In 1979, as a transplant immunology fellow in the surgery laboratory at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, I developed hematuria and renal colic. As an adoptee, I did not know my family history, but I soon learned I had a genetic renal disease, polycystic kidney disease.
Drs Richard L. Simmons and John Najarian had accepted me on the Minnesota transplant training grant and had sponsored my 2-year study of bone marrow cultures as a stem cell source for tolerance induction in transplantation. We had succeeded in keeping mouse bone marrow growing in vitro for up to a year and in fully reconstituting lethally irradiated mice. It was an exciting time in my life; there was tremendous clinical potential with what we were doing. Minnesota was a great place to combine research and learn about complex patient care. Trying to understand the effects of a life-limiting illness on my career was not part of my agenda.