Matthew A. Sparks, MD

Associate Professor of Medicine
Campus mail 2 Genome Court, Msrb2 Room 1013, Box 103015, Durham, NC 27710
Phone (919) 684-9737
Email address

I serve as the Program Director for the Nephrology Fellowship Program. My goal is to work with each fellow to ensure they develop a successful career in whatever direction they choose. I am the lead for the newly established Society for Early Education Scholars (SEEDS) in the Department of Medicine. The SEEDS Program is a year-long mentored education program designed for fellows planning careers as clinician educators or education scholars.

Nephrology Fellowship Program

My laboratory is interested in understanding how both the renin-angiotensin and prostanoid systems regulate blood pressure by altering blood flow to the kidney. We use a combination of physiologic and molecular techniques in genetically modified mice to probe questions about how changes in the micro circulation in the kidney alter sodium excretion. The overarching goal of this research is to identify novel mechanisms to target drug therapy for patients with hypertension. My research has been funded by the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Research and Development and the American Heart Association. We also explore the link between pulmonary hypertension and CKD.

Sparks Laboratory Website

I'm also interested finding ways to promote medical education. My focus is on leveraging social media to enhance learning in nephrology. I serve as program director for the Nephrology Social Media Collective (NSMC) internship and member of the board of directors of nephrology journal club (NephJC), a non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing free online medical education in nephrology. I am also co-founder and advisory board member of the first nephrology blog associated with a journal- AJKD blog, the official blog of the American Journal of Kidney Diseases. Co-creator of the popular educational project NephMadness. Past deputy editor of Renal Fellow Network where I continue to remain as faculty lead. I am currently a member of the Nephrology Board of the American Board of Internal Medicine, the Scientific and Clinical Education Lifelong learning Committee Chair, Kidney in Cardiovascular Disease Council of the American Heart Association and am a fellow of the American Society of Nephrology, the American Heart Association, and the National Kidney Foundation. 

I serve as Education Director for KIDNEYcon- a yearly hands-on conference dedicated to advances in nephrology held in Little Rock, AR each April.

Listen to my podcast "The Nephron Segment"

@Nephro_Sparks on Twitter

Education and Training

  • Fellow in Nephrology, Medicine, Duke University School of Medicine, 2007 - 2011
  • Chief Resident, Medicine, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, College of Medicine, 2006 - 2007
  • Resident, Medicine, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, College of Medicine, 2003 - 2006
  • M.D., University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, College of Medicine, 2003


Rianto, Fitra, Thien Hoang, Ritika Revoori, and Matthew A. Sparks. “Angiotensin receptors in the kidney and vasculature in hypertension and kidney disease.” Mol Cell Endocrinol 529 (June 1, 2021): 111259.

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Sparks, Matthew A., Emre Dilmen, Donna L. Ralph, Fitra Rianto, Thien A. Hoang, Alison Hollis, Edward J. Diaz, et al. “Vascular control of kidney epithelial transporters.” Am J Physiol Renal Physiol 320, no. 6 (June 1, 2021): F1080–92.

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Kirby, Brett S., Matthew A. Sparks, Eduardo R. Lazarowski, Denise A. Lopez Domowicz, Hongmei Zhu, and Timothy J. McMahon. “Pannexin 1 channels control the hemodynamic response to hypoxia by regulating O2-sensitive extracellular ATP in blood.” Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol 320, no. 3 (March 1, 2021): H1055–65.

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Cohen, Jordana B., Andrew M. South, Hossam A. Shaltout, Matthew R. Sinclair, and Matthew A. Sparks. “Renin-angiotensin system blockade in the COVID-19 pandemic.” Clin Kidney J 14, no. Suppl 1 (March 2021): i48–59.

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Sparks, Matthew A., Fitra Rianto, Edward Diaz, Ritika Revoori, Thien Hoang, Lucas Bouknight, Johannes Stegbauer, et al. “Direct Actions of AT1 (Type 1 Angiotensin) Receptors in Cardiomyocytes Do Not Contribute to Cardiac Hypertrophy.” Hypertension 77, no. 2 (February 2021): 393–404.

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Ruf, Rebecca, Niloufarsadat Yarandi, David I. Ortiz-Melo, and Matthew A. Sparks. “Onco-hypertension: Overview of hypertension with anti-cancer agents.” Journal of Onco Nephrology 5, no. 1 (February 2021): 57–69.

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Atiq, Saad O., Tanmay Gokhale, Zainab Atiq, Racquel Holmes, and Matthew A. Sparks. “A case of pembrolizumab induced distal renal tubular acidosis.” Journal of Onco Nephrology 5, no. 1 (February 2021): 23–26.

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Chancay, Jorge, Meghana Eswarappa, Luis Sanchez Russo, Matthew A. Sparks, and Samira S. Farouk. “Urine Microscopy for Internal Medicine Residents: A Needs Assessment and Implementation of Virtual Teaching Sessions.” Kidney360 2, no. 1 (January 28, 2021): 79–85.

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Schub, M., S. Savedchuk, S. Franco, and M. A. Sparks. “Acute tubular injury - Pathophysiology and clinical implications.” In Issues in Kidney Disease - Acute Kidney Injury, 117–46, 2021.