James A. Schafer

James A. Schafer

Schafer is a Professor Emeritus in the Department of Cell, Developmental, and Integrative Biology (formerly the Department of Physiology and Biophysics) at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) and holds secondary appointments as a Professor Emeritus of Medicine and a Senior Scientist in the Nephrology Research and Training Center.

Schafer was born in 1941 in Buffalo, NY, where he received his education through high school. He attended the University of Michigan, receiving his BS in Biophysics in 1963 and his PhD in physiology in 1968. He received one year of postdoctoral training in the laboratory of Erich Heinz at the Gustav-Embden Center for Biochemistry in Frankfurt, Germany, followed by a year with Thomas E. Andreoli at Duke University. He moved to UAB with Andreoli in 1970, taking a position of Assistant Professor in the Departments of Physiology and Biophysics and Medicine where he has remained for over 40 years. Schafer was appointed to his present position in 1976.

As a member of the APS since he was a graduate student in 1967, Schafer has served on the Membership, Program Advisory, Publications, and Long Range Planning Committees, and was Editor of the American Journal of Physiology: Renal, Fluid and Electrolyte Physiology from 1983 to 1989. He has also served on the editorial boards of the AJP:Renal, Fluid, and Electrolyte Physiology (1980-83), Contemporary Nephrology (1980-85), the Journal of General Physiology (1981-present), and Kidney International (1990-95). Schafer has been active in the Renal Section of the APS, serving on the Steering Committee and as secretary, and in the Epithelial Transport Group, serving on the Steering Committee and as Chairman. Schafer was elected to a term on the APS Council from 1992 to 1995 and served as President 1996-1997. He also served on the board of FASEB (1995-99) and on its Public Affairs Executive Committee (1997-99).

Schafer has also been involved in the American Society of Nephrology (ASN), serving on its Publications, Research Advisory, and Program Committees. He was elected Secretary-Treasurer of the ASN in 1989 and served in that position and as a member of the ASN Council until 1992. He was a member of the National Kidney and Urological Diseases Program Evaluation Committee from 1985 to 1987 and was Chairman of the Research Committee of the National Kidney and Urological Diseases Advisory Committee from 1987 to 1990.

Schafer has been recognized for his research achievement in the area of renal epithelial transport and its regulation as the second recipient of the Robert F. Pitts Memorial Lectureship Award from the International Union of Physiological Sciences in 1983 and received the Homer W. Smith Award from the ASN and the New York Affiliate of the American Heart Association in 1993. He was also elected to honorary membership in the American Society of Clinical Investigation (1995; was a co-recipient, with Eberhard Schlatter of the University of Münster, of the Max-Planck Prize of the Max-Planck Society and the von Humboldt Foundation of Germany (1994); recipient of the Carl Gottschalk Award of the American Physiological Society (2001); the Berliner Award of the Renal Section of the APS (2004) and the Roy G. Daggs Award of the APS (2013). Among Schafer's other awards are an Established Investigator Award from the American Heart Association (1970-1975), a Wellcome Visiting Professorship at Dartmouth College, an award from the Mayor of the City of Birmingham, and the UAB President's Award. Especially important to him are the outstanding teacher awards he has received from seven medical school classes at UAB, and the recognition he received when newly-renovated laboratories of the UAB Nephrology Research and Teaching Center were named in his honor in 2006.

Research in Schafer's laboratory was funded by the NIH, the Max Planck-von Humboldt, the American Heart Association, the Alabama Kidney Foundation, and the National Kidney Foundation. His early work focused on the mechanisms of water transport in the collecting duct and the proximal tubule and their regulation and more recently on the regulation of ion and water transport in the collecting duct and the possible implications of altered regulation in salt-sensitive hypertension.