£2.5m for kidney disease research

By Jo Makosinski | Published: 31-Jan-2023

Landmark funding announcement supports researchers across the UK to further understanding of kidney disease and transform treatments for patients

The UK’s largest kidney research charity, Kidney Research UK, has announced a major funding package of £2.5m to support new research projects that could change the lives of patients across the UK.  

A total of 14 projects are being awarded funding, including research into the genetic factors that influence the progression of chronic kidney disease; development of human kidney lab models for disease progression monitoring and drug screening; as well as a project to improve dialysis lines for children so that infections are reduced.

The money is a notable increase on the amount usually awarded by the charity in its grants rounds, which typically total around £1.5m, and comes as result of collaboration with organisations like Kidney Wales and Kidney Research Yorkshire, alongside donations from the Thompson Family Trust.

The scale of funding highlights the charity’s commitment to expanding the knowledge base of kidney disease as well as looking to transform treatments for all patients.

Elaine Davies, director of research operations at Kidney Research UK. said: “Research into kidney disease is a really-exciting space, but one where, clinically, not enough has changed for the patient in many years.

“We are delighted to be in a position to award such a vast sum of money to some really-promising projects that we believe will help to shape the future of kidney research.

“Despite the ongoing challenge of the cost-of-living crisis, we remain fully committed to funding life-changing research that can be translated into real-world benefits for kidney patients.”      

The funding was awarded to academic institutions across the UK including Oxford, Cambridge, Manchester, Edinburgh, and Cardiff universities and Imperial College London.

We are delighted to be in a position to award such a vast sum of money to some really-promising projects that we believe will help to shape the future of kidney research

The individual research projects were carefully selected from a number of applications to ensure all of the research serves to drive forward the organisation’s commitment to end kidney disease.

Dr Andrew Lewington, Kidney Research UK grants committee chairman, said: “Every year, we receive a many strong research applications that have real potential to shift the direction of research and transform patient care.

“This year, the proposals were particularly strong and of a very-high quality.

“All 14 projects that were funded will help us drive forward our long-term goals to prevent, detect, and treat kidney disease.

“The full funding amount of £2.5m is an exceptional amount of money and will go a long way to help accelerate the charity’s ambition to one day eradicate this life changing disease.”

Ross Evans, managing director of Kidney Wales, added: “We are so excited to be partnering with Kidney Research UK to fund and award two, three-year-long PHD studentships in Wales.

“This is something of a new approach for Kidney Wales, but it is a partnership that we hope will enable us to fund more research and accelerate discoveries, which will benefit our Kidney community here in Wales.”

The projects will run continuously over the next three years.


The awards


  • Dr Killian Donovan, University of Oxford (£252,000): Genetic influences on the progression of chronic kidney disease
  • Dr Katie Mylonas, University of Edinburgh (£316,000) Targeting senescent cells in kidney disease, heart disease and diabetes
  • Dr Abigail Lay, University of Manchester (£253,000): Defining the causal, mechanistic role of altered DNA methylation in diabetic kidney disease
  • Dr Barbara Tanos, Imperial College London (£336,000): Investigating the role of cilia in the regulation of cellular metabolism in polycystic kidney disease


PhD Studentships:

  • Dr Stephen McAdoo, Imperial College London (£87,000): Peptide immunotherapy for immune-mediated kidney disease
  • Professor Kourosh Saeb-Parsy, University of Cambridge (£94,000): Human renal tubular organoids for polycystic kidney disease modelling and drug screening
  • Dr Claudio Capelli, University College London (£81,000): Innovating central venous lines to improve haemodialysis in children: a multidisciplinary, data-driven approach to understand current problems, design and test novel solutions
  • Dr Soma Meran, Cardiff University (£75,000): Investigating novel mechanisms that drive cardiovascular disease in kidney patients: the relationship between systemic inflammation, alterations in Hyaluronan matrix and vascular calcification in arteries.
  • Professor Ian Humphreys, Cardiff University (£75,000): Investigating nutritional amino acid regulation of antiviral immunity in kidney transplant patients


Research projects:

  • Dr Donald Ward, University of Manchester (£245,000): Calcium-sensing receptor as the phosphate sensor in secondary hyperparathyroidism
  • Professor Andrew MacDonald, University of Leeds (£233,000): Why is CFTR required for the multiplication of BK polyomavirus in kidney cells?
  • Professor Colin A Johnson, University of Leeds (£246,000): Developing splice-switching oligonucleotides as therapeutics for CEP290-related renal ciliopathies in organoid models
  • Professor Steven Sacks, Kings College London (£190,000): A novel approach to protecting transplanted kidneys



  • Dr Jessica Kepple, University of Oxford (£39,000): Investigating the role of TMEM260 in renal development and disease


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