$1M Gift Establishes Endowed Chair in Nephrology at UC College of Medicine

Visionary gift honors pioneer in kidney hypertension research, treatment

Dr. ThackerA $1 million anonymous gift has helped to create the Robert G. Luke, MD Endowed Chair in Nephrology at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine's Division of Nephrology and Hypertension. The chair recognizes the work of Robert Luke, MD, a pioneer in kidney and hypertension research, treatment and medical ethics and chair of UC’s Department of Internal Medicine from 1988 until 2004. At its February 23, 2021 meeting, the UC Board of Trustees approved Charuhas V. Thakar, MD, professor of medicine and director of the division, to hold the Robert G. Luke, MD Endowed Chair in Nephrology, which also was supported through matching gifts by the college and alumni donors.

"We are incredibly grateful for this gift and what it means for the future of patient care, research and education" said Andrew T. Filak Jr., MD, senior vice president for health affairs and Christian R. Holmes Professor and Dean of the College of Medicine. "Having the first endowed chair within the Division of Nephrology and Hypertension be named for Dr. Luke is a fitting tribute to his long-term leadership and pivotal work as well as to the ongoing advances in the division."

Luke graduated from the University of Glasgow Medical School and trained in internal medicine and nephrology. He then completed a research fellowship at Yale University before returning to his alma mater to serve on its faculty. Prior to becoming chair of UC’s Department of Internal Medicine, Luke served as director of the Nephrology Division at the University of Kentucky Medical Center and as director of the Research and Training Center at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

In 2018, he received the prestigious Daniel Drake Medal, the College of Medicine’s highest honor, which recognizes outstanding or unique contributions to medical education, scholarship or research.

"The Robert G. Luke endowed chair in the division of nephrology and hypertension not only recognizes the accomplishments of Dr. Luke’s many decades of research, education and clinical care but also allows the college, department and division to retain and recruit renowned leaders of our tripartite mission for generations to come, said Gregory Rouan, MD, Gordon and Helen Hughes Taylor Professor of Medicine and chair of the UC Department of Internal Medicine.

"Dr. Charuhas Thakar is an exemplar of a clinician-researcher and educator. He has already demonstrated these abilities by growing the division in an unparalleled fashion based on his leadership attributes and values."

Thakar was recruited to UC as an assistant professor in 2004, during Luke's tenure as the department chair, and appointed as the division director in 2014. He is nationally recognized in his discipline for his creativity' innovation as well as clinical and educational excellence.

"I am honored by the position and deeply appreciative of the donors who support our mission and vision" said Thakar. "As the Robert G. Luke, MD Endowed Chair in Nephrology, I am committed to living up to the namesake’s legacy and to grow a nationally recognized research program and nurture the next generations clinicians and scientists in nephrology."

Under his leadership, the Kidney CARE Program has grown to include 25 full or part-time physicians and basic scientists and nine advanced practitioners who operate across four clinical campuses and a network of dialysis units.

The program's mission is to deliver patient-centered care in chronic kidney disease, dialysis and transplant, and related disorders; advance knowledge by conducting cross-disciplinary research; and train the next generation of leaders in clinical, research and education disciplines.

This gift supports student success, a priority of Next, Now: The Campaign for Cincinnati, the comprehensive fundraising campaign for UC and UC Health.