Despite Dr. Moshe Levi’s 50-page CV documenting his achievements in the field of nephrology, his humility reduces the voluminous bundle into a few well-chosen, passionate paragraphs.
Levi, casually dressed and sporting a kippah, has a friendly, candid and accessible demeanor. He quickly translates technical medical jargon into plain English the moment he catches a confused look.
The head of nephrology research at the UCD Anschutz Medical Campus, Levi supervises a large team investigating the role of phosphorous metabolism, Type I and II diabetes and aging in kidney disease.
“I spend 30% of my time with patients and 70% doing research,” says the 63-year-old, who gravitated toward nephrology while working on a collaborative project modeling kidney function in college.
When he entered Albert Einstein College of Medicine in 1974, he already was fluent in nephrology. “I could relate to the subject,” he says. Now that diabetes affects millions of Americans, including an accelerating number of children, it was a prescient choice.
Diabetes, which can lead to renal complications, dialysis and death, is often misconstrued, Levi says. While obesity is a major contributor to diabetes’ epidemic spike, he cautions that the disease evades a simplistic “A equals B” formula.
“We are dealing with a variety of factors that we don’t understand at this point,” he explains. “It’s like a New York subway map. You can’t just hit one of the stops. There are many stops along the way you have to hit.”
Aware that finding a cure is the great societal hope, Levi says he’ll be happy “if we find more effective, non-invasive treatments that will not harm or adversely affect the patient.
“We are making progress in diabetes-related nephrology through blood pressure and lipid control. But that’s not a cure. If we can make a dent, that’s fine. Kidney disease is not something you want.”