Robert Alpern, MD

  • Ensign Professor of Medicine (Nephrology)
  • Dean, Yale School of Medicine

Dr. Robert J. Alpern attended undergraduate school at Northwestern University, where he majored in Chemistry. He received his M.D. degree from the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine in 1976, and received residency training in Internal Medicine at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York. Following this, he performed a postdoctoral fellowship in Nephrology in the Cardiovascular Research Institute at the University of California, San Francisco. In 1982, Dr. Alpern joined the faculty at the University of California, San Francisco, and in 1987 he was recruited to the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center as Chief of the Division of Nephrology. At Southwestern Dr. Alpern held the Ruth W. and Milton P. Levy, Sr. Chair in Molecular Nephrology and the Atticus James Gill, M.D. Chair in Medical Science. In July 1998 Dr. Alpern was appointed Dean of Southwestern Medical School and in June 2004, he moved to the Yale University School of Medicine to become the Ensign Professor of Medicine and Dean of the medical school. Dr. Alpern’s research has focused on the regulation of kidney transport proteins. In addition Dr. Alpern has been highly committed to teaching and clinical medicine. In 2000 he was elected President of the American Society of Nephrology. He was elected to the American Society of Clinical Investigation, the Association of American Physicians and the Institute of Medicine and has served on the Advisory Council of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

Research interests
Acid-Base Equilibrium; Acidosis, Renal Tubular; Kidney; Nephrology; Renal Circulation; Urination; Membrane Transport Proteins; Physiological Processes; Renal Elimination
Research summary

Research on the regulation of kidney transport proteins has helped to define the mechanisms by which the kidney transports acid. Subsequently has focused on the mechanisms by which kidney cells sense excess acid and initiate a signaling cascade that alters the expression, cellular location, and function of many proteins in the cell, resulting in enhanced acid transport and urinary excretion.

Specialized Terms: Epithelial physiology; Membrane transport; Acid-base homeostasis

Education
  • MD, University of Chicago, 1976
  • BA, Northwestern University, 1972
Publications
  • Long, S, and RJ Alpern. Editorial: Science for Future Physicians. Science 324: 1241, 2009.
  • Laghmani, K., A. Sakamoto, M. Yanagisawa, P.A. Preisig, and R.J. Alpern. A consensus sequence in the endothelin B receptor second intracellular loop is required for NHE3 activation by endothelin-1. Am. J. Physio. 288:F732-F739, 2005.
  • Li, S, S Sato, X Yang, PA Preisig, RJ Alpern. Pyk2 is a pH sensor signaling acid activation of NHE3 in OKP cells. J Clin. Invest. 114:1782-1789,2004.
  • Peng Y, M Amemiya, X Yang, L Fan, OW Moe, H Yin, PA Preisig, M Yanagisawa, RJ Alpern. ETB receptor activation causes exocytic insertion of NHE3 in OKP cells. Am J Physiol: Renal Physiology 280: F34-F42, 2001.
  • Laghmani, K, PA Preisig, OW Moe, M Yanagisawa, RJ Alpern. Endothelin-1/endothelin-B receptor-mediated increases in NHE3 activity in chronic metabolic acidosis. J Clin Invest 107: 1563-1569, 2001.
  • Yang, X, M Amemiya, Y Peng, OW Moe, PA Preisig, RJ Alpern. Acid incubation causes exocytic insertion of NHE3 in OKP cells. Am J Physiol Cell Physiology 279: C410-C419, 2000.
  • Ambühl PA, X Yang, Y Peng, PA Preisig, OW Moe, RJ Alpern. Glucocorticoids enhance acid activation of NHE3. J Clin Invest 103:429-435,1999.
  • Peng Y, OW Moe, T-S Chu, PA Preisig, M Yanagisawa, RJ Alpern. ETB receptor activation leads to activation and phosphorylation of NHE3. Am J Physiol 276: (Cell Physiology 45): C938-C945,1999.
  • Amemiya M, K Tabei, E Kusano, Y Asano, RJ Alpern. Incubation of OKP cells in low K+ media increases NHE3 activity following an early decrease in intracellular pH. Am J Physiol, 276 (Cell Physiology 45): C711-C716,1999.
  • Ambühl PA, M Amemiya, PA Preisig, OW Moe, RJ Alpern. Chronic hyperosmolality increases NHE3 activity in OKP cells. J Clin Invest 101:170-177,1998.
  • Yamaji Y, H Tsuganezawa, OW Moe, RJ Alpern. Intracellular acidosis activates c-Src. Am J Physiol 272 (Cell Physiology 41):C886-C893,1997.
  • Chu T-S, Y Peng, A Cano, M Yanagisawa, RJ Alpern. ETB receptor activates NHE-3 by Ca2+-dependent pathway in OKP cells. J Clin Invest 97:1454-1462,1996.
  • Melnick JZ, PA Srere, NA Elshourbagy, OW Moe, PA Preisig, RJ Alpern. ATP citrate lyase mediates hypocitraturia of chronic metabolic acidosis in rats. J Clin Invest 98:2381-2387,1996.
Current projects
Dr. Alpern’s research has focused on the regulation of kidney transport proteins.
Honors
  • John P. Peters Award
  • Institute of Medicine
  • NIH Merit Award
  • Association of American Physicians
  • American Society of Clinical Investigation
  • Alpha Omega Alpha
  • Phi Beta Kappa
Services
  • American Society of Nephrology
    (2000 - 2001)