Robert Toto, M.D.

Associate Dean, Translational Science

  • Mary M. Conroy Professorship in Kidney Disease
  • Distinguished Teaching Professor
  • Internal Medicine - Nephrology
  • Kidney Disease (Nephrology)
  • Chronic Kidney Disease


Robert Toto, M.D., is the Mary M. Conroy Professor of Kidney Disease in UT Southwestern’s Department of Internal Medicine. He specializes in kidney disease treatment and research.

Dr. Toto also is the Associate Dean of Clinical and Translational Research in the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences; the Director of the Center for Translational Medicine; and the Medical Director of UT Southwestern’s Multi-Specialty Clinic.

Dr. Toto earned his medical degree at the University of Illinois Medical School. He completed a residency in internal medicine at the University of Michigan and Baylor College of Medicine and then received advanced training in nephrology through fellowships at the U.S. Public Health Service Hospital and UT Southwestern Medical Center. He joined the UT Southwestern faculty in 1983.

Dr. Toto has been named a D Magazine Best Doctor for nephrology and hypertension every year since 2009 and has been named a Texas Monthly Super Doctor multiple times, including in 2018.

He is nationally and internationally known for clinical research and teaching. He has been awarded numerous teaching awards from medical students and residents at UT Southwestern and is a regular speaker at national and international nephrology meetings on a variety of topics in renal disease. He has served on program committees for the American Society of Nephrology, the International Congress of Nephrology, and the National Kidney Foundation and is actively involved with training and research policy development at the national level through the American Society of Nephrology and the National Institutes of Health.

Dr. Toto’s research interests include detection, prevention, and treatment of progressive kidney diseases, including diabetes and hypertension. He has an active laboratory and has been intimately involved in the design and conduct of phase I clinical trials as well as several major outcomes trials in patients with chronic kidney disease, including NIH- and non-federally funded trials (e.g., the AASK trial, the HEMO study, and TREAT). 

He has authored more than 100 original articles and textbook chapters related to diagnosis and management of hypertension and kidney diseases. His published work includes pathophysiology of hypertensive and diabetic renal diseases, dyslipidemia in chronic kidney disease, novel risk factors for diabetic nephropathy, anemia in patients with chronic kidney disease and dialysis-related morbidity and mortality, and other complications of kidney disease. In addition, he has served on the editorial boards of Kidney International, Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, American Journal of Kidney Disease and Nephrology, American Journal of Nephrology, Nephrology Dialysis and Transplantation, and Current Opinion in Nephrology and Hypertension

Meet Dr. Toto

Kidney Disease Specialist

Robert Toto, M.D., Medical Director of the Multi-Specialty Clinic at UT Southwestern Medical Center, brings more than three decades of research and clinical experience to bear on improving the health of his patients with chronic kidney disease.

“Our clinical group is able to offer the full spectrum of prevention, detection, and treatment of kidney disease,” says Dr. Toto, a D Magazine Best Doctor and Texas Monthly Super Doctor.

He sees patients at every stage of kidney disease, from first diagnosis through transplant and recovery. While chronic kidney disease is a progressive illness, Dr. Toto says today’s patients have a better quality of life and often a slower progression of the disease than ever before.

“The number of new cases of people who have progressed to end-stage kidney failure is leveling off compared to several years back,” he says. “That suggests we are making some impact in slowing the progression of kidney disease.”

Dr. Toto believes the reason for this shift has much to do with improved clinical practice standards, which are a direct result of effective translation of clinical research into practice.

“We’ve taken what we’ve learned from clinical trials and put it into clinical practice itself,” he says, “and that’s made a difference for patients.”

Dr. Toto has firsthand experience in this arena. In addition to his longtime clinical practice, he has been involved in clinical and translational research and mentoring of clinical researchers in kidney medicine for more than 25 years. As UT Southwestern’s Associate Dean for Clinical and Translational Research, a large part of Dr. Toto’s work includes educating clinicians and mentoring kidney medicine fellows, junior faculty, medical students, and residents interested in careers in nephrology clinical and translational research.

His own research focuses on therapeutic interventions to slow the progression of kidney damage due to diabetes, which along with hypertension is responsible for 75 percent of the cases of chronic kidney disease. He’s also involved with clinical trials of new medications for people living with kidney disease.

“I want to focus on research that is directly related to improving the health and the outcomes of my patients,” he says.

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Education & Training
  • Fellowship - UT Southwestern Medical Center (1982-1983), Nephrology
  • Fellowship - U.S. Public Health Service Hospital (1980-1981), Nephrology
  • Residency - Baylor College of Medicine (1979-1980), Medicine
  • Residency - University of Michigan Hospitals and Health Centers (1978-1979), Medicine
  • Internship - University of Michigan Hospitals and Health Centers (1977-1978), Medicine
  • Medical School - University of Illinois/Chicago Medical Center
Professional Associations & Affiliations
  • Renal Physicians Association
  • National Kidney Foundation
  • American Society of Nephrology
  • American Society of Hypertension
  • American Heart Association
Honors & Awards
  • D Magazine Best Doctor 2009-2022
  • Fellow, High Blood Pressure Council 1995, American Heart Association
  • Outstanding Teacher Award 1987, Housestaff of UT Southwestern
  • Alpha Omega Alpha 1977, Medical Honor Society
Books & Publications
  • Cardiovascular Morbidity and Mortality in Chronic Kidney Disease
  • Hypertension in Chronic Kidney Disease
  • Hemodialysis Techniques and Management
  • Diabetic Nephropathy Pathogenesis and Treatment

Clinical Focus

  • Kidney Disease (Nephrology)
  • Chronic Kidney Disease

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Q&A by Dr. Toto