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Around three million people in the UK have kidney disease

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Q&A with trustee Dr Adnan Sharif

05 November 2019

Our trustee Dr Adnan Sharif is a consultant transplant nephrologist at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham. In a Q&A he explains what he enjoys most about being a trustee as well as his role in renal medicine, transplantation and research.

Adnan Sharif at the Kidney Research UK Health Inequalities report launch.
Adnan Sharif at the Kidney Research UK Health Inequalities report launch.

Q. What inspired you to become a trustee for Kidney Research UK?

As a kidney specialist and researcher, I was already very familiar with Kidney Research UK as the leading charity dedicated to research to prevent and treat kidney disease. Therefore, the opportunity to be involved with the work of the charity as a trustee was too strong to resist. After chatting to people working at the charity, and colleagues who are or have been trustees, I realised that it would be a very worthwhile and enjoyable thing to do.

Q. Tell us your highlight of being a trustee for the charity so far?

Being a trustee has been great, especially the opportunity to mix with a very diverse Board of Trustees where individuals have their own unique skill sets that in combination provides a very effective team. Being involved in long-term strategic thinking has been a particular highlight, both for me personally as a clinician and researcher, to ensure Kidney Research UK is focused on the most challenging areas we have in the kidney community of patients and professionals. These kind of exercises really bring home how diverse the range of kidney diseases and complications are and the challenges for the kidney community in the years to come.

Q. What sparked your passion for renal medicine and in particular, transplantation?

I always knew I wanted to be a physician and did a renal medicine post as part of my medical training which I really enjoyed. I was lucky to be able to take some time out of training to do a research degree in the field of transplantation, which confirmed my desire to be a nephrologist and in particular to keep my focus on kidney transplantation. After finishing my training and starting as a Consultant Nephrologist in 2011, I can safely say I made the right decision and thoroughly enjoy my job. Renal medicine and transplantation really does allow doctors to have both clinical and research interests without a boring day in sight.

Q. What future research prospects are you most excited about?

There is lots of great research happening, especially from a kidney transplant perspective, which is great for the future. From a personal perspective, I’ve recently completed a study called CAVIAR which looked to see whether active lifestyle intervention after kidney transplantation can reduce the risk of getting early markers of diabetes. After publishing our preliminary results, we are working with colleagues to replicate this study across a number of transplant centres in the UK (imaginatively being called CAVIAR-2)!

I am also about to start a study called AGEING, which is exploring the benefits of adapting immunosuppression medicines according to age for older adults, post-kidney transplant. Finally, a project called EpCOT (which has taken me nearly five years to start) will link data across a number of national registries to explore the risk of cancer after transplantation.

From a national perspective, there are some great research studies happening (some funded by Kidney Research UK) which are exploring important topics that have the potential to translate into real clinical benefits for our patients.

Q. What does being a trustee mean to you?

I consider being a trustee a very important responsibility to ensure the charity is effective, accountable and achieving its goals. Not only does it means acting in the best interest of the charity but also ensuring that responsible governance exists to reassure our supporters that the charity is acting responsibly and effectively. It allows me to think differently from my regular work and consider things which I don’t do as routine. However, I can use my personal experience and insight in collaboration with other individuals with their own personal experience and expertise for the collective good for the charity.

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