University or Institution

University of Florida

University and Department:

University of Florida

College of Veterinary Medicine

Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences


Primary Mentor:

Autumn N Harris, DVM, DACVIM (SAIM)

Assistant Professor

Email: [email protected]


Mentor Team:

I. David Weiner, M.D.

C. Craig and Audrae Tisher Chair in Nephrology

Professor of Medicine and Physiology and Functional Genomics

Division of Nephrology, Hypertension, and Renal Transplantation

University of Florida College of Medicine


Andrew J Specht, DVM, DACVIM (SAIM)

Clinical Professor

Small Animal Internal Medicine Service Chief

College of Veterinary Medicine

Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences


Kirsten L Cooke, DVM, DACVIM (SAIM)

Clinical Associate Professor

College of Veterinary Medicine

Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences

Description of Potential Research Project(s):

CKD is commonly encountered in small animal practice and affects up to 20% of all dogs.  It is widely accepted that most dogs with stage II or greater CKD will progress to end-stage renal failure.  Early detection of CKD and potential therapeutic targets in the early stages of the disease remains extremely challenging.  Management of CKD in dogs has primarily been focused on supportive therapy, with very few new therapies available to treat CKD that have shown to improve outcomes.  Several clinical trials in humans indicate that correction of metabolic acidosis with alkali therapy slows CKD progression even in patients without metabolic acidosis, suggesting that acid-mediated kidney injury might occur even in the setting of normal total bicarbonate in patients with CKD (referred to as a subclinical metabolic acidosis).

Furthermore, recent studies in humans have shown that CKD patients with lower ammonia excretion have a significantly higher risk of developing end-stage renal disease, metabolic acidosis, or death when compared to CKD patients with higher ammonia excretion.  This suggests that quantification of urinary acid excretion, particularly ammonia, may be a valuable guide for identifying those with subclinical metabolic acidosis at increased risk of overt metabolic acidosis and poor outcomes and could benefit from oral alkali therapy.  The primary purpose of this study is to determine if urinary ammonia excretion correlates with renal function and is associated with the development of metabolic acidosis or long-term clinical outcomes in dogs with chronic kidney disease (CKD).


Veterinary specialists appropriate as fellows for your research opportunity:

  1. American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM) – Small Animal Internal Medicine
  2. American College of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care


Additional Training Opportunities:


Conferences (APS Summit, ASN Kidney week, ACVIM Forum,etc.) relevant to the specific research will be discussed with the trainee as possibilities to attend and present research during the training period.  The trainee is expected to attend 1-2 per year to present research, network with leaders in their field, and enable the development of a national reputation.


At UF, the trainee will be encouraged to attend and participate in the Mentoring Academy as well as the UF Clinical Translational Science Institute (CTSI) K-College Career Development Series, LRP Grant Writer’s Workshop, and Research Management Seminar Series, which provide training in grant preparation, and publication submission, lab management, and development of leadership qualities.  The mentoring team will work together to identify any other relevant workshop learning opportunities and connect the trainee to other faculty with shared research goals to facilitate the continued growth of the trainee’s network and further establish areas of expertise.

Additionally, the UF Office of Postdoctoral Affairs provides various resources to support professional development.  Examples include a university-wide post-doctoral seminar series to encourage cross-interdisciplinary networking and collaborations and provide public speaking feedback to trainees, a post-doctoral editors association, various career panel discussions, interview preparation workshops, building scientific communication strategies, etc..

Finally, the trainee will be encouraged to attend various clinical, didactic training opportunities, including medicine and ASVNU journal club, nephrology grand medical rounds (College of Medicine),  ASVNU pathology rounds, and medicine clinical case rounds.