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Whitney Besse, MD

Assistant Professor of Medicine (Nephrology)

Contact Information

Whitney Besse, MD

Mailing Address

  • Yale School of Medicine

    Dept. of Internal Medicine, Section of Nephrology, PO Box 208029

    New Haven, CT 06520

    United States



Dr. Besse received her bachelors degree in Biomedical Engineering from Brown University in 2003, pre-doctoral training in genetics at the Joslin Diabetes Center at the Harvard Medical School, her M.D. from the University of Connecticut School of Medicine in 2009, and clinical training in Internal Medicine/Nephrology at Yale. Dr. Besse joined Yale School of Medicine faculty in the Department of Internal Medicine, Section of Nephrology in 2019. Her research training in Nephrology has been under the mentorship of Dr. Stefan Somlo, C.N.H Long Professor of Medicine (Nephrology) and Professor of Genetics.

Dr. Besse's field of research interest is genetic kidney diseases, with initial focus on polycystic kidney disease. She uses genetic approaches to identify novel disease genes for dominantly inherited polycystic kidney and liver diseases: a phenotypic spectrum from autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD) to isolated polycystic liver disease (PCLD), and both in vitro and animal models to further disease gene mechanism investigation. Her identification and investigation of multiple genes has contributed understanding to how the central PKD protein, Polycystin-1, matures through the endoplasmic reticulum. She has contributed approaches for gene validation to the field. Dr. Besse has an active research program recruiting patients with genetically unresolved polycystic kidney and/or liver disease or other inherited kidney diseases for projects involving gene/pathway discovery and variant analysis in genetic kidney diseases. The goal of her lab is to have the identification of novel disease genes serve as an entry point for molecular biology investigation that contributes to a better understanding of disease mechanism and the identification of successful targets for treatments.

Education & Training

  • Postdoctoral Research Fellow
    Yale School of Medicine (2018)
  • Clinical Fellow, Research Track
    Yale School of Medicine (2015)
  • Resident
    Yale School of Medicine (2012)
  • MD
    University of Connecticut School of Medicine (2009)
  • BS (Hon)
    Brown University, Biomedical Engineering (2003)


  • Case-based Discussion of Genetic Testing and Genetic Variant Interpretion
    New Haven, CT, United States 2024
    Yale Inherited Kidney Disease Conference

Honors & Recognition

AwardAwarding OrganizationDate
Young Physician-Scientist AwardAmerican Society for Clinical Investigation2022
Clinical Scientist Development AwardDoris Duke Charitable Foundation2021
Mentored Research AwardRobert E. Leet and Clara Guthrie Patterson Trust2019
Polycystic Kidney Disease Research AwardPolycystic Kidney Disease Foundation2018
Research Fellowship AwardPolycystic Kidney Disease Foundation2015
Internal Medicine Department AwardUniversity of Connecticut School of Medicine2009
Excellence in Medical EducationUniversity of Connecticut School of Medicine2009
US Sailing TeamUnited States Sailing2004
Student Excellence Award for Biomedical Engineering Class of 2003Brown Univeristy2003
All-American Sailing Team 2003Intercolleagiate Sailing Association2003

Departments & Organizations