Dharnidharka named director of pediatric nephrology

Vikas Dharnidharka, MD, an award-winning specialist in pediatric kidney disease and transplantation, has been named director of the Division of Nephrology in the Department of Pediatrics at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

Dharnidharka joins the School of Medicine from the University of Florida College of Medicine, where he was chief of the Division of Pediatric Nephrology, associate professor of pediatrics and medical director of the pediatric kidney transplant clinic at Shands Children’s Hospital in Gainesville, Fla.

“We are pleased to welcome Vikas to Washington University,” says Alan L. Schwartz, PhD, MD, the Harriet B. Spoehrer Professor and head of Pediatrics. “Vikas is an exceptional leader in pediatric nephrology. He is the consummate clinician, educator and clinical investigator. We are delighted that he is joining our department and the School of Medicine.”


Dharnidharka’s clinical research interests include chronic renal failure, pediatric kidney transplantation and post-transplant infections.

He is known for his work related to post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorder (PTLD), a life-threatening, post-transplant malignancy caused primarily by an infection with the Epstein-Barr virus. He performs epidemiological analyses of large national databases to shed light on risk factors for post-transplant complications, particularly infections, and outcomes after complications.

He also participates in multi-center clinical trials for chronic renal insufficiency, dialysis and transplantation, in collaborations with researchers nationwide. These research projects have been funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and private industry.

“When I learned of the opportunity at Washington University, I saw a tremendous pediatrics department, a fantastic children’s hospital facility and an outstanding medical school,” Dharnidharka says. “I also saw teams of great scientists in my field, both in bench and clinical research, working collaboratively across disciplines. That is what I’m hoping to be able to build upon greatly. The pediatric nephrology division already has great basic science research and clinical patient care. I can now add a new dimension of patient-oriented research.”

He has published more than 125 articles in peer-reviewed journals, written several book chapters and edited a book, Post-Transplant Lymphoproliferative Disorders.

Dharnidharka has won numerous awards and honors, most recently the Clinical Science Investigator Award from the American Society of Transplantation in June 2012. In 2006, he received the American Society of Transplantation’s Clinical Science Career Development Award.

In addition, Dharnidharka served as the scientific program committee chair for the 2012 annual meeting for the American Society of Pediatric Nephrology. He has received numerous Young Investigator Awards from several major societies. He has been selected by his peers for the Best Doctors in America since 2006. He serves on the editorial boards of the journal Pediatric Transplantation and the PREP Nephrology section of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Dharnidharka, a native of India, earned a medical degree from Topiwala National Medical College in Bombay. He completed an advanced postgraduate program in clinical investigation and earned a master’s in public health at the University of Florida. He completed an internship at Topiwala National Medical College and Bombay University and residencies at BYL Nair Hospital and Topiwala National Medical College, Children’s Hospital of Michigan and Wayne State University. Dharnidharka also completed a fellowship in pediatric nephrology at Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School. He joined the faculty at the University of Florida in 1999.

In his new position as director, he succeeds Keith Hruska, MD, who will remain on the faculty as professor of medicine, of pediatrics and of cell biology and physiology.

Washington University School of Medicine’s 2,100 employed and volunteer faculty physicians also are the medical staff of Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals. The School of Medicine is one of the leading medical research, teaching and patient care institutions in the nation, currently ranked sixth in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Through its affiliations with Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals, the School of Medicine is linked to BJC HealthCare.