Charles E. Alpers M.D.

Charles E. Alpers M.D.


  • English


  • Nephrology (Kidney Care)
  • Pathology


Dr. Alpers is the interim chair and Fausto-DeLancey Professor in the Department of Pathology, director of the University of Washington Medicine Renal Pathology Service and a UW professor of pathology and medicine. He is an expert in diagnostic and experimental renal pathology.

Dr. Alpers' clinical research has focused on growth factor molecules that control the expression of kidney diseases, on the kidney injury that occurs in patients with diabetes and on kidney injury that occurs in patients infected with Hepatitis C and human immunodeficiency viruses. His research lab utilizes model systems to identify mechanisms of diabetic renal injury and glomerulonephritis and to test therapies that can reverse these diseases.

Dr. Alpers earned his bachelor's degree from Yale University and his M.D. from the University of Rochester School Of Medicine (N.Y.) in 1978. Following medical school, he trained as an intern and resident in internal medicine at Boston University. He subsequently did a residency in anatomic and clinical pathology at the University of California, San Francisco, and a fellowship in diagnostic and experimental kidney pathology at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston. After completing his fellowship training, Dr. Alpers joined the faculty of the UW in 1986 to assume directorship of the Renal Pathology Service and the Electron Microscopy Laboratory of the UW Medical Center. The Renal Pathology Service is the largest in the Northwest, and is the leading referral center for renal biopsy diagnoses for patients from Alaska, Washington, Idaho and parts of Montana and Nevada.

For multiple years, Dr. Alpers has been listed as a “Best Doctor” by Seattle Metropolitan Magazine. Dr. Alpers is board certified in anatomic and clinical pathology. He is an elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and has served as president of the Renal Pathology Society. He has served as associate editor of the American Journal of Pathology and of the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology and served as pathology editor for the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology. He is the author of the chapters on kidney disease in the two most widely used textbooks of pathology used by medical students world-wide.

Patient Care Philosophy

As a pathologist with specialty expertise in the kidney, I serve patients by providing diagnoses of their diseases through interpretation of kidney biopsies. My personal philosophy, and that of my colleagues on the Renal (Kidney) Biopsy Service, is that I must ensure that comprehensive and state of the art approaches for understanding renal pathology are available to all the people in the Pacific Northwest that may have need of our expertise. Interpreting kidney biopsies is particularly rewarding to me as a physician because it allows me to understand the basis for each individual's disease, and this, in turn, allows me to serve as a consultant to the nephrologists, internists, pediatricians and surgeons caring for patients with kidney disease who have directed that biopsies obtained from their patients go to our Renal Biopsy Service at the University of Washington. My consultations with these clinicians allow me to participate in devising individualized treatment plans for each patient based on the biopsy findings. My clinical activities also allow me to have a substantial and enjoyable role in teaching other physicians, and sometimes patients, about specific kidney diseases in settings of patient care conferences and other educational forums. My studies of kidney disease also allow me to offer appropriate patients opportunities to participate in large national and international clinical trials in which the best therapies for specific kidney diseases can be tested and to offer selected patients specialized testing services, such as tests for inherited or rare kidney diseases, that will enable more personalized treatment or may enable a better understanding by the patient of his or her disease.

Clinical Interests

Clinical research in diabetic kidney disease, diagnosis of immunological and blood disorders that affect the kidney, development of new diagnostic tests for kidney diseases and diagnosis of disorders of transplanted kidneys.

Research Interests

Diabetic kidney disease and kidney disease occurring as a consequence of infection with hepatitis C and human immunodeficiency viruses.


Institution Credential Year
Univ. of Rochester SOM Medical education 1978
Boston University School of Medicine Internship
Boston University School of Medicine Residency
Univ. of Calif. San Francisco (Path) Residency
Brigham and Women's Hospital Fellowship
Degree Institution Year
MD Univ. of Rochester SOM 1978

Board Certifications

Certification Specialty Year
American Board of Pathology Anatomic Pathology 1984
American Board of Pathology Clinical Pathology 1985