David E. Leaf, MD, MMSc

Principal Investigator


Dr. Leaf grew up in Westchester, NY, and earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania, where he graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa. He trained at New York University (NYU) for medical school, where he graduated with honors; at New York Presbyterian Hospital-Columbia University Medical Center for Internship and Residency in Internal Medicine; and at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital for Fellowship in Nephrology. During his Fellowship, Dr. Leaf trained in Dr. Sushrut Waikar’s laboratory, and obtained a Masters (MMSc) degree in Clinical Investigation from Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Leaf conducts patient-oriented research in acute kidney injury (AKI) and critical illness. He uses epidemiologic, translational, genetic, and interventional approaches to address clinically important questions in patients with AKI. Current areas of investigation include dysregulated mineral and iron homeostasis/metabolism as novel pathways and potential therapeutic targets in AKI, as well as investigation of the nephrotoxicity of novel cancer therapies. He is the principal investigator of ACTIVATE-AKI: Activated Vitamin D for the Prevention and Treatment of Acute Kidney Injury. ACTIVATE-AKI is a phase II, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial testing whether administration of vitamin D metabolites will be beneficial in preventing or treating AKI in critically ill patients.

Dr. Leaf is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Director of Clinical and Translational Research in Acute Kidney Injury in the Division of Renal Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He received a Carl W. Gottschalk Research Scholar Grant from the American Society of Nephrology, and is the principal investigator on several NIH research grants, including two R01 awards. He serves on the Editorial Boards of Kidney International and Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, and is a voting member of the Institutional Review Board for Partners Healthcare. His publications have appeared in leading medical journals, including the New England Journal of Medicine, JAMA Internal Medicine, Nature MedicineJournal of Clinical Investigation, and Journal of the American Society of Nephrology. Dr. Leaf is passionate about academic nephrology, and has received research and teaching awards from NYU, Columbia, and Harvard. He enjoys spending time with his wife, Rebecca, and his two children, Emma and Teddy, as well as traveling, skiing, swimming, and playing chess.