Preventing progression in chronic kidney disease

Wednesday, 20 Mar 2019

Can you sum up the aim of your research in 10 words?

To identify novel biomarkers of diabetic chronic kidney disease.

What have you discovered/achieved in this area so far?

In a pilot study, I have been able to extract DNA from urine of patients with diabetic kidney disease, with limited success. As a result, I have designed a cross-sectional, prospective study where the blood, urine and stool samples of diabetic patients with chronic kidney disease have been collected. I am interested in the areas of Epigenetics, Metabolomics and the Gut Microbiome and its relationship to diabetic kidney disease. I have extracted DNA from these samples and am hoping to identify some interesting, novel biomarkers in these three domains. My research is being done in collaboration with Dr Elif Ekinci (Director of Diabetes at Austin Health), Professor Karen Dwyer (Nephrologist, Deakin University) and Professor Richard Saffery (Head of Epigenetics Group, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute).

What aspect of this research excites you the most?

The potential to discover new biomarkers or ‘profiles’ within the areas of epigenetics, metabolomics and gut microbiome in relation to patients with diabetic kidney disease. If these biomarkers are sensitive enough, they may provide a tool to detect diabetic kidney disease at an earlier time point, compared to current methods, so that intervention to halt disease progression can occur earlier. Furthermore, this kind of research may contribute to the era of personalised genomic medicine with improved patient outcomes.

How long before your work might impact patient care?

Unfortunately, this type of research impact often takes years before it can be translated from the bench to the bedside.

What’s your Holy Grail – the one thing you’d like to achieve in your research career?

To prevent the progression of chronic kidney disease.

What is your biggest research hurdle?


What’s something fascinating but often overlooked about the kidney?

The blood flow in kidneys is higher than the blood flow in the heart, liver and brain!

Who has inspired you and why?

My parents have taught me that hard work and resilience go a long way in life and have lived by the maxim “very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.” (Marcus Aurelius)

‘There’s an app for that.’ What’s new on your phone?

I have a 7-month daughter and the app has been a revelation! Also the app EatClub is proving a delight!!

Describe a perfect day for you.

Sleeping in (as the last 7 months have been a blur….), enjoying a good curry (or any version of food!) and watching re-runs of The Crown


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