Research in Nephrology

The Kidney Research Centre (KRC) was established in 2000 and is devoted to basic, translational and clinical investigation directed at the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of kidney disease.

In 2006 KRC basic scientists moved into a new 15,000 sq ft laboratory facility within a new wing at Roger Guindon Hall, adjacent to the General Campus of The Ottawa Hospital (TOH).  This large infrastructure project was funded by a grant from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) and the Ontario Innovation Trust (OIT), with support from the University of Ottawa, OHRI, TOH Foundation, and the private sector.  There are currently five scientists conducting laboratory research at the KRC facility – 3 are clinician scientists (Drs. K. Burns, R. Touyz, and T. Fairhead), and 2 are PhD scientists (Dr. R.L. Hébert and Dr. C. Kennedy).  Dr. K. Burns is Director of KRC, and recipient of a Research Chair award from the Department of Medicine.

Basic research is focused in a number of areas, including the role of the renin-angiotensin system in kidney disease progression and hypertension (Drs. Burns and Touyz), mechanisms of kidney disease due to diabetes (Drs. Burns, Hébert, Kennedy, and Touyz), the effects of prostaglandins and their receptors on glomerular and tubular function (Drs. Hébert and Kennedy), and the role of the immune system in kidney disease, hypertension and kidney transplant function (Dr. Fairhead).  Dr. Touyz is an international leader in studies focused on the mechanisms of vascular disease and high blood pressure, and is the recipient of the Canada Research Chair (CRC) in Hypertension.  KRC scientists are supported by operating grants from the CIHR, Kidney Foundation of Canada, Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, and other peer review agencies.

The KRC supports research trainees at the undergraduate, graduate, and post-doctoral fellowship levels, and also has dedicated technical staff, including a veterinary expert for establishment of animal models of kidney disease (Mr. A. Carter), an expert in tissue imaging and histologic analyses (Dr. A. Gutsol) and a laboratory manager (Dr. G. Cherton-Horvat).  A major goal of the centre is to translate results from laboratory studies for application to human kidney disease. Accordingly, a number of research studies involve the use of human subjects or human tissues, obtained with informed consent and approval from TOH Research Ethics Board.

Clinical research is a priority of the KRC, and is based at the Riverside Campus of TOH.  KRC clinical research is facilitated by a dedicated group of research coordinators, clerical and administrative staff, and a clinical research manager, Ms. Judy Cheesman.  At any time the group is involved in 10-20 clinical research studies, consisting of a mix of peer reviewed, investigator-driven research trials, and industry-funded studies. Dr. G. Knoll is an expert in Clinical Epidemiology and is recipient of a prestigious University of Ottawa Clinical Research Chair award. He has received several grants from CIHR to support clinical trials directed at improving the outcomes associated with kidney transplantation. Clinical researchers in the Division also include Dr. D. Zimmerman (hemodialysis, mineral metabolism), Dr. A. Akbari (early detection of chronic kidney disease (CKD), and kidney disease in pregnancy), Dr. M. Ruzicka (hypertension in CKD and role of sympathetic nerve system), and Dr. S. Hiremath (vascular access, acute kidney injury).

For more information visit the Kidney Research Centre on the OHRI website.

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