Arnold Silva, M.D., Ph.D.
As a principal investigator for the Boise Kidney & Hypertension Institute, Dr. Arnold Silva brings more than 30 years of clinical research and patient care experience to F1RST Up®.
Dr. Silva is the director of the Home Hemodialysis and Peritoneal Dialysis programs at Boise Kidney & Hypertension Institute. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in biology from California State University in Fresno, Calif., and his Ph.D. from the University of Arizona in Tucson, Arizona. Dr. Silva received his M.D. from the University of Arizona, followed by residency training in internal medicine and a nephrology fellowship at the University of Arizona affiliated hospitals.
Twice awarded for excellence in teaching at the University of Arizona, Dr. Silva served as a clinical assistant professor of medicine and also taught in many areas of biology, biochemistry and physiology for California State University and the University of California. He has been very active as an independent investigator in the basic sciences and clinical research throughout his career. Dr. Silva acts as an advisor, national leader and regional mentor on many studies, is a regular high enroller and supports the F1RST Up program with his experience and expertise in the field.
Jill Meyer, M.D., FACP, FASN
Fluent in English and Spanish, Dr. Jill Meyer easily communicates with a diverse population of patients and research subjects in the San Diego area. Experienced in a wide range of conditions, Dr. Meyer brings her skill to renal research areas including kidney failure, kidney infection, polycystic kidney disease and renal artery stenosis.
In addition to her nephrology experience, Dr. Meyer provides F1RST Up® with language versatility to form stronger patient connections that often can otherwise be hindered by language barriers.
In practice as a nephrology specialist for more than 16 years, Dr. Meyer is associated with health care institutions in the area including Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center, Sharp Coronado and Scripps Chula Vista. She earned her medical degree from the American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine in Coral Gables, Fla., in 1996.
Christina Kahn, CCRC
As a study startup accelerator, experienced change agent and proactive workflow optimizer, Christina Kahn manages the network of operations for Frenova’s F1RST Up® alliance of sites.
As senior director site alliance manager, Kahn oversees all trial activities occurring at research sites staffed by Frenova throughout the life of the trial. This includes oversight of research site protocol adherence, data quality, patient safety, site payment, regulatory obligations to the FDA and IRB, drug accountability and site performance. She is a central resource for research personnel, investigators and sponsors.
Prior to joining Frenova, Kahn was the senior manager for clinical research operations for the Sarah Cannon Research Institute and a quality assurance manager for the MediSphere Medical Research Center. An author of numerous publications, she is a certified clinical research professional and an affiliate member of the American Society of Nephrology. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in biology with highest honors from Purdue University.
Shalali Cassim, MS
Experienced in all phases of site management, Shalali Cassim began her career as a project manager and over several years was promoted through a succession of positions, including enrollment manager, operations manager and senior manager of physician relations.
As Frenova’s senior director of site services, she oversees the F1RST Up® program, site support staff and leads operational efforts to ensure orderly administration of clinical trials. Cassim earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and global studies from the University of Minnesota as well as a master’s degree in clinical research organization management from Drexel University College of Medicine.
Dylan Steer, M.D.
Dr. Dylan Steer has an enduring interest in the care of patients with chronic kidney disease, including end stage kidney disease and kidney transplantation. He serves as president and CEO of Balboa Nephrology Medical Group in San Diego, where he leads a group of 45 nephrologists who are focused on consistently delivering superior care to every patient with kidney disease.
Dr. Steer has conducted a number of clinical trials in ESRD. His interest is in bringing novel therapies and new technologies to improve the care and quality of life for patients with kidney disease.
He earned his medical degree at Duke University and completed a residency in internal medicine at Duke University Hospital. He went on to complete a fellowship in nephrology and hypertension at the University of California at San Diego. He is affiliated with several hospitals in the region, including Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla and Sharp Memorial Hospital in San Diego.
Melanie Haydel, B.S., R.N.
As a clinical research coordinator, Melanie Haydel is dedicated to protecting the safety of the patients involved in renal studies and is responsible for coordinating important aspects of clinical research such as subject recruitment, patient care, adverse event reporting, and preparing and submitting case report forms.
Haydel studied nursing research and clinical nursing in a pre-nursing program at Louisiana State University, where she went on to earn her R.N. She earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of Southern Mississippi. Before joining Southwest Mississippi Nephrology, she was an ICU nurse at Ochsner Medical Center and at Methodist Hospital, both in New Orleans.
Angela Marie Riley, M.D.
Treating kidney patients and performing research for more than 16 years, Dr. Angela Riley is a well-respected nephrologist in the Columbus, Miss. area. She is a constant scholar and has co-authored an article which appeared in the American Journal of Medical Science titled Favorable outcome after Aggressive Treatment of Infection in a Diabetic Patient with MRSA-Related IgA nephropathy. Dr. Riley’s passion for volunteering has led her to provide health screenings and education for various community organizations.
Dr. Riley earned her M.D. from the University of Tennessee College of Medicine in Memphis, which is where she also completed her internship and residency as well as a fellowship in nephrology. She is board certified in internal medicine and nephrology by the American Board of Internal Medicine. She has also been certified in CMS Meaningful Use Stage 1.
In addition to her affiliation with Nephrology Associates, Dr. Riley is affiliated with several leading hospitals, including Baptist Memorial Hospital, Golden Triangle, Greenwood Leflore Hospital, OCH Regional Medical Center and the University of Mississippi Medical Center Grenada.
Thomas Wooldridge, M.D.
With more than 45 years of experience in internal medicine and nephrology, Dr. Tom Wooldridge has been a witness to many significant advancements in the study and treatment of chronic kidney disease, end stage renal disease and other renal disorders.
Respected by his colleagues for both clinical research and clinical care, Dr. Woolridge is board certified in internal medicine and nephrology. He practices in Tupelo, Miss., and is affiliated with several hospitals in the area, including the North Mississippi Medical Center and North Mississippi State Hospital, in addition to his association with Nephrology and Hypertension Associates.
A graduate of the University of Mississippi School of Medicine, Dr. Wooldridge completed his internship and residency at the University of Mississippi Medical Center.
Manuel Montero, M.D.
As a principal investigator, Dr. Manuel Montero leads research teams in clinical trials studying the effects of medications and treatments on patients with a variety of kidney disorders. A veteran nephrologist with nearly 30 years in the field, he is a clinical physician in New Bern, N.C. Board certified in both internal medicine and nephrology, Dr. Montero specializes in disorders of the kidney, including chronic kidney disease and end stage renal failure, as well as in many other diseases associated with kidney failure.
A 1988 graduate of Universidad Central del Este Facultad de Medicina in the Dominican Republic, Dr. Montero did his residency at Episcopal Hospital in Philadelphia and completed a fellowship at Drexel University, Hahnemann University Hospital, in Philadelphia. He earned Meaningful Use Stage: 1 certification in 2011.
Dr. Montero has co-authored multiple study reports published in the JAMA Network, the American Heart Association and in dermatology and infectious disease journals, and has also contributed his insight to Frenova’s Investigator Site of the Future article.
Nelson Kopyt, D.O., CCRI
Nelson Kopyt, D.O., is research director at Northeast Clinical Research Center and focuses on research related to kidney disease, hypertension and care of dialysis patients. He is also medical director of the South Bethlehem dialysis unit in Pennsylvania and a certified principal investigator with more than 30 years’ experience.
Named one of the nation’s top doctors by U.S. News and World Reports in 2012, Dr. Kopyt is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians and is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine in nephrology and internal medicine, and in clinical hypertension by the American Society of Hypertension.
Dr. Kopyt graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. He completed his internal medicine residency and two-year fellowship in nephrology at Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia.
Marializa V. Bernardo, M.D.
As a Principal Investigator for Southwest Houston Research, Ltd., Dr. Marializa V. Bernardo directs and participates in numerous kidney-related clinical trials. She is also a practicing partner of a nephrology practice, medical director of dialysis units and a vascular access center.
Dr. Bernardo earned her Doctor of Medicine from the University of Santo Tomas, Manila, Philippines. She completed her internal medicine residency at University of South Carolina School of Medicine as well as fellowship in Nephrology at Baylor College of Medicine. She is board certified in Nephrology as a subspecialty and interventional nephrology. She is a member of several nephrology professional organizations.
Diogo Belo, M.D.
A practicing nephrologist for more than 40 years, Dr. Diogo Belo is an experienced researcher with a diverse patient population in and around San Diego. His command of English, Spanish and Portuguese helps facilitate communications with patients involved in research studies.
Board certified in both internal medicine and nephrology, Dr. Belo is the Principal Investigator for the California Institute of Renal Research, with seven locations servicing the greater San Diego area. He is also affiliated with Paradise Valley Hospital, Scripps Mercy Hospital, Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center, Sharp Coronado Hospital & Healthcare Center and Sharp Memorial Hospital.
A 1975 graduate of Universidad Federal De Pernambuco in Recife, Brazil, Dr. Belo completed his internship and residency at Griffin Hospital in Derby, Conn., and a fellowship in nephrology at the University of Connecticut Health Center, John Dempsey Hospital.
Donovan Polack, M.D.
A graduate of the Weill Cornell Medical College at Cornell University, Dr. Donovan Polack has had a career in internal medicine and nephrology research and in the treatment of kidney disease and related conditions.
Practicing in the St. Louis region, Dr. Polack is affiliated with Alton Memorial Hospital, Christian Hospital, Missouri Baptist Medical Center and De Paul Hospital among other institutions. In addition, Dr. Polack’s primary practice recently joined with Fresenius Kidney Care to form St. Louis Kidney Care.
Dr. Polack completed his residency in internal medicine at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta and a fellowship at Wilford Hall Medical Center, a U.S. Air Force medical treatment facility located on the grounds of San Antonio’s Lackland Air Force Base. He is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine in internal medicine and nephrology.
Joanne Stevens, CCRC
As the senior manager of research site operations, Joanne Stevens is responsible for oversight of all research studies being conducted with Frenova, a clinical drug and device research partner dedicated to kidney disease and its comorbid conditions.
Stevens plays a crucial role for F1RST Up®, impacting multiple areas of the program by facilitating site research, keeping budgets on track and providing valuable organization throughout the complete process.
Stevens is experienced in the conduct of clinical trials and skilled in areas including electronic data capture, interaction with institutional review boards, metadata and vital signs. An experienced research veteran, Stevens was certified as a clinical research coordinator four years before assuming her current position in 2016. She is a graduate of Carrington College in Boise, Idaho.
Ramin Berenji, M.D.
As an inventor, educator and scholar, Dr. Ramin Berenji is constantly looking to advance medical technologies while keeping his patients in mind. With an education at the world’s top medical institutions and more than 29 years of experience, Dr. Berenji is highly regarded for his expertise in nephrology and clinical research. He is affiliated with El Centro Regional Medical Center and Pioneers Memorial Healthcare District in California.
Dr. Berenji earned his M.D. from the University of Hamburg School of Medicine in Hamburg, Germany, and completed his internship and residency at Good Samaritan Hospital, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. He also completed a nephrology fellowship at Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif.
Dr. Berenji is a fellow of both the American College of Physicians and the American Society of Nephrologists and has been recognized by both organizations for his continued professional development, scholarly activities and institutional and community-based teaching. He is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine in internal medicine and just renewed his board certification in nephrology. In 2017, Dr. Berenji filed a patent on an intravenous sensing system, demonstrating his dedication to advancing medical capabilities and improving processes within the field.
Roberto Manllo-Karim, M.D., Ph.D.
Bilingual in English and Spanish, Dr. Manllo-Karim serves the Nephrology needs of a diverse population in the Rio Grande Valley in South Texas. In practice for more than 25 years, he specializes in kidney diseases.
A graduate of Instituto Tecnologico de Monterrey School of Medicine in Monterrey, México, Dr. Manllo-Karim enrolled in graduate education and obtained his Ph.D. in Pharmacology from the University of Kansas in Kansas City. Dr. Manllo-Karim completed his residency in Internal Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and his Nephrology fellowship at the University of Kansas School of Medicine. He is certified in both Internal Medicine and Nephrology by the American Board of Internal Medicine. He is affiliated with Doctors Hospital at Renaissance, Rio Grande Regional Hospital, McAllen Medical Center as well as all area hospitals.
A constant scholar with a passion for teaching, Dr. Manllo-Karim has co-authored numerous renal-related articles, has pioneered research on the pathophysiology of renal cystic disease, and has taught as faculty at multiple universities. He also implemented telemedicine into his practice’s clinical research program, improving access for patient participation and simplifying study documentation.
Mark Boiskin, M.D.
A native of South Africa, Dr. Mark Boiskin brings an international perspective to his work in nephrology and kidney research. His ability to speak Afrikaans as well as English offers an additional dynamic to the F1RST Up® team. Furthermore, his dedication to advancing renal research aids his practice as well as F1RST Up with well-prepared source documentation, secure record retention and successful enrollment.
Dr. Boiskin graduated from the University of Stellenbosch Medical School in Cape Town, South Africa, and then completed an internship at Tygerberg Hospital in Cape Province, South Africa, before accepting a two-year general practice position at Moose Jaw Clinic in Saskatchewan, Canada. Dr. Boiskin completed his residency in internal medicine at the University of Alberta, Canada, as well as a nephrology fellowship at the University of California in San Diego.
Certified in both internal medicine and nephrology by the American Board of Internal Medicine, Dr. Boiskin has served as Chairman of Pharmacy and Therapeutics and Chairman of Medicine at the Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla, and he is currently on the medical staff at the Scripps hospitals in both La Jolla and Encinitas. Dr. Boiskin is also active in educational outreach, having given presentations to patients on the latest treatments in nephrology and co-authoring a study on the nephrotoxicity of ACE-inhibitors.
Amarnath Kathresal, M.D.
A F1RST Up® contributor with more than 20 years of experience in studying and caring for patients with kidney disease, Dr. Amarnath Kathresal is a nephrologist affiliated with leading hospitals in the Durham, N.C., area, including Duke Regional Hospital and Granville Health System-Oxford.
Dr. Kathresal earned his medical degree from the Kempegowda Institute of Medical Science in Bangalore before completing an internship at Jersey City Medical Center in New Jersey and a residency at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock. He also completed a fellowship in nephrology at Louisiana State University and is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine in Nephrology.
He received Meaningful Use Stage: 1 certification from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
Dr. Kathresal has also dedicated his time to the advancement of science as he co-authored a paper, “A rare case of Candida arthritis in a hemodialysis patient,” published in the American Journal of Medical Science, and has given multiple poster presentations at the American Society of Hypertension Annual Scientific Meeting and Exposition.
Kendra Hendon, M.D.
Dr. Kendra Hendon, a nephrologist in Knoxville, Tenn. with more than 20 years of experience, brings a high level of dedication to F1RST Up®, exemplified by her passion for providing patients with access to clinical research and cutting-edge nephrology opportunities.
Dr. Hendon earned her medical degree from the Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis and completed her residency in internal medicine at the University of Virginia. She also completed a fellowship in nephrology at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn. She is certified in nephrology by the American Board of Internal Medicine and is affiliated with a leading area hospital, the Methodist Medical Center.
David Tietjen, M.D.
A veteran of both kidney care and military service, Dr. David Tietjen has more than 35 years of experience treating and studying kidney disease and its related disorders.
Dr. Tietjen graduated from Duke University and earned his medical degree at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore. He finished a fellowship in nephrology at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., and is board certified in internal medicine and nephrology by the American Board of Internal Medicine.
From their office in Huntsville, Dr. Tietjen and his six nephrologist partners provide care for patients with all types of renal diseases and dialysis needs located across the entirety of northern Alabama and south-central Tennessee. The opportunity to direct his practice’s work in a wide variety of clinical research areas serves as a reminder of how vitally important it is to push for treatment advances in renal medicine.
Ahmed Aqeel, M.D.
As one of the principal investigators for the Nephrology Center at Paragon Health, P.C., Dr. Aqeel brings 30 years of clinical experience and nephrology expertise to F1RST Up®. Serving patients throughout Southwest Michigan, Dr. Aqeel is also a clinical specialist in hypertension, treating renal hyperparathyroidism and hypertensive chronic kidney disease.
Dr. Ahmed Aqeel earned his medical degree at Allama Iqbal Medical College in Lahore, Pakistan. He completed his residency at the University of North Dakota and a nephrology fellowship at Wayne State University as well as earning a Masters in Public Health from the University of Wales in the United Kingdom.
Previously, Dr. Aqeel served as medical director of Fresenius Medical Care Sturgis (Michigan) and medical director of the FKC Kalamazoo Home Program.
Jayant Kumar, M.D.
A partner at Renal Medicine Associates (RMA) in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Dr. Jayant Kumar has been in practice for more than 25 years. In addition to seeing patients, he contributes to the mission of F1RST Up® through his research on new developments in nephrology.
Dr. Kumar recently co-authored articles in American Journal of Nephrology on a multicenter trial of nalbuphine ER tablets for uremic pruritus and a comparison of the safety and efficacy of an epoetin alfa proposed biosimilar with epoetin alfa in patients with ESRD. He has also published work on kidney disease as an independent risk factor for cardiovascular events.
He earned his medical degree at All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Delhi. Dr. Kumar completed his residency at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City and a nephrology fellowship at Stanford University. Dr. Kumar was Associate Professor of Medicine and Fellowship Director at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock before joining RMA. He runs the clinical research program at RMA with his manager Hema Shah and a dedicated group of research staff.
Dennis Ross, M.D.
In 2007, Dr. Dennis Ross founded the Kansas Nephrology Institute (KNRI), a research center associated with a large nephrology practice that manages patients at multiple dialysis centers and clinics throughout the state of Kansas. While most KNRI research focuses on chronic kidney disease and related disorders, the group wishes to study other disease states, as well as interventions for end stage renal disease.
Dr. Ross is a clinical professor at the University of Kansas School of Medicine. He earned his Doctor of Medicine degree at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and completed residency training at Wesley Medical Center in Wichita, Kan., and a nephrology fellowship at The Jewish Hospital of St. Louis.
In 2018, Dr. Ross received the University of Nebraska Medical Center Distinguished Alumni Award.
Marcus Britton, M.D.
Dr. Marcus Britton is an experienced investigator in a wide range of conditions. His research has covered anemia, secondary hyperparathyroidism, hypo- and hyper-phosphatemia, atrial fibrillation, wound healing in uremic calciphylaxis, catheter-related infections, fistulas and pruritis in hemodialysis and CKD patients.
Dr. Britton has been in practice as a nephrology specialist for more than 12 years. He earned his medical degree and did his residency at the University of Mississippi. He then completed a nephrology fellowship at the University of Texas Health Center in Houston.
Michael W. Roppolo, M.D.
Dr. Roppolo has over 30 years of experience as a nephrology clinical trial investigator at Renal Associates of Baton Rouge, LLC.
Dr. Roppolo earned his medical degree from Louisiana State University School of Medicine in Shreveport. He completed his internship and residency in internal medicine and fellowship in nephrology at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
Dr. Roppolo is board-certified in both internal medicine and nephrology. He is a member of the Louisiana State Medical Society, Renal Physicians Association and is a fellow of the American College of Physicians. His areas of interest are home therapies, fluid and electrolytes.
C. Peter Luscy, M.D.
Dr. Luscy has over 20 years of experience as a nephrology clinical trial investigator at Renal Associates of Baton Rouge, LLC.
Dr. Luscy earned his medical degree from Louisiana State University School of Medicine in New Orleans. He completed his internship and residency at LSU Medical Center in Baton Rouge, and his nephrology training at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
Dr. Luscy is board-certified in internal medicine and nephrology. He is a fellow of the American College of Physicians and a member of the American Society of Diagnostic and Interventional Nephrology and Renal Physicians Association. His areas of interest are research, dialysis access, home hemodialysis and teaching.
Damodar Kumbala, M.D.
Dr. Kumbala has been a clinical trial investigator for 10 years and with Renal Associates of Baton Rouge, LLC for three years.
Dr. Kumbala received his Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery from B.M. Patil Medical College in India and completed his internal medicine residency at Jewish Hospital of Cincinnati. He then pursued nephrology training at Tulane University in New Orleans where he served as the chief nephrology fellow during his training.
Dr. Kumbala is board-certified in internal medicine and nephrology. He is also certified in hemodialysis vascular access procedures by the American Society of Diagnostic and Interventional Nephrology. Dr. Kumbala is a member of the American Society of Nephrology and the American Society of Diagnostic and Interventional Nephrology. He has served as assistant professor of clinical medicine at Tulane University School of Medicine and senior lecturer at University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia. His areas of interest are vascular access and ICU nephrology.
Carlos Mercado, M.D.
Dr. Mercado received his medical degree from the Universidad Del Norte School of Medicine located in Colombia. In the United States, he completed his internal medicine residency from Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach, Fla. Dr. Mercado served his nephrology and hypertension fellowship at the University of Miami-Jackson Memorial in Miami. He is board certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine for internal medicine, clinical hypertension, and nephrology.
Carlos Leon-Forero, M.D.
Carlos Leon, M.D., completed his internal medicine residency at Rochester General Hospital/University of Rochester and Clinical and Interventional Nephrology at the Division of Nephrology of the Miller’s School of Medicine/ University of Miami. He has served as director of the Southern Utah Kidney and Hypertension Center Interventional Nephrology program in St. George, Utah, since March 2011.
Dr. Leon’s interests include comprehensive care of renal patients, applying state-of-the-art medicine to this patient population, and serving and maintaining the vascular accesses for patients in need.
Andy Patchett, D.O.
Andrew Patchett, D.O., was born in Salt Lake City and raised in Henderson, Nev. He completed his undergraduate bachelor’s degree in Zoology at Idaho State University in Pocatello, Idaho. Andy, with his wife and son, moved to Arizona where he attended medical school at Midwestern University – AZCOM in Glendale, Ariz., and is part of the National Osteopathic Medical Honor Society – Sigma Sigma Phi. He completed his internal medicine residency and nephrology fellowship at Oklahoma State University Medical Center in Tulsa, Okla., where he was voted Fellow of the Year in 2016.
Greg Larsen, N.P.
Greg Larsen, N.P., joined Southern Utah Kidney and Hypertension in 2010. He attended Dixie State University in St. George, Utah, and Southern Utah University in Cedar City, Utah, for his undergraduate studies, and received his master’s in nursing as a family nurse practitioner from the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. Greg is board certified in nephrology as a nurse practitioner through the Nephrology Nursing Certification Commission.
Samuel A. Kantor, M.D.
Dr. Kantor completed his postgraduate medical education at MCP/Hahnemann University in Philadelphia. He then completed a fellowship in nephrology at Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia, where he served as chief nephrology fellow.
Dr. Kantor served as an associate clinical professor of internal medicine at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Ala. He was voted top nephrologist by VEGAS INC magazine in 2015 and 2016.
In addition to practicing medicine, Dr. Kantor has an interest in clinical research and currently serves as a principal investigator in several Phase III clinical studies being conducted at Nevada Kidney Disease & Hypertension Centers.
Jeffrey Ryu, Ph.D.
After finishing medical school at the Medical College of Wisconsin, Dr. Ryu completed his internal medicine residency, where he was appointed to be the chief resident, and his subspecialty training in nephrology at the University of California Irvine Medical Center. He started his practice in California in 2001, then moved to Las Vegas, Nev., in 2005.
Dr. Ryu started with clinical research in 2009 as a principal investigator and participated in several Phase II-III trials, both CKD and ESRD.
Outside work, Dr. Ryu loves to travel with his family, and in his free time, enjoys playing golf.