Qais Al Awqati
- New York US-NY
Qais Al-Awqati is the chief of the Nephrology Division at Columbia and the Jay I. Meltzer Professor of Nephrology & Hypertension at Columbia University. Qais Al-Awqati is best known for his work in identifying the molecular basis of hydrogen transport in kidney cells. In recent news regarding the fight against kidney disease, scientists have created a device that conducts kidney tests and sends results using a smartphone peripheral. UCLA researchers say that the device could significantly reduce the need for clinic visits for those who suffer from diabetes and those with ailments of the kidneys. The device uses two small fluorescent disposable test tubes to measure results. One tube contains a control liquid, while the other contains a urine sample mixed with fluorescent dyes. The urine sample is injected into the device using a syringe; the device creates a beam of light that is captured by the phone’s camera. The image is then processed and sent to a database or healthcare provider using an iPhone or Android app. Scientists say that the test is accurate to within less than 10 micrograms per mm, which is within the accepted clinical standards for diagnosing diseases of the kidney.
Based out of New York City, Qais Al-Awqati is the Robert F. Loeb Professor of Medicine at Columbia University. Born and raised in Baghdad, Qais Al-Awqati has nearly forty years of research and teaching experience in nephrology, physiology, and cellular biophysics. When not in the lab, Qais Al-Awqati enjoys listening to classical music for its health benefits and personal enjoyment. During the 1990s, researchers made headlines with a study that discussed the link between listening to classical music and heightened IQ scores. This phenomenon, which has been termed the Mozart Effect, demonstrates a relationship between classical music and the brain. Listening to classical music reduces stress, helps the brain to focus, and can even improves memory. Classical music can also affect one’s physical health. Researchers at the University of San Diego found that listening to classical music lowered listeners’ blood pressure. A Hungarian research team published a study that found college students who listened to 45 minutes of classical music before bed were able to fall asleep easily.
Qais Al-Awqati, a graduate of the University of Baghdad Medical School, has gone on to serve as a clinical professor and researcher at both the University of Iowa in Iowa City and Columbia University in New York City. His various research projects have earned Qais Al-Awqati widespread recognition and a number of prestigious awards. In 2007, his study of terminal differentiation in renal epithelia won him a Homer W. Smith Award from the American Society of Nephrology. Bestowed by the American Society of Nephrology (ASN) on an annual basis since 1964, the Homer W. Smith Award honors medical academics and clinical researchers who have made significant contributions to the science of nephrology. The award gets its name from Dr. Homer W. Smith, a former director of physiology laboratories at New York University, who conducted outstanding research in glomerular filtration, tubular absorption, and the secretion of solutes. The ASN award given in his name recognizes the efforts of individuals who follow in his footsteps by furthering medical knowledge regarding both normal and abnormal kidney functions.
As an expert in kidney function and development, Qais Al-Awqati has received numerous awards and honors. The Columbia University professor, who divides his time between teaching and research, is responsible for many groundbreaking discoveries in the study of nephrology. Qais Al-Awqati was recently presented with the Edward N. Gibbs Memorial Medal. At the presentation ceremony, he delivered a lecture entitled “Development of Nephrons and Kidneys: A Scenic Tour.” The Edward N. Gibbs Memorial Medal, an award given annually to celebrate excellent original work in the pathology, etiology, and treatment of kidney disease, is presented by the Edward N. Gibbs Memorial Endowment, which was established in 1901 to pay tribute to physicians and scientists who significantly advance knowledge of the kidney and its functions. Only US citizens with MD degrees are considered for the honor. Each year, the winner is invited to the New York Academy of Medicine to receive the award and submit their research. Physician scientists can be nominated for the medal with the submission of a detailed letter.
A renowned expert in nephrology, Qais Al-Awqati is based in New York and works at Columbia University as the Robert F. Loeb Professor of Medicine and as a professor of physiology and cellular biophysics. Qais Al-Awqati was the 2010 recipient of the Robert W. Berliner Award for Excellence in Renal Physiology from the American Physiological Society. An American Physiology Society award associated with prestige and honor, the Robert W. Berliner Award for Excellence in Renal Physiology was created in honor of the organization’s 40th president, who served from 1967 to 1968. During his lifetime, Robert W. Berliner was responsible for groundbreaking research into renal function, specializing in kidney, electrolyte, and fluid exchanges. Berliner’s career was influenced by that of Robert F. Loeb during Berliner’s internship at Presbyterian Hospital. The Robert W. Berliner Award for Excellence recognizes significant achievement in the area of renal physiology during a physiologist’s lifetime. Candidates are at least 60 years of age and have contributed to the renal physiology field through activities within the APS, training, teaching, and research.
Qais Al-Awqati, Columbia University’s Robert F. Loeb Professor of Medicine, is an experienced academic whose award-winning career spans over four decades. A great deal of Qais Al-Awqati’s research involves the examination of the recently discovered presence of stem cells in mature kidneys. He currently works to isolate and study these stem cells. Stem cells, in brief, are the raw materials of the body. These cells generate other cells with specific functions. Under proper conditions in either laboratory or body, they divide and make what are known as daughter cells. In the process of differentiation, daughter cells become cells with a specified function. This may include brain cells, bone, blood, and more. During self-renewal, daughter cells become more stem cells. This is the only type of cell found in the body capable of creating new types of cells. Many researchers and medical professionals believe that the study of stem cells will improve the understanding of diseases, create healthy new cells for regenerative medicine, and provide new ways of testing drugs for efficacy and safety.
A renowned nephrologist, Qais Al-Awqati, MD, teaches and researches nephrology and kidney disease management as the Jay Meltzer Professor of Nephrology and Hypertension at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City. While he was a medical resident in Iraq, before moving to the United States, Dr. Qais Al-Awqati established a hospital for the victims of the El Tor cholera pandemic and recorded extraordinary success in their treatment. Cholera is a bacterial infection of the small intestine that causes dramatic fluid loss through vomiting and diarrhea. In underdeveloped areas, it is most frequently spread by drinking contaminated water, and in developed areas, by eating contaminated seafood. Cholera is generally not transmitted by direct contact with infected people. The symptoms of diarrhea and vomiting clear fluid can start within just a few hours of ingesting the bacteria, although it can take as long as five days for symptoms to appear. Strains discovered in Haiti and India in the early 21st century sometimes were fatal within two hours of initial symptoms. The treatment for cholera consists of continuing to eat, to help restore the small intestine’s health, drinking fluids, and consuming oral hydration salts. Professional treatment includes replacing electrolytes and administering antibiotics. For patients receiving prompt professional treatment, mortality rates are generally below 1 percent, but without treatment, mortality rates increase to more than 50 percent. Oral vaccines are available but can take weeks before full protection is achieved.
Distinguished doctor and medical researcher Qais Al-Awqati is the Robert F. Loeb Professor of Medicine at Columbia University. With his extensive experience and contributions to the field of nephrology, Dr. Qais Al-Awqati has been the recipient of numerous grants and awards from the medical community. Among Dr. Al-Awqati's many distinctions is the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Method to Extend Research in Time (MERIT) Award. This is given to investigators who have demonstrated high competence, superiority, and productivity in their chosen fields. The award aims to provide stable support to these outstanding people in their research endeavors. Awardees are nominated by the National Advisory General Medical Sciences Council. Unlike other grants, MERIT awardees have full creative control over their research, thereby allowing them the opportunity to take risks or develop new research techniques for their project. The initial grant is valid for five years, but awardees can easily apply for extensions upon the presentation of a one-page abstract and an eight-page progress report.
Dr. Qais Al-Awqati works as a professor of physiology and cellular biophysics, and is also the Robert F. Loeb Professor of Medicine, at Columbia University. The New York-based doctor has been working at the university since 1977, when he first joined the faculty as an associate professor. Dr. Qais Al-Awqati became the chief of the Kidney Disease Division, a position he held for 25 years. Aside from his academic work, Dr. Al-Awqati also served as the editor in chief of Kidney International, the official journal of the International Society of Nephrology. As a bastion for the advancement of nephrology and renal research, Kidney International features articles, commentaries, discussions, editorials, and reviews from leading nephrologists and researchers around the world. Most of the journal's content (both free and paid) is published online at Kidney International's official website (www.nature.com/ki). He has also contributed to the Journal of Cell Biology and The Journal of Clinical Investigation.