The UKRO Story

UKRO was founded because of one simple question.

How can so little be known about kidney disease—a problem that affects and kills so many?


After entertainment lawyer Ken Kleinberg’s kidneys failed, he and his physician, Dr. Vito Campese, founded UKRO to fund innovative research to eradicate kidney disease.

To boost innovative solutions for kidney disease, UKRO partnered with USC to establish the USC/UKRO Kidney Research Center (KRC) on USC’s Health Sciences Campus.

UKRO is committed to funding USC’s development of a revolutionary synthetic kidney, derived from stem cells, that will improve treatment of kidney disease and replace dialysis.

The beginning of a synthetic kidney created by USC researchers
The beginning of a synthetic kidney. Credit: Dr. Biao Huang/Li Lab at the USC/UKRO Kidney Research Center

A Stem Cell Revolution

Join our groundbreaking effort at the USC/UKRO Kidney Research Center. Scientists there are at the forefront of kidney research through a cutting-edge collaboration with the esteemed Eli and Edythe Broad Center for Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research, alongside other USC laboratories. Together, USC and UKRO are developing a synthetic kidney from stem cells to transform patients’ lives.

Andrew McMahon and Zhongwei Li
Dr. Andy McMahon and Dr. Zhongwei Li

Meet our visionary leaders, Dr. Andrew McMahon and Dr. Zhongwei Li. Their expertise in stem cells and kidney development drives us closer to our goal – a transplantable synthetic organ.