Personal profile



Professor Adrian S. Woolf

Room D2515, Michael Smith Building, University of Manchester
Oxford Road, Manchester, M13 9PT, UK


Telephone: +44 (0)161 275 1534


University of Manchester

Chair in Paediatric Science (from 2010), Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health 

Centre Lead, Paediatrics and Child Health, Institute of Human Development (2014-2016)

Board Member, Manchester Regenerative Medicine Network (2016-2020)

Member of Faculty Academic Malpractice Panel (from 2015) and Univeristy Disciplinary Panel (from 2018)

Member of University Senate (2019-present)

Year 2 Biomedical Science Tutor (2020-present)

PhD Cohort Advisor (2022-present)

Member of Awards and Honours Group (2021-present)

Manchester Gold mentor (from 2023)

Royal Manchester Children's Hospital

Honorary Consultant in Paediatric Nephrology (2010-2022; revalidated 2015 and 2020)

Founder (2015) and member of Greater Manchester Academic Nephrology Network (2015-present)

President, Manchester Paediatric Club section of Manchester Medical Society (2016-2017)

Manchester Medical School

Lead for Phase II Nutrition, Metabolism and Excretion Module, Manchester Medical School (2011-2014)

Academic Advisor and ePortfolio Reviewer for undergraduates, Manchester Medical School (2010-present)

Fitness to Practice Health and Conduct Committee panel member (2018-present)

Outside Manchester

Honorary Professor University College London (2010-present)

Kidney Research UK Trustee (2012-2018), Career Development Ambassador (2013-2018) and Chair of Research Strategy Committee (2014-2018)

Member of UK National Renal Research Strategy Steering Group (2014-2016)

Member of European Society for Paediatric Nephrology Working Group on Congenital Urinary Tract and Kidney Malformations (2014-2023)

Member of European Reference Network for Rare Kidney Diseases (2017-present)



In 2010 I took up a new Chair in Paediatric Science at the University of Manchester. 

Previously, in 1998, I established an academic centre for Nephrology and Urology at the UCL Institute of Child Health, London, which I headed until the end of 2009.

My main research aim is to find out why people are sometimes born with abnormal kidneys, ureters and bladders. These are the key causes of children needing long term renal dialysis and kidney transplantation. I am also working on translational therapies, including those using gene therapies and precursor cells, for kidney and bladder diseases.

My research successes include: discovery of mutations in kidney and urinary tract malformations, and showing that the encoded molecules regulate epithelial, smooth muscle and neural differentiation; elucidating and ameliorating pathological mesenchymal-epithelial growth factor signalling in the renal tract and also the peritoneal lining; testing preclinical growth factor therapies for polycystic kidney diseases and renal agenesis; and using human pluripotent stem cell models to model normal and abnormal renal tract development.

My research and development work unites speciality clinical services with new perspectives from Developmental, Cell Biology and Genomic sciences. I have published 170 original research publications, with 'h' and 'g' factors of 69 and 113 (Google Scholar).

I have supervised clinical and science students leading to 19 PhD, three MD, 11 MRes, two MSc and one MPhil awarded theses. I currently supervise four PhD students and one MRes student.

Of my ex-students: two are full Professors and one is an Associate Professor (all at UCL); two others became Lecturers (UCL and UoM); one is a research associate at University of Cambridge; and one is a Senior Lecturer (Chester University). Of postdoctoral researchers I supervised, one is an Associate Professor (University of Nottingham), two are Lecturers (UoM and University of Nottingham), one is a Reader (University of Salford), another became a Lecturer and founded a Bio-Tech company (UCL and Angio-Proteomie).

In 2015, The Renal Association gave me their Lockwood Award, and I was their 2016 de Wardener Lecturer, both in recognition of my outstanding record in research and teaching.

From 2006-2009 I undertook a clinic at Great Ormond Street Hospital, London, focusing on renal tract malformations, which had an impact on diagnosis of these conditions and genetic counseling. With clinical genetics and adult nephrology colleagues, I established and ran a similar clinic in the Royal Manchester Children's Hospital (2010-2022). In 2012, we established another clinic, in St Mary's Hospital, to assess adults with a family history of kidney disease.

I was a Trustee and Honorary Secretary of The Renal Association (2000-2004). I was the Research Secretary of the British Association for Paediatric Nephrology (2000-2002). I served on the National Kidney Research Fund grants committee (1997-2002). I was a Trustee of Kidney Research UK (2012-2018), with special remits leading their Research Career Development programme and chairing their Research Strategy Committee.

Research interests

ORCID ID 0000-0001-5541-1358

Selection of recent grants

2019 Medical Research Council project grant MR/S02560X/1 (FEC £708,165; MRC contribution £566,532) Defining functional impacts of macrophages in the formation of surgical adhesions. Principal applicant SE Herrick with co-applicants AS Woolf, JE Allen and D Ruckerl.

2019 Medical Research Council Project grant MR/T016809/1 (FeC £602,110; MRC contribution £481,688). Preclinical gene therapy for genetic urinary bladder disease. Principal applicant AS Woolf, with co-applicants NA Roberts, S Waddington (UCL) and FM Lopes.

2019 Kidneys for Life Grant (£2,500). Art in science project: making zeotropes to show how human kidneys grow and function. AS Woolf with Multifurious Artist Genevieve Tester.

2020 Kidney Research UK Project Grant Project Grant Paed_RP_005_20190925 (£142,187) The pathophysiology of a congenital bladder disease. Principal Applicant Neil A Roberts, with co-applicants A Gurney, KD McCloskey and AS Woolf

2020 Kidney Research UK Project Grant Paed_RP_002_20190925 (£136,253) Genetic bases of congenital bladder and lower urinary tract disorders. Principal Applicant WG Newman, with co-applicants AS Woolf, M Cervellione and D Keene.

2022 UKRI/Wellcome Trust Confidence for Tanslation (C4T) award (£61,725) Novel hydrogel-based drug delivery strategies to prevent surgical adhesions. SE Herrick, A Saiani, AJ Reid, JK Womng, AS Woolf, K Marshall and D Fischer. 

2022 BBSRC-NC3Rs Project grant NC/X002047/1 (FeC £249,794; BBSRC contribution £199,835) Advanced human pluripotent stem cell kidney organoid model for investigating development and disease. SJ Kimber, AS Woolf, JE Allen, MAN Domingos.

2022 LifeArc Pathfinder award. (£42,976) Towards curing genetic kidney malformations using human pluripotent stem cell-derived kidney organoids. AS Woolf, KM Rooney and SJ KImber. 

2022 Kidneys for Life start-up grant (£5,500) Pinpointing where kidney and lower urinary tract malformation genes are expressed in human developent. AS Woolf.

2022 LifeArc Pathfinder award. (£49,198) Developing gene therapy for genetic bladder disease. NA Roberts, WG Newman and AS Woolf.

2023 MRC-NIHR Rare Disease Research Platform (FeC £1,441,028; MRC contribution £1,152,823) Rare early onset lower urinary tract (REOLUT) disorders. MR/Y008340/1. WG Newman, NA Roberts and AS Woolf (UoM); DA Long and MMY Chan (UCL); and MR Clatworthy (University of Cambridge)



My collaborations

University of Manchester and MFT - Main Collaborators

  • William G. Newman (Professor of Translational Genomic Medicine)
  • Kathryn Hentges (Reader)
  • Bronwyn Kerr (Professor of Genetics)
  • Helen M. Stuart (Consultant in Genetics)
  • Kate A. Hillman (Consultant in Nephrology)
  • Edward A. McKenzie (Senior Experimental Officer)
  • Neil A. Roberts (Lecturer)
  • Filipa M. Lopes (Postdoctoral Research Associate)
  • Celine Grenier (Postdoctoral Research Associate)
  • Glenda Beaman (Postdoctoral Research Associate)
  • Ioannis Bantounas (Postdoctoral Research Associate)
  • Alison Gurney (Professor of Pharmacology)
  • Sarah E. Herrick (Professor of Peritoneal Biology)
  • Natalie J. Gardiner (Senior Lecturer in Neurobiology)
  • Raimondo M. Cervellione and David Keene (Consultants in Paediatric Urology)
  • Susan J. Kimber (Professor of Stem Cells and Development)
  • Jason K. F. Wong (Senior Lecturer and Consultant in Plastic Surgery)
  • Siddharth Banka (Professor of Genomic Medicine and Rare Diseases)

External Institutes - Main Collaborators

Newcastle University, UK: Judith A Goodship, Timothy HJ Goodship, Heather J Cordell and Heather J Lambert

UK Vesicoureteric Reflux Study Group and DNA Bank

UCL Institute of Child Health: David A Long and Paul JD Winyard, Daniyal Jafree and Peter Scambler

UCL: Simon N. Waddington and Melanie YY Chan

Queen's University Belfast: Karen D. McLoskey

CNRS, Marseille, France: Laurent Fasano

University of Essen, Germany: Steffi Weber

University of Bonn: Heiko Reutter, Alina C. Hilger, Benjamin Odermatt

University of Umea, Sweden: Hakan Hedman


Postgraduate supervision - over last five years

Awarded PhD and D Clin Sci theses

2021 PhD K Deyjong (primary superivsor SE Herrick, co-supervisors AS Woolf and A Saiani) Modelling therapies to prevent surgical adhesions.

2020 D Clin Sci L Darnell (co-supervisor Abid Sharif). Utilising clinical exome sequencing in patients with rare genetic disease and regions of homozygosity detected by SNP microarray

2020 PhD Filipa M Lopes (co-supervisor NJ Gardiner) Exploring mammalian embryonic ureter growth and functional differentiation in a dish

2020 PhD Tengku Muhamad Faris Syafiq (primary supervisor SJ Kimber) Modeling human genetic kidney malformations caused by HNF1B mutation using pluripotent stem cells.

2019 PhD E Hindi (primary supervisor NJ Gardiner, co-supervisor AS Woolf) Investigating the pathogenesis of urinary bladder dysfunction in experimental diabetes mellitus.

Awarded Masters theses

2022 MRes J Barnaby (Primary supervisor AS Woolf, co-supervisors P Ranjzad and FM Lopes) Plumbing kidney organoids.

2021 MRes M Kedogo (Perimaery supervisor, AS Woolf) co-supervisor FM Lopes) Deconstructing and reconstructing the ureter

2020 MRes F Elsawy (Primary supewrvisor AS Woolf) co-supervisors P Ranjzad and SJ Kimber) Towards understanding whether macrophages affect kidney development using pluripotent stam cell technology. 

2019 MRes Sophie Ashley (Primary supervisor AS Woolf, co-supervisor SJ Kimber) Plumbing kidney organoids made from human pluripotent cells

2018 MRes Amir Para Salahi (Primary supervisor AS Woolf, co-supervisors J Wong and SJ Kimber) Analysing kidneys formed by implanted kidney precursor cells

2018 MRes Andrew Thom (primary supervisor NA Roberts, co-supervisor AS Woolf) Manipulating the developing urinary bladder

2018 MRes Sarah Laurie (Primary supervisor AS Woolf, co-supervisors K Hentges and S Banka) Towards a greater understanding of the role of beta-actin in mammalian organogenesis

Currently supervised PhD students

A Thom (2019-present; primary supervisor S Banka, co-supervisors AS Woolf, NA Roberts and C Lawrence) Modelling diseases caused by mutations of beta-actin

KM Rooney (2019-present; primary supervisor SJ Kimber; co-supervisors AS Woolf and PJ Withers) Investigating hepatocyte nuclear factor 1B associated renal disease in a human kidney organoid model.

BW Jarvis (2021-present; primary supervisor AS Woolf, co-supervisor NA Roberts and NJ Gardiner. Understanding and treating genetic urinary tract disease. 

S Almuwallad (2023-present; primary supervisor SJ Kimber, co-supervisor AS Woolf) Modelling genetic collecting duct malformations.

Currently supervised MRes students

T Schlesinger (2022-present; primary supervisor AS Woolf, and co-supervisor BW Jarvis) Heparanase-2 and neural regulation.

Memberships of committees and professional bodies

  • Academic Paediatrics Association GBI
  • Association of Physicians of Great Britain and Ireland
  • British Association for Paediatric Nephrology
  • Manchester Medical Society
  • Manchester Paediatric Club
  • The Renal Association

Methodological knowledge

Anatomy and biology of normal and abnormal renal tract development, differentiation and regeneration.

Genetic and biological studies of autonomic and other peripheral neuropathies.

Novel translational therapies using growth factors and precursor cells.

Models of human disease in animals and human stem cells.



  • 1968-1974 St Paul's School, London
  • 1975-1978 Corpus Christi College, Cambridge
  • 1978-1981 Westminster Medical School, London


  • 1981 MB BS, University of London
  • 1982 MA, University of Cambridge
  • 1984 MRCP II UK
  • 1989 MD Thesis, University of London

Social responsibility

Trustee, Kidney Research UK (2012-2018)

Undertaking interactive research seminars at primary and secondary schools (2010 onwards).

Undertaking Renal Genetics Clinics in the Royal Manchester Children's Hospital and in St Mary's Hospital, Central Manchester Foundation Trust (2010-2022).


Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

External positions

Honorary Consultant in Paediatric Nephrology, Royal Manchester Children's Hospital

1 Jan 201031 Oct 2022

Honorary Professor, University College London (UCL)

1 Jan 2010 → …

Areas of expertise

  • QH301 Biology
  • QH426 Genetics
  • RJ101 Child Health. Child health services

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Manchester Regenerative Medicine Network


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