Renal & Hypertension

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Renal & Hypertension

The World Health Organization call hypertension the “silent killer”. High blood pressure is the major risk factor driving the global crisis of non-communicable disease, chiefly Cardiovascular Disease and Chronic Kidney Disease. These diseases reduce the quality of life for millions of people and the medical care is costly (~£2bn per year for the NHS). Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death worldwide: patients with kidney disease are more likely to die of a cardiovascular complication than progress to renal failure. The Renal and Hypertension theme focusses research on these global health challenges. Our collaborative team of clinical and biomedical scientists is defining the underlying causes of cardiovascular and kidney disease, with the dual aims of disease prevention and improved outcomes for patients. Our complementary research expertise allows us to address a wide portfolio of research projects, ranging from fundamental processes of kidney development and whole animal physiology through to experimental medicine and clinical trials. We are committed to enhancing public understanding of the risks associated with renal disease and hypertension, achieving this through public lectures, engagement activities with schools and interaction with mainstream media. Our Principal Investigators have a strong track record external funding and our Biomedical and Clinical Research Fellows have support from The British Heart Foundation  and Kidney Research UK and Medical Research Council. Our established collaboration with the pharmaceutical industry places us in a leading research position and places emphasis on taking basic science concepts through to the clinical arena.


Case Studies

The hunger for salt and hypertension.

We consume too much salt, eating~9g per day instead of the recommended 6g. Our recent research identifies gene pathways in the brain that drive us to eat salt; activation of these pathways also increases blood pressure. This research was published in Circulation and a Research Highlight in Nature Reviews Nephrology.


Information exchange within the kidney.

Our paper in The Journal of the American Society of Nephrology reports exchange of information between kidney tubule cells by release and uptake of extracellular vesicles containing RNA and protein. This exchange is regulated by hormones and can change the physiological responses of the recipient cell. Such research opens new avenues for physiological research and has potential to deliver targeted therapeutics to injured renal tubules. This work was also highlighted in Nature Nephrology.