David Askenazi, M.D., MsPH

Dr. Askenazi is the Medical Director of the Pediatric and Infant Center for Acute Nephrology (PICAN). The center’s research is focused on improving the knowledge, testing interventions and developing innovations that improve the outcomes of hospitalized neonates and children. He is also the founder and Board Chair for the Neonatal Kidney Collaborative (NKC), a collaborative that brings neonatologists and nephrologists together to improve the field of neonatal nephrology. Work from the inaugural NKC study has improved our understanding of the epidemiology of neonatal acute kidney injury (AKI).

Dr. Askenazi's publications


Erica C. Bjornstad, M.D., Ph.D., MPH

Dr. Bjornstad has built her career around improving the care of children worldwide suffering from kidney disease, particularly acute kidney injury (AKI) in low-resourced settings. Recently, she conducted one of the first prospective epidemiological studies into acute kidney injury in children suffering from trauma in Africa. Even though trauma is the leading killer of children and young adults worldwide, little is known about the risk factors for subsequent kidney injury which is known to significantly increase mortality. In addition, she is evaluating novel methods at diagnosing kidney injury at the bedside to improve earlier recognition and management. Her other research interests include: health services research surrounding pediatric disparities, disparities associated with kidney-related diseases and management complexities in sub-Saharan Africa and other low resourced settings, including post-conflict zones and disaster settings.

  • Bjornstad E.C., Marshall S.W., Mottl A.K., Gibson K., Golightly Y.M., Charles A., Gower E.W. Racial and health insurance disparities in pediatric acute kidney injury in the United States. Ped Nephrol. 2020 Jan

  • Munthali Khomba M., Munthali C.K., Mulenga C., Bjornstad E.C. Where there is no peritoneal dialysis fluid: a case series from Malawi. Peritoneal Dialysis International. July-Aug 2019; 39:392-3. PMID: 31296780. PMCID: PMC6738337.

  • Bjornstad E.C., Joyner B.L. Jr, McNeal-Trice K., McEntee J., Mongella S., Schroeder K., Smart L., Stafford R., Westmoreland K. North Carolina Children’s Global Health Handbook: a pediatrician’s guide to integrating IMCI guidelines in sub-Saharan Africa. Published by: UNC Department of Pediatrics/UNC Press. March 2018. ISBN: 978-1-4696-4306-9.

  • Chapin E., Zhan M., Hsu V.D., Seliger S.L., Walker L.D., Fink J.C. Adverse safety events in chronic kidney disease: the frequency of “multiple hits”. Clin J Am Soc Neph. 2010 Jan;5(1):95-101.

  • Chapin E., Daniels A., Elias R., Aspilcueta D., Doocy S. Impact of the 2007 Ica earthquake on health facilities and health service provision in southern Peru. Prehospital and Disaster Medicine. 2009 Jul-Aug;24(4):326-32. PMID: 19806557.


Sahar Fathallah-Shaykh, M.D.

Dr. Fathallah is interested in chronic kidney disease and dialysis in children. She is currently the Medical Director of the dialysis unit at Children's of Alabama. She is the center principal investigator for the Chronic Kidney Disease in Children (CKiD) study, the largest NIH-funded North American multi-center study of pediatric chronic kidney disease. She is involved in multi-center pharmaceutical trials on the pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamics of medications used in patients on dialysis or with chronic kidney disease.

  • Fathallah-Shaykh S, Flynn J, Pierce C, Abraham A, Blydt-Hansen T, Massengill S, Moxey-Mims M, Warady B, Furth S, Wong C. Progression of Pediatric CKD of Nonglomerular Origin in the CKiD Cohort. Clin J Am Soc Nephrol. 10(4):571-7, 2015.

  • Fathallah-Shaykh S. Proteinuria and Progression of Pediatric Chronic Kidney Disease: Lessons from Recent Clinical Studies. Pediatr Nephrol May 2017

  • Fathallah-Shaykh S, Drozdz D, Flynn J, Jenkins R, Wesseling-Perry K, Swartz S, Wong C, Accomando B, Cox GF, Warady B. Efficacy and safety of sevelamer carbonate in hyperphosphatemic pediatric patients with chronic kidney disease. Pediatr Nephrol Feb 2018

  • Schaefer B, Bartosova M, Macher-Goeppinger S, Sallay P, Vörös P, Ranchin B, Vondrak, Ariceta G, Zaloszyc A, Bayazit A, Querfeld U, Cerkauskiene R, Testa S, Taylan C, VandeWalle J, Yap Y, Krmar R, Büscher R, Mühlig A, Drozdz D, Caliskan S, Lasitschka F, Fathallah-Shaykh S, Verrina E, Klaus G, Arbeiter K, Bhayadia R, Melk A, Romero P, Warady B, Schaefer F, Ujszaszi A, Schmitt C. Neutral pH and low glucose degradation product dialysis fluids induce major early alterations of the peritoneal membrane in children on peritoneal dialysis.​  Kidney Int Aug 94(2):419-429 2018  

  • Onder AM, Flynn JT, Billings AA, Deng F, DeFreitas M, Katsoufis C, Grinsell MM, Patterson LT, Jetton J, Fathallah-Shaykh S, Ranch D, Aviles D, Copelovitch L, Ellis E, Chanda V, Elmaghrabi A, Lin JJ, Butani L, Haddad M, Couloures OM, Brakeman P, Quigley R, Stella Shin H, Garro R, Liu H, Rahimikollu J, Raina R, Langman CB, Wood EG, Midwest Pediatric Nephrology Consortium. Predictors of patency for arteriovenous fistulae and grafts in pediatric hemodialysis patients. Pediatr Nephrol  Sept 2018

  • Onder AM, Flynn JT, Billings AA, Deng F, DeFreitas M, Katsoufis C, Grinsell MM, Patterson L, Jetton J, Fathallah-Shaykh S, Ranch D, Aviles D, Copelovitch L, Ellis E, Chadha V, Elmaghrabi A, Lin JJ, Butani L, Haddad M, Marsenic O, Brakeman P, Quigley R, Shin HS, Garro R, Liu H, Rahimikollu J, Raina R, Langman CB, Wood E; Midwest Pediatric Nephrology Consortium. Predictors of time to first cannulation for arteriovenous fistula in pediatric hemodialysis patients: Midwest Pediatric Nephrology Consortium Study. Pediatr Nephrol  Nov 2019.



Daniel Feig, M.D., Ph.D., M.S.

Dr. Feig’s research interest is in understanding the early physiology of essential hypertension and the impact of renal disease on cardiovascular disease risk. He directs laboratory, clinical physiology and clinical trial studies directed at elucidating the early steps from high normal blood pressure to overt hypertension with the goal of developing strategies for the primary prevention of essential hypertension.

One of Dr. Feig’s long-standing interests is in the role of elevated uric acid in inducing hypertension through damage to the afferent arteriole of the kidney, renal parenchymal inflammation and endothelial dysfunction. These three pathways are central to the initiation and maintenance of hypertension. Animal model data indicate that elevated uric acid causes increased blood pressure through a reversible vasoconstrictive mechanism but over time leads to renovascular alterations that cause irreversible salt-sensitive hypertension and progression of chronic kidney disease. Children with early-onset essential hypertension appear to follow a similar pattern and preliminary results suggest medications that lower uric acid ameliorates this process. Recent projects suggest that children and adolescents are at unique risk compared to adults and that windows of opportunity for effective intervention are limited to the young. 

Dr. Feig is actively involved in projects designed to improve therapy for hypertension in children. Recent studies have also focused on the prevention of progression for both hypertension and chronic kidney disease in the general population as well as renal transplant patients and children with sickle cell disease.

  • Trachtman H, Frymoyer A, Lewandowski A, Greenbaum LA, Feig DI, Gipson DS, Warady BA, Goebel JW, Schwartz GJ, Lewis K, Anand R, Patel UD. Pharmacokinetic, pharmacodynamics and safety of lisinopirl in pediatric kidney transplant patients: implications for starting dose selection. Clin Pharmacol Ther 2015; 98(1):25-33. PMID 25807932

  • DeCosmo S, Viazzi F, Pacilli A, Giorda C, Ceriello A, Gentile S, Russo G, Rossi MC, Nicolucci A, Guida P, Feig D, Johnson RJ, Pontremoli R. Serum uric acid and risk of CKD in type 2 diabetes. Clin J Am Soc Nephrol. 2015; 10(11): 1921-9. PMID 26342044

  • Harzell K, Avis K, Lozano D, Feig D. Obstructive sleep apnea and periodic limb movement disorder in a population of children with hypertension and or nocturnal nondipping blood pressures. J Am Soc Hypertens. 2016; 10(2): 101-7. PMID 26725017

  • Lebensberger JD, Palabindela P, Howard TH, Feig DI, Aban I, Askenazi DJ. Prevalence of acute kidney injury during pediatric admissions for acute chest syndrome. Pediatr Nephrol. 2016; 31(8): 1363-8. PMID 27011218.

  • Mrug S, Mrug M, Morris AM, Reynolds N, Patel A, Hill DC, Feig DI. Uric acid excretion predicts increased blood pressure among American adolescents of African descent. Am J Med Sci. 2017; 352(4): 336-341. PMID 28317621

  • Lebensburger JD, Cutter GF, Howard TH, Muntner P and Feig DI. Evaluating risk factors for chronic kidney disease in pediatric patients with sickle cell anemia. Pediatr Nephrol. 2017;. PMID 28382567.

  • Gunawardhana L, McLean L, Punzi HA, Hunt B, Palmer RN, Whelton A and Feig DI. Effect of febuxostat on ambulatory blood pressure in subjects with hyperuricemia and hypertension: a phase 2 randomized placebo-controlled study. J Am Heart Assoc. 2017; 6(11) e006683. PMID:29102979

  • Sato Y, Feig DI, Stack AG, Kang DH, Lanaspa MA, Ejaz AA, Sánchez-Lozada LG, Kuwabara M, Borghi C, Johnson RJ. The case for uric acid-lowering treatment in patients with hyperuricaemia and CKD. Nat Rev Nephrol. 2019 Jul 11. doi: 10.1038/s41581-019-0174-z. PMID 31296965

  • Kaspar C, Beach I, Newlin J, Sisler I, Feig DI, Smith W. Hyperuricemia is associated with a lower glomerular filatration rate in pediatric sickle cell disease patients. Pediatr Neprology. 2020. [Epub ahead of print].


Michael E. Seifert, M.D., MSCI

Dr. Seifert is a pediatric transplant nephrologist and translational investigator. His primary research interest is developing novel diagnostic, prognostic, and theranostic biomarkers that target mechanisms of endothelial injury to prolong kidney transplant survival. He directs patient-oriented translational studies that seek to improve our understanding of the mechanisms leading to kidney transplant diseases by analyzing human biospecimens linked to key subclinical and clinical endpoints. To support this endeavor, Dr. Seifert founded the UAB Kidney Transplant Research Biorepository (KTRB), a growing biorepository of annotated biospecimens linked to robust clinical and outcomes data from hundreds of pediatric and adult kidney transplant recipients.     

Dr. Seifert’s translational research program has a broad scope, with studies focused on endothelial injury within, and external to, the kidney transplant. He directs studies related to intrarenal endothelial injury that drives inflammation, injury, rejection, and fibrosis of kidney transplants, as well as extrarenal endothelial injury that leads to cardio-renal disease, the leading cause of death with a functioning kidney transplant. His projects are funded by intramural, foundational and NIH extramural grants and are heavily focused on the early determinants of inferior kidney transplant outcomes, which provide targets for early interventions that prevent or mitigate endothelial injury or promote endothelial health and stability. He maintains several ongoing collaborations at a local and national level, including the Pediatric Nephrology Research Consortium (PNRC), the Improving Renal Outcomes Collaborative (IROC, Research Committee Co-Chair), and the recently formed BiomarkeR Initiative to promote Transplant Excellence in children (BRITE-c consortium, Co-director). 

  • Seifert ME, Ashoor IF, Chiang ML, Chishti AS, Dietzen DJ, Gipson DS, Janjua HS, Selewski DT, Hruska KA. Fibroblast Growth Factor-23 and Chronic Allograft Injury in Pediatric Renal Transplant Recipients: a Midwest Pediatric Nephrology Consortium Study. Pediatr Transplant. 2016; 20(3): 378-87. PMCID: PMC4818682. RCR: 0.23, NIH percentile: 11.7.

  • Seifert ME, Gunasekaran M, Horwedel TA, Daloul R, Storch GA, Mohanakumar T, Brennan DC. Polyomavirus Reactivation and Immune Responses to Kidney-Specific Self-Antigens in Transplantation. J Amer Soc Neph 2017; Apr;18(4): 1314-1325. PMID: 27821629. PMCID PMC5373442. RCR: 4.20, NIH percentile: 91.4.

  • Seifert ME, Yanik MV, Feig DI, Hauptfeld-Dolejsek V, Mroczek-Musulman EC, Kelly DR, Rosenblum F, Mannon RB. Subclinical inflammation phenotypes and long-term outcomes after pediatric kidney transplantation. Amer J Transplant. 2018 Sep; 18(9):2189-2199. PMCID: PMC6436389. PMID: 29766640. RCR: N/A, NIH percentile: N/A.

  • Seifert ME, Gaut JP, Guo B, Jain S, Malone AF, Geraghty F, Della Manna D, Yang ES, Yi N, Brennan DC, Mannon RB. WNT pathway signaling is associated with microvascular injury and predicts kidney transplant failure. Amer J Transplant. 2019 Mar; [ePub ahead of print]. PMID: 30916889. PMCID: In Process. RCR: N/A, NIH percentile: N/A.

  • Seifert ME, Dahale DS, Kamel M, Winterberg PD, et al. Standardizing Appropriate Blood Pressure Measurement: The Improving Renal Outcomes Collaborative. Pediatrics. 2020 In Press.


Tennille N. Webb, M.D.

Dr. Webb is interested in acute kidney injury (AKI) in the critical care population. Specifically, she is interested in early detection of AKI in the cardiovascular intensive care unit (CVICU). Her current goal is to provide standardization of care for neonates undergoing cardiac surgery by utilizing patient-specific characteristics and biomarkers to provide early detection of AKI. This will allow early intervention such as renal replacement therapy to mitigate some of the known severe consequences of AKI. She has also studied utilizing the furosemide stress test to predict AKI after cardiac surgery.

  • Webb TN, Goldstein SL. Congenital heart surgery and acute kidney injury. CurrOpin Anaesthesiol. 2017 Feb;30(1):105-112.

  • Penk J, Gist KM, Wald EL, Kitzmiller L, Webb TN, Li Y, Cooper DS, Goldstein SL, Basu RK. Furosemide response predicts acute kidney injury in children after cardiac surgery. J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2019 Jan; doi: 10.1016/j.jtcvs.2018.12.076.

  • Webb TN, Basu R, Askenazi D. 2019. “Diagnosis and Management of Acute Kidney Injury in Critical Illness.” In: Mastropietro CW, Valentine KM, Pediatric Critical Care: Current Controversies. Switzerland AG: Springer Nature. pp.177-192.