Department of Renal Medicine


Centre for Experimental Nephrology

Areas of focus

Renal Inflammation and autoimmunity 

Professor Alan Salama



Our focus is on understanding the balance between factors causing inflammatory kidney disease and the natural regulatory mechanisms that keep them in check. Defining these factors may provide better ideas of how to monitor disease, predict those who need treatment and lead to better therapeutic strategies.

Our main clinical interest is in small vessel vasculitis and systemic lupus erythematosus as the important diseases in which there is dysregulated immunity. Understanding how to better treat these diseases, in which therapy can lead to significant side effects, is critical with new options becoming available. Testing new strategies and protocols as part of clinical trials is an important part of our work

Experimentally, we use animal models of ischaemia reperfusion and glomerulonephritis, while we have in vitro models using cell cultures and granuloma formation to investigate the basis of the immune dysregulation.

Current Research Projects

Investigating the role of salt in promoting renal inflammation and the immunodeficiency state induced by salt losing nephropathies, PhD Student Dr Rhys Evans; in collaboration with Dr Ben Walsh

Investigating the role of myeloperoxidase as a mediator of crescentic glomerulonephritis, PhD student Dr Marilina Antonelou; in collaboration with Astra Zeneca

Investigating the role of myeloperoxidase inhibition on the accelerated atheromatous disease in lupus and vasculitis patients; in collaboration with Astra Zeneca

Understanding the development of granulomas in patients with ANCA vasculitis, post doc Dr Scott Henderson; in collaboration with Dr Paul Frankel

Investigating urinary lymphocytes as biomarkers of disease in ANCA vasculitis; PhD student Jannis Sonnermann; in collaboration with Dr Adrian Schreiber

Defining the role of CTGF in mediating cryoglobulinaemic vasculitis; PhD student Dr Gayathri Rajakaruna; In collaboration with Prof Roger Mason and Ionis Pharmaceuticals.

Group members


Current membersPast members


 Rhys Evans 
Janis Sonnermann
Scott HendersonGayathri Rajakaruna


Marilina Antonelou
Heidy Hendra 
Anuja Upadhyay 
Gisele Vajgel


RPS Widget Placeholderhttps://research-reports.ucl.ac.uk/RPSDATA.SVC/pubs/ASALA36

Lipids, the kidney, and vascular injury

Dr Xiong-Zhong Ruan

Dyslipidaemia is the most common metabolic disorder at all stages of CKD and contributes to vascular injury in CKD patients.  We have shown that inflammation in CKD increases cholesterol influx and reduces lipid efflux from cells, thus diverting cholesterol from the blood to the tissues.  This cholesterol redistribution causes cholesterol to accumulate in the kidney and in the arterial wall, and lowers circulating cholesterol levels.  This may be why CVD risk is increased in CKD, yet plasma cholesterol levels (usually directly correlated with CVD risk) are not high.  Inflammatory stress, a feature of CKD, also increases intracellular cholesterol synthesis, which adds to lipid accumulation and foam cell formation (a feature of atherosclerosis) in the kidney and blood vessels.  This suggests that the level of circulating cholesterol is not solely a reliable predictor of cardiovascular and renal risks in patients with CKD.  We are working to identify new biomarkers in blood or cells for risk assessment and to define key molecular targets that can block the cholesterol redistribution in CKD.


RPS Widget Placeholderhttps://research-reports.ucl.ac.uk/RPSDATA.SVC/pubs/XZRUA13



 Professor Jill NormanCentre Lead
 Dr Ben Caplin Deputy Lead
 Professor Alan Salama 
 Dr Sally Hamour 
 Dr Ruth Pepper 
 Dr Enriko Klootwijk 
 Professor John Moorhead 
 Dr Xiong Zhong Ruan 
 Dr Ben Walsh  
 Dr Harry Horsley 
 Dr John Connolly