Klahr, medical school faculty for 44 years, 74

Saulo Klahr, MD, a kidney disease expert and former director of the Washington University Department of Medicine’s Renal Division, died Thursday, June 3, 2010, at Parc Provence in Creve Coeur, Mo. He was 74.

A native of Santander, Colombia, Klahr was on the School of Medicine faculty for 44 years until his retirement in 2007.

Klahr was widely known for his research into the causes of kidney disease, kidney metabolism and physiology, and regulatory control of fluid and electrolyte balance. In 1994, he was honored by the American Association for the Advancement of Science for his groundbreaking research into the causes of kidney diseases and for his service and leadership in the field of nephrology.


“Dr. Klahr made enormous contributions to nephrology as a specialty and to the program in renal diseases at Washington University and Barnes-Jewish Hospital,” said Kenneth S. Polonsky, MD, the Adolphus Busch Professor and head of the Milliken Department of Medicine and physician-in-chief at Barnes-Jewish Hospital. “The distinction of this program is in no small way due to the efforts of Dr. Klahr.”

Klahr earned a medical degree from Universidad Nacional in Bogata, Colombia, in 1961. He came to the university that same year as a postdoctoral fellow, and then joined the faculty as an instructor in 1963. He became full professor and director of the Renal Division in 1972, a position he held for 20 years. He then became co-chair of the Department of Medicine and chief of medicine at Jewish Hospital.

In 1991, Klahr was named the John E. and Adeline Simon Chair in Medicine. Over his career, he published more than 500 articles and served as editor-in-chief of two journals.

Klahr held leadership roles and was an active member of organizations dedicated to researching and finding cures for kidney disease. He served as president of the American Society of Nephrology and of the National Kidney Foundation. The National Kidney Foundation of St. Louis and Eastern Missouri established the Samuel Klahr Lectureship in 1990 in his honor.

Klahr is survived by his wife, Carol; sons, James, of Jefferson City, Mo., and Robert, of University City, Mo.; a brother, David Klahr of Cali, Colombia; a sister, Perla Levy of Mont Vernon, N.H.; and four grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held July 10 at the home of his son Robert Klahr.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Washington University Scholars in Medicine Program, Attn: Brian DeFilippis, Washington University Medical Alumni and Development, Campus Box 1247, St. Louis, Mo., 63105, or The National Kidney Foundation, The Saulo Klahr Lectureship, 10803 Olive Blvd., St. Louis, Mo., 63141.