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Success Stories

In addition to supporting research the NIKRF also provides funding for equipment unavailable from the National Health Service.

How we help

In addition to supporting research the NIKRF also provides funding for equipment unavailable from the National Health Service.

To assist the clinical and research staff in identifying the many different gene variants that cause diabetic kidney disease the NIKRF part funded the purchase of a BeadArray Station 5000X. The novel high throughput bead array technology, which is at the core of this machine, facilitates the screening of hundreds of thousands of gene variants in thousands of patients. It is the first recision instrument of its type in Ireland. Importantly, acquisition of this machine, which is an industry leader, has allowed the doctors and scientists for the first time to scan the genomes (genetic background) of diabetic individuals with and without nephropathy. Ultimately this work will allow prediction of those at high risk of kidney disease and

News of former NIKRF research staff

Dr Katherine Benson PhD (2013-2016) is a science graduate who was supported by NIKRF. Katie has stayed in the field of kidney research as she is now a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in the Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin and studies inherited kidney diseases with a particular interest in polycystic kidney disease and the genetics of rare renal disorders.

Dr Agnes Masengu MD (2014-2016) was a clinical trainee supported by an NIKRF research fellowship. After completion of her training in 2017 Agnes was appointed as a consultant nephrologist in the Western HHSC Trust and works in the renal units at Altnagelvin Hospital and Tyrone County Hospital. 


Research Projects Summary

Dr Laura Smyth PhD BSc is a recipient of a post-doctoral research fellowship funded by the NIKRF. NIKRF have supported Laura for several years whilst she researches links between DNA methylation (an epigenetic feature linking a person’s lifestyle such as diet, medication, exercise, to inherited factors from their parents) and kidney diseases.

Laura uses data ascertained as part of the Northern Ireland COhort for the Longitudinal study of Ageing (NICOLA), which is a large-scale population-based long-term public health study. She is maximising existing resources to cost-effectively examine multiple measures of renal function and evaluate >850,000 unique methylation sites in the genome for association with kidney disease. Using the latest technology, she aims to identify biomarkers to help earlier diagnosis and in time, be able to track how biomarkers change as kidney disease progresses.