Gala for Kidney Research Center to Honor Stellar Group of USC Scientists

Accolades highlight world-class research university’s scientific innovation and impressive commitment to discovering treatments and cures for kidney disease

LOS ANGELES, CA, March 9, 2016—During its sixth gala dinner on Friday, March 18, 2016, University Kidney Research Organization (UKRO) will honor four vocal champions of kidney disease research whose work touches patients’ lives in diverse and meaningful ways.

  • University of Southern California (USC) Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, Michael Quick, Ph.D.
  • World-renowned biologist and director of the Eli and Edythe Broad Center for Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at the Keck School of Medicine of USC, Andrew P. McMahon, Ph.D.
  • Leaders of the prestigious USC Kidney Transplant program, Robert R. Selby, M.D., and Yasir A. Qazi, M.D.

This night of honor at The Beverly Hilton will raise funds for the newly opened USC/UKRO Kidney Research Center at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. Soprano Elisabetta Russo will sing classical and pop favorites and popular long-time ABC7 Eyewitness News anchor Phillip Palmer—himself a kidney donor—will return for his fourth straight appearance as the evening’s master of ceremonies.

The USC/UKRO Kidney Research Center is part of the Keck School of Medicine of USC and aims to be a premier center nationally, combining basic science and clinical research with ground-breaking collaborative studies designed to treat and cure kidney disease.

At the gala, UKRO will present its award for Extraordinary Achievement in Academic Leadership to USC Provost Michael Quick, a Ph.D. in neuroscience who also serves as Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Professor of Biological Sciences in the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. Provost Quick is USC’s second-ranking officer—under President Max Nikias—as well as the chief academic officer of the university. He oversees the Keck School of Medicine of USC and 17 other professional schools, in addition to the divisions of student affairs, libraries, information technology services, research, student religious life, and enrollment services. An inspiring and decisive leader, Provost Quick plays a vital role in building the university’s general academic reputation as well as its stature as a research powerhouse.

Andrew P. McMahon, Ph.D., a superstar in stem cell science and exceptional mentor to the next generation of gifted scientists, will receive UKRO’s award for Extraordinary Achievement in Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research. As the director of the Eli and Edythe Broad Center for Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at USC, McMahon and his team explore new ways to repair and regenerate the kidney. McMahon, who also serves as W.M. Keck Provost Professor and Chair of Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine, encourages colleagues across USC to follow his lead in discovering new regenerative therapies for a broad array of diseases. In his role as leader of the USC Stem Cell initiative, he brings together more than 100 faculty members from all disciplines.

Two remarkable and truly deserving physicians will each receive UKRO’s Extraordinary Achievement in Kidney Transplantation Award in recognition of their leadership roles in the Kidney Transplant Program at the Keck School of Medicine at USC. Both of these tireless transplant experts touch and transform patients’ lives every day. Robert R. Selby, M.D., is Professor of Surgery at the Keck School and Chief of the Division of Hepatobiliary and Pancreatic Surgery and Abdominal Organ Transplantation. He started the liver and kidney-pancreas transplant programs at USC University Hospital in 1995 and has seen them thrive over the last two decades. Dr. Selby participates in many clinical trials, publishes widely, and manages large cohorts of outpatients with primary and metastatic malignancy. Yasir A. Qazi, M.D., is Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine and Medical Director of the Kidney-Pancreas Transplant Program at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. Dr. Qazi has received nearly $2 million in research grants and authored numerous peer-reviewed articles and abstracts for medical journals.

For event and ticket information concerning the UKRO gala, please contact Mann Productions at 323-314-7000 or Mann@MannProductions.net.

About the Kidney Transplant Program at the USC Transplant Institute

The Kidney Transplant Program at the USC Transplant Institute is part of the multi-organ transplant program at Keck Medicine of USC in Los Angeles. The transplant program is considered a Center of Excellence for Aetna, Anthem Blue Cross, Cigna Life Source, Humana, Interlink, Optum and Medicare, which ranks it in the top 10 percent of all transplant centers nationwide in quality.

Keck Medical Center of USC in Los Angeles is one of the few medical centers in the country to offer “bloodless” transplant surgery, involving several procedures that forego the need for transfusions during surgery.

The program is part of a multi-center, multidisciplinary system at Keck Medical Center— including Keck Hospital of USC and USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center—and the LAC+USC Medical Center. As part of an academic medical center, the transplant program is able to combine the latest research, advances in patient treatments, and education to provide the best possible patient care.

More than 700 kidney transplants have been performed at Keck Medical Center of USC in Los Angeles and LAC+USC Medical Center in the last seven years. The Kidney Transplant Program at Keck Medicine of USC performed 123 kidney transplants in 2014 and 116 in 2013. The program’s one-year survival rates are among the highest in the Los Angeles area: for kidney transplant recipients, 98.55 percent. The three-year survival rate for kidney transplant recipients is 95.2 percent. The rate of successful transplants after one year is 97.5% and 89.5% after three years.

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