Clinical Research

Duke Nephrology is actively involved in clinical research that translates to advances and improvements in clinical care.


Examples of our clinical research activities include studies of factors influencing the morbidity and mortality of patients on hemodialysis, studies of non-pharmacological treatments for hypertension, and investigations into the genetics of glomerular disease.

Clinical Research Investigators

Clinical Research Investigators

Blake Cameron

Blake Cameron, MD, MBI is an Associate Professor in the Division of Nephrology.  Dr. Cameron specializes in digital health innovation and systems improvement.  He is Medical Director of the Duke Digital Strategy Office, providing clinical leadership for system-wide digital health and patient experience initiatives.  He also leads care management programs within the Duke Population Health Management Office to improve the health of patients with chronic kidney disease, end-stage renal disease and hypertension.  He is assistant director of the Duke Learning Health System Training Program, which provides residents and fellows hands-on experience in data science and quality improvement.


See Dr. Cameron's publications on PubMed



Daniel Edmonston, MD, MHS is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine (Nephrology) and a member of the Duke Clinical Research Institute. His primary research focus lies at the intersection of kidney and cardiovascular disease including pulmonary hypertension, heart failure, and atherosclerotic disease in patients with chronic kidney disease. His research is funded by a Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award (K23) from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

See Dr. Edmonston's publications on Pubmed


Matthew Ellis, MD, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine (Nephrology) and Assistant Professor in the Department of Surgery (Abdominal Transplant). He serves as the Medical Director for the Kidney Transplant Program. In this capacity, he oversees the operation of the program and participates in quality improvement, outreach, and marketing.

Dr. Ellis is involved in several research initiatives related to kidney and pancreas transplants. He has been involved in the development and oversight of the Abdominal Transplant Repository, in which blood, urine, and biopsy specimens are collected and saved for current and future research projects.

Dr. Ellis participates as the principal or co-principal investigator for kidney transplant-related, industry-sponsored drug trials. These studies focus on novel agents or combinations of established medications in an attempt to balance immune system suppression while minimizing side effects, including infection.

Additional research interests include: radiologic approaches in the setting of transplant kidney dysfunction; the development of chronic kidney disease in non-solid transplantation, specifically hematopoietic stem cell transplantation; the immunology of polyomavirus infection; outcomes after kidney transplantation; causes and interventions for disparities in access to kidney transplant; and novel biomarkers for kidney transplant rejection. 

See Dr. Ellis's publications on Pubmed


Rasheeda Hall

Rasheeda Hall, MD, MHS, MBA is an Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine (nephrology). The objective of Dr. Hall’s research program is to transform the standard of care for vulnerable older adults with advanced kidney disease through novel models of care that integrate geriatric principles into kidney care settings. To date, Dr. Hall’s geriatric nephrology scholarship has primary focused on the older dialysis population in several areas including quality of life, physical function, resilience, geriatric assessment, and potentially inappropriate medications. Dr. Hall has applied several research methods, including the use of administrative claims and registry data, psychometric methods, qualitative research methods, prospective data collection, and pilot and feasibility studies. Among Dr. Hall’s accomplishments, Dr. Hall has received the NIA Paul B. Beeson Emerging Leaders Career Development Award (2018), the American Society of Nephrology-Amos Medical Faculty Development Program Award (2019), and the American Geriatrics Society Arti Hurria Memorial Award for Emerging Investigators in Internal Medicine Focused on the Care of Older Adults (2020). Dr. Hall is PI of a NIA-funded R01 to refine and test a geriatric care model for dialysis units. Dr. Hall also leads the Kidney Disease Aging Research Collaborative, a geriatric nephrology research network for faculty investigators across the US and Canada. Dr. Hall leads a geriatric nephrology clinic at the Durham VA Healthcare System.

See Dr. Hall's publications on PubMed


Pao-Hwa Lin

 Pao-Hwa Lin, PhD, is a professor in the Division of Nephrology. Dr. Lin's research focuses on nutrition and lifestyle intervention for the prevention and management of chronic diseases including hypertension and prostate cancer. She was a member of the team that designed the DASH dietary pattern which has been included in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans since 2005. She serves as an associate editor for the British Medical Journal-Nutrition, Prevention and Health. In addition, she has been serving on a community advisory board for the CTSI (CERI).

View Dr. Lin's publications on PubMed

Anika Lucas

Anika Lucas, MD, MTS is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Nephrology. She seeks to address psychosocial factors that contribute to inequities in kidney health. Dr. Lucas is a member of the American Kidney Fund’s Health Equity Coalition,  Network of Minority Research Investigators (NMRI), and the American Society of Nephrology (ASN).

See Dr. Lucas' publications on PubMed

John P Middleton

 John P. Middleton, MD, is a Professor of Medicine and Director of Site-Based Clinical Research. His current research efforts aim to improve understanding of the association between traditional and novel cardiovascular risks and kidney disease. 

Ultimately the goal of the ongoing research will be to improve the management of the unique cardiovascular complications that occur in patients with chronic kidney disease and to reduce the risk of developing advanced chronic kidney disease (CKD).

Dr. Middleton recently served on the Steering Committee for the completed RENAL-AF trial (Renal Hemodialysis Patients Allocated Apixaban Versus Warfarin in Atrial Fibrillation), and he also served as the Duke PI for the completed CREDENCE trial (Canagliflozin and Renal Outcomes  in Type 2 Diabetes and Nephropathy).  He serves as PI for clinical trials currently underway at Duke, including the following:  1.  PEARL-HD (Patiromer Efficacy to Reduce Episodic Hyperkalemia in End Stage Renal Disease Patients Treated with Hemodialysis); 2. ADAPT:  A Prospective Randomized Multicenter Open-label Trial of Lokelma to Control Interdialytic Hyperkalemia Following Increases in Dialysate Potassium: Effect on Peri-dialysis Cardiac Arrhythmias (Dr. Middleton also serves on the Steering Committee for ADAPT); 3.  KARDIA-3: Zilebiseran as Add-on Therapy in Patients with High Cardiovascular Risk and Hypertension Not Adequately Controlled by Standard of Care Antihypertensive Medications.  These and other recent studies aim to identify interventions to reduce the complications related to progression of chronic kidney disease.

See Dr. Middleton's publications on Pubmed

Opeyemi Olabisi

Opeyemi Olabisi, MD., PhD is a physician-scientist whose research focuses on APOL1-mediated kidney disease (AMKD).  He leverages a wide range of strategies, including inducible cell-based models, human stem cell-derived models, and transgenic APOL1 animal models to elucidate the mechanism underlying AMKD. He also conducts NIH-funded community-engaged translational and clinical research (learn more here, with the goal of developing innovative cure and prevention of AMKD.

See information on Olabisi Lab

See Dr. Olabisi's publications on PubMed


 Patrick Pun MD, MHS, FASN is an Associate Professor of Medicine and Director of Dialysis at the Durham VA Medical Center His research has been focused on addressing the epidemic of sudden cardiac death among patients with chronic kidney disease, with a particular focus on the epidemic of sudden cardiac death. The ultimate goal is to reduce the impact of sudden death through novel risk mitigation therapies. Current investigations are focused on understanding the interplay of hemodialysis-specific exposures in the development of arrhythmias through randomized clinical trials, using mixed methods to investigate and improve the cardiac arrest resuscitation in dialysis clinics, and examining the risks and benefits of implantable cardioverter defibrillators among CKD patients using clinical trial and registry data.

See Dr. Pun's publications on Pubmed


 Matthew R. Sinclair, MD, MHS is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine (Nephrology) and a member of the Duke Clinical Research Institute. His research focuses on reducing the progression of chronic kidney disease (CKD) among racial and ethnic minorities, with a specific focus on Hispanics/Latinos. His work seeks to enhance recognition of major CKD risk factors, such as type 2 diabetes and hypertension, among individuals in the community, and develop interventions to optimize evidence-based screening and therapy provision for patients with or at risk for CKD. His research is funded by a Duke Department of Medicine Chair’s Award and a Duke Center for Research to Advance Healthcare (REACH) Equity Career Development Award.

See Dr. Sinclair's publications on PubMed

Laura Pat Svetkey

 Laura P. Svetkey, MD, MHS, is a Professor of Medicine, Associate Director of the REACH Equity disparities research center, Co-Director of the CTSA career development award program (KL2), member of the Duke Molecular Physiology Institute, and Vice Chair for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Duke Department of Medicine. 

Dr. Svetkey has over 35 years of experience in the investigation of hypertension and related areas, such as obesity and kidney disease, generally focusing on nutritional and other non-pharmacologic interventions. She has maintained a consistent focus on disparities and minority health.

Dr. Svetkey has conducted several NHLBI-sponsored clinical trials that address dietary influences on blood pressure (including the landmark DASH and DASH-Sodium trials); behavioral interventions for preventing and treating hypertension and weight control; the use of technology for promoting health behaviors related to hypertension and obesity; and physiologic and biomarker studies of non-pharmacologic interventions.

Currently, she co-leads a REACH Equity study on mitigating implicit bias in clinical care.

See Dr. Svetkey's publications on Pubmed

Crystal Tyson

Crystal Tyson, MD, MHS is an Assistant Professor at Duke Nephrology and she also has a faculty appointment in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine. She is a Certified Clinical Hypertension Specialist. Her research investigates strategies to reduce racial and health disparities among patients with hypertension and chronic kidney disease using diet, exercise and weight loss. She has also been a sub-investigator on trials testing the effects of bilateral renal artery denervation on blood pressure. Her research is funded by a Mentored Research Scientist Career Development Award (K01) from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

See Dr. Tyson's publications on Pubmed


Myles Wolf, MD

Myles Wolf, MD, M.Med.Sc. is the Chief of Duke Nephrology. The focus of Dr. Wolf’s research is disordered mineral metabolism across the spectrum of chronic kidney disease, including dialysis, kidney transplantation, and earlier stages. His research has been published in leading general medicine and subspecialty journals including the New England Journal of MedicineJAMA, the Journal of Clinical InvestigationCirculationJournal of the American Society of Nephrology, and Kidney International, among others. His primary contributions have been in the area of hormonal regulation of phosphate homeostasis. He has helped to characterize the physiological role of fibroblast growth factor 23 in health and in chronic kidney disease, and the impact of elevated fibroblast growth factor 23 levels on adverse clinical outcomes in patients with kidney disease.

See Dr. Wolf's publications on Pubmed

Christina Wyatt

Christina Wyatt, MD is an Associate Professor in Nephrology and an Associate Program Director for the Nephrology Fellowship program. As a core faculty member at the Duke Clinical Research Institute, she is a principal investigator on the coordinating centers for two large clinical trial networks, one focused on implementation of genetic testing in clinical practice and the other addressing structural racism as a barrier to kidney health. She is also involved in collaborative research projects focused on kidney disease in people with HIV and on the intersection of environmental and kidney health.

See Dr. Wyatt's publications on PubMed