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Non-profit organization committed to improvement and dissemination of knowledge regarding the pathology and pathophysiology of renal disease

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

Dear RPS members,

The RPS would like to continue our focus on embracing diversity, equity and inclusion and on broadening our international network.  One way to achieve this goal is to celebrate a semi-monthly calendar of observances and appreciations with 10-question interviews highlighting our diverse pool of members.   As May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month (Asian Pacific American Heritage Month 2023 (, our May interview is with Dr. Kuang-Yu Jen.  Dr. Jen is the current RPS treasurer and Professor and Director of Renal Pathology at the University of California, Davis.  

Please find the interview below: 

1. What is your name, where were you born, where do you work?

My name is Kuang-Yu Jen.  I was born in Taipei, Taiwan.  I first came to the United States when I was 4 years old and permanently immigrated to the U.S when I was 7 years old.  I am currently the Director of Renal Pathology at UC Davis in Sacramento, CA.

2. What is your number one topic of interest in nephropathology?
It changes with the years but currently I am very interested in developing and exploring computation renal pathology (I hate the term "AI").  I am a strong believer that if developed and implemented with thought and care, this type of technology can significantly improve our workflow and field in general.
3. What do you like most about your job?

I like interacting with nephrologists and transplant surgeons as well as other renal pathologists (especially through RPS activities)!  Believe it or not, I look forward to calling nephrologists to relay preliminary diagnoses because I also get to chat with them about what is going on with their non-work life.

4. What is the most challenging aspect of your job?

Currently, it is being on clinical service full time (essentially every day) because I am the only renal pathologist at UC Davis right now.  I joke that my role as Renal Pathology Director is directing myself.  Hoping to get some help soon!

5. What did you want to become when you were a child?

I wanted to be a "scientist" for whatever that meant at the time.  This interest led me to basic science research and medicine.  That's why I ended up going into an MD/PhD program.

6. What would be your wish for the future - in general or in relation to your work?

In terms of my work, I hope that some of our computation pathology research will be successfully integrated into daily pathology practice in the future.  In general, I wish the world will somehow go back to moderate times where reason and science prevails. The trend of extremism in politics will be self-destructive and end poorly for all.  Much of it was even more evident to scientists and medical professionals during COVID.  The distrust of science and manipulation of data to achieve political ideology/agenda.  I wish we can all go back to reason science.

7. Any special interests apart from Nephropathology? 

In pathology/medicine/science, I like anything to do with explaining mechanism of disease or differences in disease expression phenotype.  I have way too many hobbies including hiking, camping, biking, photography, gardening, growing vegetables, sports in general (watching and playing), video games, and financial planning/investing (yes, I like doing my taxes).

8. How do you think Renal Pathology will look like in 10 years’ time? 

Now looking back, 10 years is a very short time and realistically I do not think much will change.  Some institutions are already transitioning to digital pathology, so I believe this will be more widespread.  I hope with the transition to digital pathology, we will have some well-developed integrated tools that can perform routine tedious tasks on whole slide images or even proven diagnostic or prognostic morphometric markers that can be automatically derived from computational pathology in order to enhance the pathology report for certain disease/subspecialties.  Probably being too optimistic, but virtual staining may actually become reality in daily practice?

9. Who would you consider to be your mentor in renal pathology or pathology in general?

For renal pathology, Drs. Zoltan Laszik and Jean Olson are my most influential mentors, having trained under them and having joined their practice at UCSF as a junior attending.  Dr. Linda Ferrell at UCSF was also a very special mentor that gave me great career and life advice.  My accomplishments as a pathologist are a direct result of their invaluable mentoring.

10. What is your favorite non-work-related activity or way to spend your time?

I enjoy going into the middle of nowhere and pretending I am a landscape photographer.  However, that's not as appealing for my family (wife and two boys) so a good alternative is going on family trips to wherever we have time for.  At home, I am an avid vegetable grower (have to take advantage of the California Central Valley growing conditions).

Bonus Question:  Have you experienced any challenges or is there anything you would like the RPS to know about navigating the field of academic medicine (or non-work-related life) as an Asian American?  Are there specific experiences that you would like to share? 

As much as they will not admit it, I do believe it was very tough for my parents as immigrants.  Even though they were both well-educated in Taiwan and my dad even received an MBA here in the U.S., I remember they still worked in Chinese restaurants for many years because they could not find stable employment back in the early 1980's.  But they saved everything they could, which allowed us to gradually move to better neighborhoods so that my sister and I could go to better school districts.  For high school, my parents bought a house right at the edge of a good school district because that was what they could afford in order for us to go to that high school.  I owe all my success to my parents.

About RPS

The RPS promotes excellence in diagnosis, fosters basic, clinical and translational research, encourages training and education in renal disease, sponsors US based and international conferences and symposia, and brings news and updates pertaining to renal pathology to its members around the world.

Mailing address:

1440 W. Taylor St. # 734, Chicago, IL USA, Fax: (312) 281-0029


Office of the Secretary

Virginie Royal, MD

Office of the Treasurer

Kuang-Yu Jen, MD, PhD

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