Kidney medicine

The CKDR is one of Australia's leading kidney disease research centres with an international reputation for excellence in research. The researchers of the CKDR are working at the forefront of global trends in research to trial new clinical treatments and to understand the cellular and molecular basis of kidney disease. In this way we are aiming to improve kidney and general health of adults and children.  Renowned for its studies in acute and chronic kidney disease and kidney cancers, the CKDR has particular expertise in translating results from laboratory and clinical sciences for application to improve public health outcomes.

Our Mission

Within the CKDR we aim to improve the kidney health of adults and children through scientific research and education of the highest international standard in the field of nephrology.

Our Vision

The CKDR strives to be a research centre of excellence and high international standing in the field of kidney disease and nephrology for the benefit of Australia and the wider international communities.

Message from the Directors

The Centre for Kidney Disease Research (CKDR) was approved as a School of Medicine Centre in September 2009. The overall mission of the CKDR is to reduce the burden of kidney disease in Australia and internationally. Kidney disease contributes directly or indirectly to at least 10% of deaths in Australia. The CKDR uses translational research policies and processes to reduce the social and financial burden of renal health services and renal replacement therapies. To achieve our goals, we are using state-of-the-art research into disease mechanisms, diagnosis, prevention and treatment of kidney disease. We bring together clinicians and scientists in renal disease from several institutions (The University of Queensland, Princess Alexandra Hospital, Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital and Griffith University), and research networks and centres around the state, nationally and internationally, to form a comprehensive, multidisciplinary, renal research centre.

The translational nature of our research is already evident in our successes. At the "bedside", we have made major contributions to improved patient care nationally and internationally by carrying out clinical research, contributing to clinical trials, and having representation on many key kidney disease task forces and committees. At the "bench", we have successfully used biomolecular approaches to define the underlying mechanisms of renal disease in its many forms and some of those results have been translated into clinical practice. In a demonstration of our continuing strength and success, early 2010 will see us incorporating the Australian Kidney Trials Network.

Our research

The Centre for Kidney Disease Research (CKDR) undertakes scientific research to improve kidney health. The CKDR is particularly renowned for its studies in chronic kidney disease, dialysis and transplantation. 

To support its research, the CKDR has one of the world's best-equipped laboratories, with a wide range of state-of-the-art equipment for assessing the molecular and biological basis of kidney disease. The laboratories also support clinicians by offering them a facility to accurately investigate the most pressing of kidney health problems with conditions such as kidney failure and cancer.

The CKDR has a vast array of clinical and basic science expertise, state-of-the-art infrastructure, resources, and equipment. In the clinical sciences, this group of nephrologists is one of the most experienced, competitive and best published internationally. In the basic sciences, the work is recognized through well-cited publications in top nephrology journals. The laboratories are well resourced. The most significant of the laboratory based equipment is a Nikon Eclipse FN1 electrophysiological intravital video microscope with NIS Elements Imaging software. The position of the laboratories (formally adjacent to the Diamantina Institute, and now within TRI) allows us easy access to other state-of-the- art equipment. We are often approached for our expertise in assays for cell death. In that regard ApoTec Research Services (BN19226949) was formed with UniQuest Pty Ltd as proprieter. This is a research technical support business that provides quality assessment of all research involving cell death on a cost-for-service basis.

In early 2013, the CKDR became a member of the newly established Translational Research Institute (TRI) located at the Princess Alexandra Hospital campus. This further improved access to cutting-edge infrastructure and expansion of local collaborations between representative TRI institutes (UQ School of Medicine, PAH Centres for Health Research, Diamantina Institute, Mater Research, and QUT Institute for Health and Biotechnology Innovation). 

Learn more about the  Australasian Kidney Trials Network (AKTN).

Clinical research

NHMRC Centre of Clinical Research Excellence status and funding. Since 2005, our unit has received the endorsement of, and funding by, Kidney Health Australia, the Australian and New Zealand Society of Nephrology and the National Health and Medical Research Council to act as the co-ordinating centre for the Australasian Kidney Trials Network (AKTN) (a clinical trials network set up to conceive, co-ordinate and run multicentre clinical research trials in Nephrology in Australasia). In 2009, the AKT Network merged with the Princess Alexandra Hospital Renal Research Laboratory (a basic science research facility) to form The University of Queensland Centre for Kidney Disease Research (CKDR). The centre conducts a large range of bench-to-bedside translational research activities at both the clinical and basic science levels (including renal transplantation, peritoneal dialysis, haemodialysis and general nephrology). Registry data analyses are also possible through our links with the Clinical Practice Improvement Centre database, the Queensland Live Donor Registry and the ANZDATA Registry. Our research has earned national research awards (including the Kidney Health Australia Clinical Research Award and the Australian and New Zealand Society of Nephrology TJ Neale Award for "Outstanding Contributions to Nephrological Science") and prompted numerous changes in clinical practice guidelines. The Department generates over 60 peer-reviewed publications per year. Our unit also offers extensive training in basic and clinical research, trial design, epidemiology and biostatistics.

There are over 80 projects currently underway in the Department, examining such diverse areas as:

Clinical Research

  • Multi-centre randomised controlled trials (HONEYPOT, HERO, FAVORED, PEXIVAS, BLOCADE, IMPROVE-CKD, ACTIVE Dialysis, IDEAL, SHARP, CORAL, balANZ)
  • Prevention and treatment of peritoneal dialysis-associated peritonitis
  • Prevention and treatment of haemodialysis catheter-associated bacteraemia
  • ANZDATA Registry peritoneal dialysis research
  • Nocturnal home haemodialysis
  • Anaemia management and iron supplementation
  • Cardiac risk factor intervention
  • Cochrane reviews (peritoneal dialysis, anaemia treatment, erectile dysfunction)
  • Vitamin D research
  • Optimal timing of dialysis commencement
  • Metabolic syndrome and kidney disease
  • Enhancement of dialysis adequacy
  • Preservation of residual kidney function
  • Monitoring healthcare delivery quality
  • Optimization of the safety of anti-rejection drug protocols in kidney transplantation
  • Immunosuppressive drug pharmacokinetic studies
  • Skin cancer and lymphoma prevention in kidney transplant patients
  • BK virus nephropathy
  • Tumourectomised kidney transplants

Our staff

Staff based at the Translational Research Institute 

Staff conducting Clinical Research at the PA Hospital

  • Professor David Johnson PSM​
  • Associate Professor Carmel Hawley​
  • Associate Professor David Mudge

Current Students

PhD students
  • Andrea Viecelli
  • Anna Francis (USyd)
  • Dharmenaan Palamuthusingam
  • Shyam Dheda
  • Rob Ellis
  • Karine Manera (U Syd)
  • Kunyu Shen
  • Hossam Kamli
  • Evan Owens
M Phil students
  • Samantha Putrino
  • Sharon del Vecchio
Honours students
  • Syed Shah

TRI Laboratories

The CKDR Translational Research Laboratories, located within the Translational Research Institute (TRI), conducts high quality basic science research into the pathological mechanisms of a wide range of renal diseases, with the overarching aim of identifying new targets and therapeutic treatments.

Basic science research

  • Eythropoietin as a novel cytoprotective agent in acute kidney, brain and heart injury
  • Molecular pathways in age-associated chronic renal pathologies
  • The role of protease activated receptors (PARs) in progressive renal scarring, inflammation and failure using primary human kidney cell culture
  • Therapeutic application of adult mesenchymal stem cells in renal regeneration.
  • Mechanisms and therapeutic manipulation of renal cell carcinoma.
  • Targeting apoptotic pathways for treatment of renal cell carcinoma
  • Mitochondrial dynamics in the senescing kidney

Student opportunities

The CKDR is keen to take on enthusiastic postgraduate students for honoursmasters, and doctoral studies in the following key research areas:

The CKDR provides opportunities for graduates to develop a variety of skill sets for their future careers in the field of research. The CKDR also opens up opportunities for students to travel to present their work at international conferences.

Funding Considerations & Scholarship Opportunities

Students accepted into the postgraduate program may receive initial support for their work from the CKDR. However, prospective students should be advised that all CKDR PhD students are required to apply for funding from external scholarships.

Entry Requirements

The CKDR is part of The University of Queensland's Diamantina Institute. Therefore, postgraduate students must fulfil standard University of Queensland entry requirements. 

Entry requirements for prospective Master of Philiosophy and Doctor of Philosophy students can be found online at The University of Queensland.

Steps for kickstarting your postgraduate studies at CKDR

Students interested in undertaking postgraduate studies through the CNRC should follow these steps:

  1. Decide on your area of study interest - refer to our research section above. 

  2. Complete the Expression of Interest form  and email along with your CV and academic record.

  3. One of CKDR's senior researchers will contact you as soon as possible to discuss your interest in more detail.

Remember, enthusiasm, dedication and drive are essential prerequisites for study at the CKDR!


Centre for Kidney Disease Research
University of Queensland​ Diamantina Institute
Level 5, Translational Research Institute
37 Kent Street, WOOLLOONGABBA, Qld, 4102

Fax: + 61 7 3443 7779​