Dr. Michelle Estrella named Chief of SFVA Nephrology

We are pleased to announce that Michelle Estrella, MD has accepted the position of Chief of the Division of Nephrology at the San Francisco VA Health Care System (SFVAHCS). Dr. Estrella is Associate Professor of Medicine at UCSF, Executive Director of the Kidney Health Research Collaborative, and a member of the SFVAHCS nephrology division. She has served as interim division chief since July 2019.

Michelle was born in the Philippines and immigrated to Nacogdoches, Texas at the age of eight. She received her undergraduate degree from Centenary College of Louisiana and her MD from the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston. She then moved from Texas to Johns Hopkins University, where she completed her internal medicine residency and nephrology fellowship and earned a master’s degree in clinical investigation at the Bloomberg School of Public Health. In 2006, Michelle joined the Johns Hopkins faculty, where she remained for a decade. In 2016, she was recruited by Dr. Michael Shlipak to UCSF and the SFVAHCS to join our faculty, based in the Kidney Health Research Collaborative and the VA’s nephrology division.

Michelle is an outstanding clinical investigator with a strong portfolio of published scholarship.  Her research has focused on identifying markers of kidney injury that will lead to earlier detection and disease management in HIV-infected and uninfected populations. She also studies the clinical implications of genetic risk factors for kidney disease, novel kidney diagnostic strategies for patients with acute heart failure, and quality of care for patients with chronic kidney disease. She has published 115 original articles and has been funded by various NIH agencies (National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease, National Institute of Aging, and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease), as well as the National Kidney Foundation, VA HSR&D, and the Department of Health and Human Services. She also has mentored numerous nephrology fellows and post-doctoral students, many of whom are now in faculty positions.

We are grateful to Dr. David Lovett, who retired as SFVA nephrology division chief in July 2020. David served as division chief for 24 years and a member of the UCSF faculty for 33 years. He enjoyed an extraordinary research career focused primarily on the role of matrix metalloproteinases in renal and cardiac disease. His mentorship of scores of nephrology trainees, research fellows, and junior faculty has influenced a generation of clinical investigators and clinical nephrologists worldwide. He also provided immense service to UCSF, most recently as Chair of the Senate Committee for Academic Personnel, and to his professional organizations.

We wish to thank the members of the search committee, chaired by Dr. Michael Steinman, Professor of Medicine and member of the UCSF Division of Geriatrics. Their unwavering commitment to this successful recruitment is deeply appreciated. 

Please join us in congratulating Dr. Michelle Estrella for her new role as division chief and in thanking Dr. David Lovett for his many years of devoted service. 


Kenneth R. McQuaid, MD
Chief of the Medical Service, SFVAHCS
Vice-Chair, UCSF Department of Medicine

Robert M. Wachter, MD
Chair, Department of Medicine