Dr. Ira Kurtz, a UCLA professor of medicine, has received a $3 million gift from the Donald T. Sterling Foundation to fund research on the structural properties of key proteins in the kidney that affect its function in health and disease. His ultimate aim is the discovery of new molecular approaches, which will aid in the development of drugs to treat patients with kidney disorders.
“This gift will play a key role in accelerating the success of ongoing research projects in my lab,” said Kurtz, who holds the Factor Chair in Nephrology and serves as chief of the division of nephrology at UCLA. “There is currently a worldwide epidemic of kidney disease today. More than 500 million people worldwide have some form of kidney damage. Millions of people are affected and die each year, and a disproportionate number in the Unites States are African Americans, Latinos and other minorities.”
A major goal of Kurtz’s basic research program is to understand the fundamental biological processes affecting kidney function at the molecular level. One of the focuses of his lab is to unravel the atomic structure of various proteins in the kidney that contribute to kidney disease.