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Kidney disease ends here.


Our trustees

Jeremy Hughes

Professor Jeremy Hughes - chair of trustees

Jeremy Hughes is Professor of Experimental Nephrology at the University of Edinburgh and Honorary Consultant in the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

He joined the Kidney Research UK Research Grants Committee in 2011 and became Chair of the committee in 2013. He became a Trustee of Kidney Research UK in 2018.

He has previously held MRC and Wellcome Trust Research Fellowships in London, Seattle and Edinburgh. His research interests are broad and have primarily focussed upon the study of inflammation, scarring and healing within the kidney.

He is very much involved with medical student education and is Head of Year 3 at Edinburgh Medical School. He is also Programme Lead for the Health Sciences degree programme that aims to provide students with the skills to become future (maybe renal!) researchers.

Outside work, he loves music, cinema, theatre and walking the dog on the beach.

Read more about Jeremy and his work with Kidney Research UK.

Adrian Akers

Adrian Akers

Adrian retired as a garden designer, having previously worked in the City of London for 30 years managing investment portfolios, latterly for family trusts, universities and a wide range of charities.

Married with two adult children, he plays tennis, real tennis and golf. His other interests include gardening, genealogy, investment, travelling and mountain walking.

Sunil Bhandari

Professor Sunil Bhandari

Sunil has been an NHS Consultant since 2000, having worked at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney in renal medicine, before moving to the deprived area of Hull and East Yorkshire, with the purpose of making a difference to the lives of people with kidney disease.

He has a combined interest in teaching and research, serving as co-director of the UK Advanced Nephrology Course and is current vice chair of the Renal Association Education and Training Committee. He is also the International Director for the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh aiming to improve healthcare, training and education worldwide.
He has been involved in research, both clinical and basic science that focuses on delaying renal progression, improving anaemia management and understanding the mechanisms around why the heart fails in renal disease.Sunil is a keen water skier and has a passion for DIY.

Lisa Chan

Lisa Chan

Lisa is a seasoned finance executive with 25 years of senior management experience in corporate and investment banking across Europe, North America and Asia.

She has a degree in Applied Sciences Electrical Engineering from the University of British Columbia and a Masters degree in Business Administration from the University of Western Ontario.

Lisa has had an extensive career in risk management. Until recently, she was group head of the European Credit Division at MUFG Bank in London. Prior to that she spent 15 years at Morgan Stanley as a managing director leading the firm’s European capital markets risk management team. Earlier in her career, Lisa worked in engineering services with the Swire Group in Hong Kong.

Lisa is passionate about kidney research as her mother was a chronic kidney disease patient. Lisa lives in London with her husband and daughter. In her free time, she enjoys cooking and experimenting with gluten free recipes, travelling and Pilates.


John Cunningham

John is one of the Professors of Nephrology at University College London Medical School and The Royal Free Hospital and an Honorary Fellow of Trinity Hall, University of Cambridge.

"En route I have spent time at Cambridge and Oxford Universities also the University of California and Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, USA from where I became a consultant at The London Hospital, Whitechapel from 1982, moving to my current positions in  2003. I work in general nephrology with niches in metabolic medicine and in the interplay between kidney, cardiovascular system and bone. Over the years I have run research programmes trying to understand why kidney patients are so prone to heart disease and fractures, problem areas that are closely connected.

Supporting education and research is central to what we all try to do and is energized by the buzz that the young transmit upstream to the pleasure and benefit of all concerned. A stint as Sub‑Dean for Student Admissions (1990‑1997) required me to meet and interview large numbers of young men and women, many of them outstanding individuals. The ability of some of them to reach the highest level despite having to handle the most adverse circumstances is a source of wonder to me and I am fortunate that I can still mix with young people through my appointments at UCL and Cambridge.

My career has been somewhat hybrid and this breadth emphasises to me the critical role of research and education orientated charities. I was a Special Trustee to The London Hospital (now Barts and The London Charity And Related Charities) and I continue with The St Peter’s Trust, The Astor Foundation and Kidney Research UK.

Spare time? A blend of family, music, sport and current affairs."

Ben Digby

Ben Digby

Ben works in the Group Public Affairs team at HSBC Group Plc, leading on global trade policy & public affairs. Prior to joining HSBC, Ben spent 12 years at the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), latterly as the organisation’s International Director, managing the CBI’s office network in China, India and the United States.

Ben was diagnosed with Minimal Change Nephrotic Syndrome when he was eighteen months old and was treated at Stoke Mandeville, Ipswich and the Royal London Homeopathic Hospital. He was discharged at the age of 21 and has had no subsequent relapses. He initially got involved with Kidney Research UK in 2016 and has been an active member of the Lay Advisory Committee (LAC) as well as supporting the development of the charity’s public affairs and communications strategy. Most recently, he worked with the Communications & Fundraising team on the launch of the Andy Cole Fund in May 2020.

Ben lives in London with his wife Amy and their miniature schnauzer Jazz. Outside of work he enjoys football, boxing, music and reading politics and history. He studied at Durham University and the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).


Dr David Hughes

David has been an NHS Consultant since 1993 looking after children with kidney diseases. After training in paediatric nephrology in Glasgow and Toronto, he took up his first consultant post at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool. In 2005 he moved to the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Glasgow.

David was the national clinical lead during the initial five years establishing the Scottish Paediatric Renal and Urology Network. This government-supported initiative established a national managed clinical network delivering specialist paediatric renal services closer to home in all paediatric centres across Scotland.

In 2015 David was elected President of the British Association for Paediatric Nephrology. During his three-year tenure he also served as a trustee of the Renal Association.

David has witnessed exciting developments in scientific and clinical research in UK paediatric nephrology through his consultant career. He has been an active supporter of and participant in multi-centre research led by his clinical colleagues nationally. He believes that the integration of research findings into paediatric clinical practice is a key part of improving everyday care to children. Research and clinical networks have afforded an opportunity both to collaborate in research and to disseminate learning.

David’s interests include travel, photography, music and, as a guilty pleasure, reading crime novels.

Deirdre Jennings

Deirdre Jennings

Deirdre Jennings is an experienced Managing Director and Consultant in Financial Services and Fintech industry working across Asia and Europe. She has a background in research with a PhD in Monte Carlo Simulations of Chemical Systems and is currently studying for a professional certificate in accounting.

Deirdre’s partner, Jamie, was diagnosed with kidney failure in 2015, accelerating their plans to move back from Singapore to UK.

Both Deirdre and Jamie love to travel and have arranged holiday dialysis across Asia and Europe.

Professor Liz Lightstone

Professor Liz Lightstone

Liz is Professor of Renal Medicine at Imperial College London and based at the Hammersmith Hospital where she has been a consultant renal physician since 1995. She studied at Cambridge and King's College Hospital Medical School, trained in Renal Medicine at the Hammersmith and did her PhD at UCL, funded by the MRC.  She then won a clinician scientist fellowship from the MRC and returned to what was then the Royal Postgraduate Medical School and has never left!

Her research interests are broad but largely focus on improving the outcomes for patients with glomerulonephritis, especially that due to lupus; and to helping women with kidney disease plan and have successful pregnancies. She is considered an international expert in these areas and has contributed to guidelines in both areas, most recently for the British Society of Rheumatology for Lupus and for NICE and the Renal Association for pregnancy.

Liz has also had a longstanding interest in kidney disease in minority ethnic groups and wrote the ABLE report for the charity back in 2001. She has been delighted to see the launch of the Health Inequalities report in 2019, which has a much broader remit.

She is a passionate advocate of clinicians being trained in research, both basic and translational, and through previous and current roles has actively supported and helped develop academic training programmes for foundation doctors and renal trainees at Imperial and in North West Thames colleges.

Outside of work, Liz is a keen traveller – and in the last few years has enjoyed exploring Sri Lanka, India, Thailand, Australia and Alaska as well as many European cities closer to home. She also enjoys theatre, cinema, live music and one day plans to try glamping at Glastonbury!

Professor Jill Norman

Dr Jill Norman

Jill has had a varied career in renal research and has previously had research funded by Kidney Research UK.

"I trained in London doing a first degree in zoology at UCL and then a PhD in cancer biology from Imperial Cancer Research Fund (now Cancer Research UK)/University of London.

"I then went to the USA to do post-doctoral work initially at the University of Colorado where I worked on the role of steroids in embryonic development of the urinary tract. This work continued at the University of California in San Francisco.

"I did a second post-docorate at the University of Virginia working on epigenetic regulation of gene expression. A faculty appointment at the University of California in Los Angeles brought about a transition to nephrology and led to a long-standing interest in the pathogenesis of chronic kidney disease.

"After 11 years in the US I returned to the UK to take up a position in the Centre for Nephrology at UCL where I have built up a research programme investigating the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying progressive scarring (fibrosis) of the kidney.

"I have served on a number of committees related to renal research and education and am an active member of the Renal Association, currently serving as Chair of the Research Committee.

"Outside my academic interests I am an active volunteer and work with a number of charities. For the past three years and a half years I have served as a Trustee of the Samaritans Central London Branch."

chris rolfe

Chris Rolfe

Chris was diagnosed with FSGS in 2005 and eventually had to start haemodialysis during lockdown in 2020. Having spent 10 months at the hospital unit, he will soon begin dialysis at home and is looking forward to being a little more active.

Having studied maths, physics and chemistry at A level, Chris then read medieval and modern history at Birmingham University. Naturally enough, he moved on to train as a chartered accountant, specialising in taxation. He retired from PwC as global head of the transfer pricing practice. He has served on the boards of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and Kidneycare UK and is now Treasurer of the Exeter & District Kidney Patients Association.

In all matters, Chris shares life with his wife (since university days) Jenny. They have a son and daughter, both married, and one grandson.

Chris continues his historical interests, reads widely, plays electric guitar, is learning silversmithing skills and (trying) to build a working steam locomotive. Chris is a bit short of time!

Caroline Savage

Caroline Savage

Caroline is a physician scientist who, as Professor of Nephrology at University of Birmingham, led a renal research team focusing on vasculitis and related kidney disorders.

In 2010, following a sabbatical to GlaxoSmithKline, she moved to industry in order to facilitate getting medicines from the lab and into patients. At GSK she was VP and head of the early development Experimental Medicine Unit that she set up.

During 2005-2008, Caroline was a trustee of Kidney Research UK. She has been a member of the Kidney Research UK Grants Committee and served as first Academic VP of the Renal Association for three years from 2007. She is an active fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences. She returned as a trustee to Kidney Research UK in 2019 and is particularly interested in alternative funding models.

Dr Adnan Sharif

Dr Adnan Sharif

Dr Adnan Sharif is a Consultant Transplant Nephrologist at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham.

He graduated from the University of Edinburgh in 2002 and underwent his medical and nephrology training in Cardiff and Birmingham respectively, before starting his consultant post in 2011 with a special interest in kidney transplantation.

He retains an active research focus and is currently Chief Investigator on a number of prospective cohort and randomized clinical trials related to dialysis and kidney transplantation. In addition to his clinical and research interests, he is the secretary of the non-government organization, Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting (DAFOH), which campaigns against illegal and unethical organ procurement around the globe and the group was nominated for the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize for its work in this area.

He also sits on the steering committee for Give A Kidney, a registered charity that promotes non-directed altruistic kidney donation and is a member of the National BAME Transplantation Alliance that seeks to promote blood, stem cell and organ donation from minority ethnic groups in the UK.

Read more about why Adnan became a trustee.

Charlie Thomson

Dr Charles Tomson

Charlie has been an NHS Consultant looking after people with kidney disease since 1991. He is now based in Newcastle upon Tyne, having previously spent 21 years in Bristol.

He served on the Research Grants Committee at Kidney Research UK from 2003-2007. In 2003-4 he spent a year at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement in Boston, USA. When he returned from the USA he became Chair of the UK Renal Registry, and then President of the Renal Association.

He has been involved in research on several topics, including variation in the quality of kidney care from centre to centre. His major interest is in understanding how to ensure that the results of clinical research are reliably translated into action in routine clinical practice.

He is a keen cyclist. plays saxophone, clarinet and piano, and likes growing vegetables.

Angela Watt

Angela Watt

Angela has worked as a renal nurse for two decades and has first-hand experience of the affect of kidney diease.

"I come from a family that has been affected by kidney disease over 5 generations and as well as living with chronic kidney disease (CKD) myself I am also the parent of a child with CKD. My family’s experience has enabled me to see the impact that research has had on the treatment and management of this condition. I am passionate about getting patients actively involved in research and ensuring they have access to the best evidence based care available.

"Professionally I am a registered nurse and have worked in renal care for almost 20 years, firstly in the Shetland Islands and now in my home town of Newcastle. I am a member of the Renal Association and the Association of Nephrology Nurses UK. I also have a BA Hons degree in Literature.

"I am married with 3 children. Away from work I enjoy reading, going to the theatre, travelling and watching cricket and football."

Read more about why Angela became a trustee.


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