In recent years, there have been numerous advances in understanding the molecular determinants of functional kidney injury after ischemic and/or toxic exposure. However, translation of successful novel therapies designed to attenuate kidney functional injury from animal models to the clinical sphere has had modest results. This lack of translatability is at least in part due to lack of sufficient standardization in definitions and classification of cases of acute kidney injury (AKI), an incomplete understanding of the natural history of human AKI, and a limited understanding of how kidney injury interacts with other organ system failure in the context of systemic metabolic abnormalities. A concerted effort is now being made by nephrologists and intensivists to arrive at standardized terminology and classification of AKI. There have also been dramatic advances in our understanding of the epidemiology and natural history of AKI, particularly in the hospital and intensive care unit setting. Promising strategies are now being developed which may ultimately lead to improved outcomes for patients at risk for or who have developed AKI, which should be readily testable in the coming decade.