September 12, 2008 — (Bronx, NY) — Dr. Markus Bitzer of Albert Einstein College of Medicine has been named a grant recipient in the 2008 NephCure Foundation Research Scientific Grant Program. His Young Investigator Grant will provide $100,000 each year for three years. The focus of Dr. Bitzer's research is to discover how kidney failure develops and whether this disease process can be slowed down, halted or possibly reversed.
The award to Dr. Bitzer, who is assistant professor of medicine and of developmental & molecular biology at Einstein, is a part of $1.6 million program supporting basic research into the causes and treatments for two types of kidney disease — focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) and nephrotic syndrome.
Nephrotic syndrome and FSGS damage the tiny filtering units (glomeruli) in the kidney, causing protein needed by the body to be discarded into the urine. Over time, these conditions can result in kidney failure and the need for dialysis or kidney transplant. The causes for most forms of nephrotic syndrome and FSGS remain unknown and there is no cure. The condition accounts for about one of every eight cases of end-stage renal disease.
Dr. Bitzer earned his bachelor's and medical degrees at Friedrich Alexander University, in Erlangen, Germany. He came to Einstein in 1998 for a postdoctoral fellowship in molecular biology and genetics, funded by the German Research Council and the National Kidney Foundation of Greater New York. He joined the Einstein-Montefiore Medical Scientist Research Training Program in 2001 and stayed on as a principal investigator in Einstein's Department of Medicine, Division of Nephrology, starting his own research project in July 2006. Dr. Bitzer resides in Pelham, New York.