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Feb. 4, 2013
Internationally renowned kidney disease physician and scientist, Jochen Reiser, MD, PhD, joined Rush University Medical Center on Sept. 1, 2012 as the new chairman of internal medicine.
“Dr. Reiser is a world-renowned research leader in the field of proteinuric kidney disease. He is credited with finding a major cause of a significant form of chronic kidney disease called focal segmental glomerulosclerosis,” said Thomas Deutsch, MD, dean of Rush Medical College, provost of Rush University. “He will be a major asset to Rush and we are fortunate to have his leadership in the Department of Internal Medicine."
When asked about his new role, Reiser explained, “I’m a young chairman of medicine. I think I’m probably the youngest of the approximate one hundred and thirty academic chairmen in this country … When you look at the time ahead, you're trying to find a place where you can have a strong impact and help make a place even better than it is … I’m very excited to be here to produce better medicine, and by that I mean making discoveries that impact the patient's life and treating patients that we never actually see by transforming medicine …This is an exceptional opportunity for me.”
Reiser comes to Rush from the University of Miami's Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine, where he was the Peggy and Harold Katz Family Professor of Medicine, Anatomy and Cell Biology.  He was also the vice chairman for research in the Department of Medicine, chief of the Division of Nephrology and Hypertension and the founding director of the Peggy and Harold Katz Family Drug Discovery Institute. Prior to joining Rush, he also served as interim chairman of medicine for Miami.

Reiser led a team of international researchers and scientists in discovering the first circulating factor known to start the process leading to focal segmental glomerulosclerosis. They found that a soluble form of the urokinase plasminogen activator receptor (suPAR) is a circulating blood factor that can trigger glomerular kidney disease. Because of Reiser’s discovery, the disease is better understood and researchers can now work toward developing targeted treatments to prevent what suPAR does to the kidney.

Commenting on his research, Reiser said, “In my area of kidney disease we made fundamental discoveries through work in the laboratory that we are now bringing to patients. This is something that's truly exciting, and it energizes many other researchers regionally and also across the nation and internationally to do better research; and that's how we hopefully make better treatments, which to me is the ultimate goal of what any academic physician should strive for. To bring this to Rush and bring my expertise complemented with the expertise that's already here is very rewarding to me.”
Reiser further explained, “The value of having research right where you deliver care is priceless and makes medicine better. That's what we want to do, and that's what's happening here already. This will lead to new discoveries and better treatment … At a university medical center, we cannot separate clinical care from research and education. We need all three elements, and they are all equally important to produce the best physicians, have the best nursing program, train the best students and make the best medicine.”
Reiser is the author of more than 70 medical and scientific articles.  He holds 10 patents and also serves on the editorial board of a number of leading medical journals. Reiser has led international research in molecular mechanisms of glomerular kidney disease.  Currently, Reiser has three NIH-funded grants in renal disease and biomedical research. He is a member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI) and was most recently also elected to the American Clinical and Climatological Society (ACCA).

Reiser earned his medical degree and PhD (summa cum laude) at the Ruprecht Karls University of Heidelberg, Germany and served his residency in internal medicine at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. He completed his fellowship in nephrology at Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital at Harvard Medical School in Boston. Before going to Miami, Reiser was an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School and the founding director of the program in glomerular disease at the Massachusetts General Hospital.
Reiser’s goal is “to build a sustainable academic research clinical operation to develop better therapies.” “With this all together,” Reiser stated, “I think we’ll practice better medicine here at Rush.”
Reiser was instrumental in leading the current initiative to obtain new, state-of-the-art research equipment for Rush that will help him and his team of researchers make more fundamental discoveries to transform medicine. This equipment will help ensure optimal precision and performance and lead to more remarkable discoveries that will have a direct impact on the quality of care provided.


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