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Personal profile

Research interests

Specific Projects include:

Application for patients with Alport syndrome and polycystic kidney disease (PKD) Generation of stem cells from patients with kidney disease

We have published the first international report of the generation of stem cells, termed iPS cells, from human kidney cells (J Am Soc Nephrol 2011). We are interested in the application of iPS cells for patients with genetic kidney disease, in particular Alport Syndrome and PKD, and the ability of iPS to generate kidney cells. The use of pluripotent stem cells to generate replacement kidney cells may offer an unprecedented opportunity to generate human cells that represent kidney disorders and divide long-term, thereby enabling disease investigation, drug development and disease-modifying assays and hold an extraordinary potential for new drug discovery and personalized medicine. This is where the study of iPS cells could provide information about an individual patient to select or optimize that patient's preventative and therapeutic care and enable us to understand kidney disorders in a way we've never been able to before.

Stem cell therapy and reducing scarring and injury in chronic kidney disease

This research is focused on the development of strategies to promote of kidney 'self-repair' and the blood-derived immune cells that are important in this process. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have initiated considerable excitement in their role to promote acute kidney repair and tissue remodelling through the paracrine secretion of mitogenic and angiogenic factors. Following delivery to mice with acute kidney disease, MSCs preferentially home to the kidney and may promote downstream tissue repair via their ability to alter macrophage phenotype and function. However, the efficacy of MSCs is less apparent in a setting of chronic disease where fibrotic scarring is prevalent. Ongoing research projects are investigating the potential of kidney regeneration following MSC therapy that may be due to MSC-derived factors that alter macrophage phenotype, resulting in downstream tissue remodelling and accelerated wound healing.

A novel therapy for babies with kidney defects

There is growing evidence that genes important in kidney development are also vital in regeneration of the kidney and may "switch on" during kidney repair following injury. We are developing a protein called colony stimulating factor 1 (CSF-1) for clinical trials that can promote kidney growth and maturation. This exciting new finding allows for the development of innovative applications of CSF-1 therapy for the treatment of unborn babies with kidney defects for which there is currently no cure.

Community service

Education/Academic qualification

Pathology/Cell Biology, BSc(Honours), University of Melbourne

Award Date: 30 Nov 1998

Medicine, PhD, University of Melbourne

Award Date: 25 May 1994

Research area keywords

  • Kidney Disease
  • Stem Cells
  • Regenerative Medicine

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