Our Mission & History
Our mission is to conduct research that can improve the lives of those with kidney disease.
Our goal is to establish a leading clinical research endeavor focusing on early detection, prevention and treatment of kidney disease and its complications.
Our vision is for every person affected by kidney disease to be informed about, participate in and benefit from our research.
The foundation for a kidney research institute
A life-changing discovery
Seattle has long been the place for kidney research. In 1960, Dr. Belding H. Scribner, the first director of nephrology at the University of Washington, and his colleagues developed a blood access device for hemodialysis called the Scribner shunt, providing a lifeline to patients with kidney failure. The shunt allowed patients to receive lifesaving dialysis on a long-term basis, changing kidney failure from a death sentence to a treatable condition. Dr. Scribner subsequently founded Northwest Kidney Centers, the first outpatient dialysis program in the world, and made Seattle an international center for advances in kidney disease. Through his leadership, Scribner forever changed the lives of patients with kidney disease.
The need for more research
The prevalence of kidney disease has continued to rise steadily since Scribner’s time, and the lack of research and new discoveries has hindered the delivery of optimal medical care and treatments to affected individuals. For the Seattle kidney community, it became evident that there simply wasn’t enough innovative research on kidney disease being done. A cohesive, focused research endeavor to bring the best science to the study of the most important clinical problems needed to be in place to truly make a difference in the lives of people with kidney disease.
An institute just for kidney research
Beginning in 2003, a task force comprised of leadership from UW Medicine, Northwest Kidney Centers and the community pioneered the concept of a research institute dedicated solely to kidney disease. After five years of planning, the Kidney Research Institute opened its doors in 2008, proud to build on 50 years of history in Seattle.