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graphic image of human kidneys

Oxford Population Health’s Renal Studies Group is a research group based in the Clinical Trial Service Unit and Epidemiological Studies Unit (CTSU). We focus on understanding the causes and treatment of kidney disease. The group is co-led by Professors Will Herrington and Richard Haynes who are also honorary consultant nephrologists at Oxford Kidney Unit.

Why is it important to study kidney disease?

MAin Aim

  • To design and conduct clinical trials which can reliably test the efficacy or safety of interventions which may lower the risk of kidney disease progression or cardiovascular complications.

other aims 

  • To summarise all randomised trial evidence for interventions by collaborative meta-analysis.

Providing the totality of the worldwide evidence is important to support development of evidence-based clinical guidelines. We achieve this by requesting and curating analyses or individual participant level data from large trials. Our most recent collaborative meta-analysis assessed the effects of sodium glucose co-transporter-2 inhibitors on kidney disease outcomes. It included approximately 90,000 participants from 13 large trials and was published in The Lancet.

  • To identify the key modifiable risk factors for development or progression of kidney disease to provide a rationale for new trials.

This helps ensure trial research efforts address the best questions. Potential causal risk factors are identified using a combination of conventional and genetic epidemiological approaches. This is achieved by using established large general population biobanks (including UK Biobank and the Mexico City Prospective Study), and by developing baseline phenotyping of completed chronic kidney disease trials with leftover biological samples.


Our trials' designs are streamlined, to enable them to be integrated into clinical practice with ease. Our most recently reported international trial was The Study of Heart and Kidney Protection with Empagliflozin (EMPA-KIDNEY) which recruited 6609 participants in eight countries. We are currently following participants in a post-trial observational cohort and developing the biobank of leftover biological samples. We also conducted one of the largest trials in kidney disease called SHARP which recruited 9270 participants from 18 countries. Recent trials we have designed and conducted in the UK include 3C and UK-HARP III.

Opportunities to learn and work with the group

Since the Renal Studies Group was established in the early 2000s by Professor Colin Baigent and Professor Sir Martin Landray, the group has offered training in trials and higher degree supervision (MDs/DMs and PhDs) for many clinical trainees. We also provide opportunities for academic foundation year and academic clinical fellow placements and clinical lecturer posts. Please contact Will Herrington and/or Richard Haynes if you are interested in joining the group.






Our team

Current and previous funding

UKRI Medical Research Council

Kidney Research UK

British Heart Foundation Centre of Research Excellence

Grants from industry to conduct individual trials (see trial publications for details)

Key publications

Related research themes