- Fellowship: Nephrology, Harvard University Beth Israel Deaconness Medical Center, Boston MA, 2012
Dr. Shen joined Georgetown University Division of Nephrology after she completed her training at Harvard. She is actively involved in patient care, teaching medical trainees and research. Her clinical work focuses on patients with hypertension, chronic kidney disease, primary and secondary glomerulonephritis, polycystic kidney disease, congenital kidney disease, kidney stones, and electrolyte disorders.
Her interest in understanding the mechanisms of proteinuria and developing new therapies for patients with proteinuric CKD has led her to involvement in several clinical and translational research projects. Currently, she is leading a clinical trial that investigates a new approach to treat proteinuric kidney disease by inhibiting the urokinase-type plasminogen activator receptor and renal tubular epithelial sodium channel. She is also the principle investigator of a clinical study examining if proteinuria independently predicts post-operative acute kidney injury by using big database. In addition, she is involved in a translational research project to study the cross talk between brain and kidney. She serves as a member of the Internal Review Board at Georgetown. She also oversees medical student’s scholarly activities by serving as a member of Independent Scholarly Project Oversight Committee.
Ji Hong, MD
Associate Professor of Medicine
- Medical Degree: West China University of Medical Sciences, 1984
- Residency: Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Peking Union Medical College Hospital, Beijing, P.R. China, 1988
Dr. Hong Ji has a longstanding interest in the molecular physiology started that at the NIH , after which she joined Georgetown Department of Medicine in 1996. Her interest includes the renin angiotensin aldosterone system in animal models of hypertension and associated vascular and kidney disease, and more recent sex differences in immune modulation of hypertension. Dr Ji’s research expertise lies in cloning, site-directed mutagenesis, mRNA and protein expression, translational regulation, signal transduction, radiotelemetry, renal hemodynamics and mouse breeding and recently with T cell purification and cytokine expression.
Enyin Lai, MD, PhD
Associate Professor of Medicine
- Medical Degree: Gannan Medical College, Jiangxi, China, 1983
- Specialist: Cardiologist, Eleventh Hospital of Wuhan, China, 1990
- PhD: Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden, 1990
- Postdoctorate Training: Georgetown University, 2007
- Assistant Professor of Medicine: Georgetown University, 2008
- Associate Professor of Medicine: Georgetown University. 2012
- Distinguished Professor of Medicine: Zhejiang University, China, 2012
Dr. Enyin Lai is an associate professor in the Nephrology and Hypertension division at Georgetown Hospital. His research is focused on measurements of kidney blood flow and glomerular filtration rate (GFR) and the adaptations of the kidney’s microvessels in models of hypertension, chronic kidney disease (CKD), diabetes, cardiovascular disease (CVD), and stroke. He studies directly the afferent and efferent arterioles from mouse kidneys to assess their roles in microvascular remodeling, renal blood flow, autoregulation, vascular reactivity and myogenic responses. He dissects the resistance vessels from the kidneys and the vessels supplying single islets in the pancreas and the vessels in the brain. These are the vessels that determine the function of these three vital organs. He combines these with fluorescence microscopy whose special fluorescent probes to study the generation of key microvascular mediators. These include nitric oxide (NO) and reactive oxygen species (ROS) and intracellular calcium. Some of this studies have focused on the role of an endogenous substance generated in blood vessels termed adenosine. He has defined the receptors on which it acts and its interaction with angiotensin II and nitric oxide. He has shown that this myogenic response of the afferent arteriole is severely impaired in CKD due to generation of hydrogen peroxide. This work is uncovering new therapeutic targets for prevention of kidney damage. Current work entails the isolation and perfusion of micro-cerebral arterioles from the mouse brain and will illuminate the causes and potential solutions to the stroke and neurodegenerative diseases. He has conducted both basic research and translational research with 63 original papers publishes in peer-reviewed journals such as Circulation Research, Hypertension, Diabetes and Kidney International. He is an expert in the renal/cerebral vascular physiology, and molecular cell physiology of vascular endothelial and smooth muscle cells in chronic kidney disease and hypertension.
Lingli Li, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor of Medicine
- Medical Degree: Wuhan University School of Medicine, Wuhan, China, 1983
- PhD: Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden, 2006
- Postdoctoral IRTA Fellow: NIDDK, NIH, 2010
Dr. Li is an assistant professor in the Department of Medicine. She joined Georgetown University in 2011 after extensive training and experience in biomedicine. Her work has been contributed primarily to the multiple completed and ongoing NIH grants. Her special interests include physiology of renal microcirculation, redox regulation of renal arteriolar contractility by using microperfusion techniques, and is currently focising on the translational research in acute kidney injury and chronic kidney disease.
Kathryn Sandberg, PhD, FAHA
Distinguished Professor of Medicine and Vice Chair for Research
Director, Center for the Study of Sex Differences in health, aging and disease
Director, TL1 Translational Biomedical Science Training Program
(for PhD students and Postdoctoral Fellows)
Associate Director, KL2 Program (for Early Career Investigators)
Georgetown-Howard Universities Center for Clinical and Translational Science
- PhD Degree: Biochemistry, University of Maryland, Baltimore 1987
- Postdoctoral Training: Intramural Research Training Award, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, NIH, 1987-1990
Dr. Sandberg has published extensively on the molecular physiology of the renin angiotensin system especially regarding the impact of gonadal hormones and sex chromosomes on the pathophysiology of hypertension and associated vascular and renal disease. She has been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health for more than 20 years and she has been honored for her research with a Distinguished Scientist Award from the Washington Academy of Sciences, an Established Investigator Award from the American Heart Association, the Harriet Duston Award from the Council for Hypertension and the Ernest H. Starling Distinguished Lectureship Award from the American Physiological Society. Dr. Sandberg has served in leadership roles in various scientific organizations including as the founding President of the Organization for the Study of Sex Differences, President of Women in Nephrology, and President of the Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine, DC Chapter. She chaired the American Physiological Society Awards Committee as well as peer review committees for the American Heart Association, the National Kidney Foundation and the National Institutes of Health. She was the Founding Chair of the Gordon Conference on Ligand Recognition and the elected chair of the 2012 Gordon Research Conference on Angiotensin. Dr. Sandberg served as Associate Editor for Gender Medicine and was the North American Editor for Cell Biology International and Section Editor for Sex-based biology in the Journal of Women’s Health. She currently serves on the Hypertension and the American Journal of Physiology-Renal and Physiology editorial boards among others.
Dan Wang, MD, PhD
Associate Professor of Medicine
- Medical Degree (M.D): Sun Yat-Sen University of Medical Science, China, 1978-1983,
- Ph.D: Sun Yat-Sen University of Medical Science, China, 1991-1994,
- Postdoctoral Training: Herlev Hospital, Copenhagen University, Copenhagen, Denmark. 1996-2000
- Special Interests: Microvascular physiology in hypertension, chronic kidney disease, aging, HIV-related cardiovascular comorbidity for both basic and clinical/translation research
Dr. Dan Wang serves as an associate professor in the Division of Nephrology and Hypertension, Department of Medicine and leads the Human Hypertension Research Laboratory, which specializes for translational clinical vascular researches. With a longstanding interest in research of microvascular physiology, her current researches focuses on the mechanisms of systemic hypertension and HIV-associated cardiovascular comorbidity. The basic research portion entails studies of oxidative stress related genes, microvascular (mesenteric arterioles) function and therapeutic strategies using rodent models of systemic hypertension and chronic kidney disease. The clinical/translational portion is focused on functional evaluation of living microvessels both ex vivo and in vivo. Approaches include the examination of small human arterioles dissected from a skin biopsy to study the pathogenesis of vascular diseases. In order to better understand mechanisms and be able to follow up the progress of vascular function/remodeling in vascular related diseases, she has established a series of invasive and non-invasive human vascular assessment technologies, including Myography, fluorescent microscopy for ex vivo microvessels; Laser Doppler Flowmetry, iontophresis of vasodilators for in vivo skin blood flow measurement; EndoPAT and capillary digital scope for finger microvascular function and capillary remodeling; Cardio-ankle vascular index and carotid to femoral pulse wave velocity for Conduit arterial function, etc. She is also developing intradermal microdialysis coupled with Laser Doppler flowmetry to further investigate mechanism and therapeutic targets selection of microvascular function in human. Dr. Wang is the principle investigator of an active NIH-RO1 grant titled as “Accelerated aging of microvessels, perivascular adipose tissue in people living with HIV”. She is developing additional research projects, such as “The effect of Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) on microvascular function in HIV”, “Clinical transnational vascular research program in vascular relation disease” and “Placenta microvascular function in HIV”.
William Welch, PhD
Distinguished Professor of Medicine
- Ph.D: Physiology, University of Kentucky, 1983
- Postdoctoral Training: Hypertension Endocrinology with T.A. Kotchen, MD, 1983-85
Dr. Welch directs the Renal Physiology research laboratory of the Division of Nephrology. His research focuses on the kidney’s ability to maintain fluid and electrolyte balance and how this regulates systemic blood pressure. Renal micropuncture and microperfusion of renal tubules are the main tools used to investigate single nephron function and microcirculatory blood flow. He continues to train post-doctoral fellows in this specialized technique, which historically has provided the most discrete data to identify transport and blood flow function in the kidney. His work is supported by NIH-funded grants, which focus on renal hormones, oxidative stress and oxygen metabolism.
VA Research Faculty
Ping Li, MD
Vasilios Papademetriou, MD, DSc, FACC
Director of Hypertension and Interventional Cardiology at the Washington DC VA Medical Center
Associate Professor of Medicine
- Medical Degree: Athens University Medical School, 1974
- Internship: Hellenic Anticancer Institute Athens, Greece, 1975
- Residency: General State Hospital Athens, Greece, 1978
- International Kidney Unit Athens, Greece, 1979
- Dept. of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Washington, D.C., 1983
- Fellowship: Laboratory of Chemical Pharmacology National Institute of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, 1980
- Fellow in Hypertension, Georgetown University School of Medicine, Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Washington, DC, 1982
- Certifications: Internal Medicine, 1985 ; Cardiology, 1987
Vasilios Papademetriou, MD, is a professor of medicine at Georgetown University School of Medicine, and staff cardiologist at Veterans Affairs Medical Centre in Washington, DC. He is the director of cardiovascular research, interventional hypertension and vascular medicine program, and co-director of the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory at the Veterans Affairs Medical Centre.
Dr. Papademetriou’ s clinical interests include cardiac catheterization, PCI/STENTS, myocardial biopsies, pericardiocentesis, stress and transesophageal echocardiography, and revascularization of high risk patients. He runs a large clinic of patients with resistant hypertension and dyslipidemia. His research is focused on hypertension and vascular biology, dyslipidemia, atherosclerosis, acute coronary syndromes/acute MI, and cardiovascular complications of diabetes. He has special interest in device-based treatment of patients with resistant hypertension and he is one of the principal investigators of the Renal Denervation projects. He has been a principal investigator for many “investigator initiated” and multicenter clinical trials and received numerous research grants from both public funding and industrial sponsors. Dr. Papademetriou has lectured nationally and internationally for over 20 years.
He has published over 340 peer-reviewed research papers, review articles, editorials, and book chapters and presented over 600 abstracts at national and international meetings . He serves as a reviewer of several prestigious journals such as Circulation, circulation research, JAMA, American Journal of Cardiology, American Heart Journal, American Journal of Hypertension, and the New England Journal of Medicine.
He is a member of many professional societies, and serves as a member of the Joint National Committee on Detection Diagnosis and Treatment of Hypertension and he is a member of the Cardio renal panel of the Food and Drug Administration. He is one of the pioneers of renal denervation
Dr. Papademetriou received his medical degree from Athens University School of Medicine and completed his training at the NIH, Georgetown University and the Department of Veterans Affairs in Washington DC. Dr. Papademetriou is board-certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine and the American Board of Cardiovascular Disease both in the US and in Greece.
Samir Patel, MD
Associate Professor of Medicine at GWU with an interest in Clinical Nephrology and Medical Education. He served as the Training Program Director for the Nephrology Fellowship at GWU from 2006 to 2016 and was elected to the Alpha Omega Alpha chapter at GWU as a faculty member in 2008.
- Northwestern University, Evanston IL B.S. 06/1991 Biology
- Upstate Medical University, Syracuse NY M.D. 06/1995 Medicine
- George Washington University, Washington DC 06/1998 Internal Medicine Residency
- George Washington University, Washington DC 06/2001 Nephrology Fellowship
Before moving to the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in 2016, Dr. Patel served as Co-Director, Continuous Renal Replacement, Director of the Therapeutic Apheresis service at GWU Hospital, founding Director of Renal Ultrasonography for Division of Renal Diseases and Hypertension, and Medical Director for Hemodialysis at the DaVita-GWU K Street dialysis unit in Washington D.C.
Dr. Patel’s initial scholarly and research efforts encompassed psychosocial issues in chronic kidney disease including medical adherence. In recent years, his work has moved to management of risk factors for chronic kidney disease such as hypertension and acute kidney injury. Dr. Patel has a particular interest in the identification and management of progressive kidney loss.
Sharon Bennett, MD
Sholey Argani, MD