Young Scientist's Awards
The Renal Association award for the Young Renal Scientist was established in 2005 to highlight the work of best basic scientists working in kidney research in the UK. No matter what your field, if its kidney related you can apply. You need to under 35, have less than 5 years postdoctoral experience and not be qualified to practice medicine in the UK. Applications are strongly encouraged from PhD students and technical staff.All abstracts submitted for the prize will be reviewed by a special panel of 6 senior UK renal scientists and the top 6 selected for 10 minute oral presentation in the Scientists Forum at the Annual Conference. Two internationally recognised judges will select the winner on the day. Having your abstract put forward for the young scientist award does not exclude it from the standard review process and it will still be considered for both free communications and poster presentation irrespective.This is a very prestigious award and the most strongly contested of any Renal Association award. In 2007 there where in excess of 60 applicants. It was introduced so that our top young basic scientists had a mark of recognition from their peers which could be used to strengthen applications for fellowships at all levels.
2006 - Elina Prodromidi
2007 - Dia Chavele
2008 - Maria Fragiadaki
2009 - Shuang Feng
2010 - Robert Jenkins
Renal Scientist's Working Party
The working party has been established to give a stronger voice to scientist members of the Renal Association. It currently comprises 8 scientists and one clinician. You will find their profiles below and at the bottom of the page some links to pictures.
John Reynolds PhD
Scientist Representative on Renal Association National Executive
Chairman, Renal Scientist Working Party
Committee member, Renal Association Conference Programme committee
Dr John Reynolds is currently a Non-Clinical Senior Scientist in the Renal Section within the Faculty of Medicine at the Hammersmith Campus of Imperial College London. After obtaining a BSc (Hons) in Biology from the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, John did a PhD in the Renal Unit within the Department of Medicine at the Royal Postgraduate Medical School at Hammersmith Hospital, supervised by Professor Charles Pusey. After the completion of his PhD, John has been involved in several postdoctoral collaborative studies, including a laboratory placement in Professor Tim Aitman's Lab at the MRC Clinical Sciences Centre, Imperial College London, and as a visiting scientist in Professor Raghu Kalluri's Lab at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston. As a result Johns' research has focused on the investigation of the immunopathogenesis and assessment of antibody-based therapeutic approaches in animal models of autoimmune glomerulonephritis. John strongly believes that the continuity of good non-clinical scientists working in renal research is essential, if we plan to be more successful in implementing the translation of laboratory based research to clinical application in the future.
Tim Johnson BSc PhD
Committee member, Renal Association Research Committee
After completing my PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in1993 at Nottingham Trent University, I took a post doctoral position with Professor Meguid El Nahas at the Sheffield Kidney Institute (Sheffield University). After working for 3 years on the effects of various growth factor and cytokines and how these could be manipulated to alter expression of extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins I became interested in the mechanisms responsible for maintaining ECM homeostasis and how these systems are altered in renal scarring. I have a particular interest in how the protein crosslinking enzyme tissue transglutaminase is regulated and secreted from the cell in renal disease and how this effects both ECM deposition and its clearance by Matrix Metalloproteinases. In 2000 I was awarded a National Kidney Research Fund Senior Fellowship to develop this line of research and look at ways of inhibiting Transglutaminase activity in renal disease. This work has been expanded with project grants from Diabetes UK, The Wellcome Trust, The National Kidney Research Fund and the Sheffield Kidney Research Foundation with further commercial sponsorship. I currently run a team of 5 scientists and medics that make up the Extracellular Matrix Processing Research Group in the Academic Nephrology Unit/Sheffield Kidney Institute at The University of Sheffield.
Personally I would like to see the Renal Scientist taking more of a leading role in directing kidney based research in the UK, developing their own careers in the process. Currently most teams are driven and directed by clinicians, and as good as our renal academic nephrologists are, I believe dedicated Scientists have far more to offer than they do currently. To do this the renal scientist needs to be given a forum in which to present their work as well as develop ideas and collaborations with fellow scientists in the field. This will ultimately lead to more renal scientists writing their own grants and developing research teams. A perfect forum for this is the Renal Association (RA), however currently few scientists are either members of the RA or present/attend at the annual conferences. One of the things I want to achieve is to ensure that the RA becomes much more inviting place for basic scientists, and modify the annual conference so that’s it’s more suited to basic science; I hope you have seen the seeds of this in the Brighton conference with parallel basic science sessions, professional development sessions aimed a scientists, the Scientists Forum with “Young Renal Scientist of the year award”, the scarring and fibrosis symposia and top scientists from around the world. A big step in achieving this been the establishment of the renal scientist working party. This provides the structure for making changes within the RA to make the organisation more focused towards the needs of the scientists, encourage them to join and providing annual meetings which both encourage the scientist to attend and present their work
Julie Williams PhD
Committee member, Renal Association Research Committee
My post-doctoral career has spanned 13 years, 9 of which have been in the field of Nephrology. Currently I am the Translational Scientist and Laboratory Manager of the Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Facility (WTCRF) at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham. The WTCRF has been developed to promote clinical research by providing dedicated patient care, equipment and laboratory resources. Additionally I am Honorary Senior Research Fellow in the Renal Immunobiology Group at University of Birmingham Medical School, headed by Prof Caroline Savage. Our specialist area is in Small Vessel Vasculitis associated with the production of antineutrophil cytoplasm antibodies (ANCA). My work focuses on the intracellular signals initiated by ANCA when it binds neutrophils and uses standard biochemical techniques as well as more advanced methods such as SELDI. My other research includes the generation of chimeric antibodies and mechanisms of endothelial damage.
I am one of your Renal Scientist representatives on the Renal Association Research Sub-committee. As part of this a working party was initiated to gain a broad view of scientist’s needs and to feed into the sub-committee. I believe this has given us a fantastic opportunity to make our voice heard in a constructive manner. We now need to raise our profile firstly within the Renal community and then more widely. One of our greatest strengths is our provision of training and support for clinical researchers. We need to emphasise that we are crucial to all forms of renal research in order to make our own positions more secure. The retention of our skills within the field is vital for strengthening renal research and promoting its profile at a national and international level. If you have any thoughts on these issues please feel free to contact me.
‘I would like to increase awareness of the significance of renal scientists within the research community.’
Angela Summers PhD
I have worked as a Renal Scientist in Manchester Royal Infirmary several years. My doctorate was investigating immune mediated mechanisms of fibrosis and vascular damage in the pathogenesis of IgA nephropathy. Recently I have been interested in complications of peritoneal dialysis, in particular ultrafiltration failure, peritonitis and Encapsulating Sclerosing Peritonitis (EPS). My research has focussed on genetic factors which may predispose patients to the development of these clinical problems. I am currently involved in several research projects (both locally and internationally) in the field of peritoneal dialysis and am expanding my research to address complications of haemodialysis.
Having worked in a large multidisciplinary nephrology department I feel there is an increasing role for the renal scientist to work with clinicians and nurses to support research projects which focus on clinical problems in renal patients, this needs to be supported by suitable training courses and funding opportunities. I also feel it is important to encourage scientists to present their work at national and international nephrology conferences.
Jill Norman PhD
Heather Wilson PhD
I have been involved in renal research at the University of Aberdeen for the last 17 years. My early postdoctoral years focussed on the pathophysiology of glomerulonephritis and its progression to end stage renal disease. I focussed specifically on the effects of selected mediators on controlling glomerular extracellular matrix turnover and how an increased deposition and/or decreased degeradation by serine proteases and metalloproteinases resulted in renal scarring. A joint grant with Professor Andy Rees focussed my research interests to the earlier inflammatory stage of nephritis and the factors controlling glomerular inflammation in experimental models. My current research is primarily directed towards understanding the signalling pathways that control macrophage activation, especially in rodent models of nephritis, and how these pathways can be manipulated to divert macrophage activation to exploit their reparative attributes and restore regulation to the inflammatory response.
I have very recently joined the Renal Scientists Working Party as the Scottish representative. I feel a strong aim of our group is to strengthen the voice of renal scientists and help them gain recognition for their contributions to research as they bridge the gap with clinicians to support advances in translational medicine. I have been particularly impressed with how the committee has already significantly raised the profile of renal scientists in Britain and encouraged and facilitated their attendance to Renal Association meetings; they will continue to make changes within the RA to meet the needs and interests of scientists. By providing a network of renal scientists and an opportunity to get together, we can promote collaborations, as well as the exchange of ideas and state-of-the-art techniques / advances in the field of renal research. This is essential if we are to enhance the careers of renal scientists and help achieve recognition of their own independent research groups.
Ceri Feilding (PhD)
I have recently joined the Renal Scientist’s Working Party, as representative for Wales taking over from Professor Nicholas Topley. I graduated from Warwick University with a BSc (Int) in Virology, which included an intercalated year in the Novartis Research Institute ( Vienna, Austria). My subsequent research experience during my PhD and post-doctoral positions has been in the area of cytokine biology and inflammation at the University of Wales College of Medicine (UWCM) and Cardiff University. Since 2003, I have been working within the laboratories of Professor Nicholas Topley (Institute of Nephrology) and Dr. Simon Jones (Department of Medical Biochemistry and Immunology). Then in 2006, I was awarded a Kidney Research UK (KRUK) Career Development Fellowship to continue a project investigating the role of cytokine signalling in the development of peritoneal fibrosis, a frequent peritoneal dialysis (PD)-associated complication and major cause of PD treatment failure. As a relative newcomer to the area of Nephrology, I was struck by the quality of renal research within the UK, and also by the breadth of research interests. I think the cross over with other research disciplines is an asset to renal research, enabling the interaction of scientists from different background specialities, and thereby producing high-quality research. I hope the Renal Association will continue to encourage these interactions and to attract scientists to Nephrology from other specialities.
David Wheeler (MD, FRCP)
My current post is Reader in Nephrology at University College London and I hold an Honorary NHS Consultant contract with the Royal Free Hospital (Hampstead) NHS Trust. I graduated from Birmingham Medical School in 1980 and my subsequent training included four years of laboratory research as an MRC training fellow, firstly at the Royal Free Hospital and subsequently as an MRC travelling fellow at Boston University Medical Centre in the USA. I have also worked in Leicester, Cardiff and Birmingham. My main research interests include study of the role of dyslipidaemia in the progression of kidney damage, the cardiovascular complications of chronic kidney disease, and the impact of uraemia on the vascular system. Ongoing projects encompass both basic and clinical research and include involvement in several large clinical trials. I act as UK National Coordinator of the Study of Heart and Renal Protection (SHARP), a large clinical trial assessing the impact of lipid lowering therapy on renal and cardiovascular outcomes in patients with chronic kidney disease. I currently supervise a PhD student who is examining the role of asymmetric dimethyl arginine (ADMA) in the progression of kidney disease and associated vasculopathy.
Julie Williams edits this page. Contact her at J.M.WILLIAMS.MED@BHAM.AC.UK
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