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Personal profile



Professor Adrian S. Woolf

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

Email: adrian.woolf@manchester.ac.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) http://www.marm.manchester.ac.uk

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)

Royal Manchester Children's Hospital

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

Member of Greater Manchester Academic Nephrology Network (from 2015) http://www.gmann.co.uk

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 (from 2014)

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



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

I am also an Honorary Consultant in Paediatric Nephrology in the Royal Manchester Children's Hospital.

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.

A 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 based on growth factors and precursor cells, for kidney, bladder and, more recently, neural disease.

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 165 original research publications, with 'h' and 'g' factors of 63 and 101 (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 three 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 a 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 Associate Professor (University of Nottingham), two are Lecturers (Universities of Nottingham and Salford), another became a Lecturer and founded a Bio-Tech company (UCL and Angio-Proteomie), and one became a Kidney Research UK Fellow (UoM).

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 a similar clinic in the Royal Manchester Children's Hospital in 2010. 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

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.

  Kidney Research UK project grant RP_013_20190305 Epigenetic mechanisms of chronic kidney disease (£160,628). M Tomaszewski, with co-applicants AS Woolf, B Keavney, F Charchar (University of Melbourne), and A Morris (University of Liverpool).

  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. With Multifurious Artist Genevieve Tester.

  2019 Kidneys for Life Grant (£9,928). The role of high vascular flow and vascular patterning in tissue engineered renal genesis. Principal applicant JK Wong with co-applicants AS Woolf, SJ Kimber, LY Yong and B Derby

 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.



My collaborations

University of Manchester and CMFT - Main Collaborators

  • William G. Newman (Professor of Translational Genomic Medicine)
  • Bronwyn Kerr (Professor of Genetics)
  • Helen Stuart (NIHR Academic Clinical Lecturer)
  • Edward A McKenzie (Senior Experimental Officer)
  • Emma N. Hilton (Postdoctoral Research Fellow)
  • Neil A. Roberts (Kidney Research UK Research Fellow)
  • Sarah E. Herrick (Professor of Peritoneal Biology)
  • Natalie J. Gardiner (Senior Lecturer in Neurobiology)
  • Raimondo M. Cervellione and David Keene (Paediatric Urologists).
  • Susan Kimber (Professor of Stem Cells and Development)
  • Jason Wong (Consultant in Plastic Surgery)
  • Siddharth Banka (Senior Lecturer in Genetics)

External Institutes - Main Collaborators

University of Liverpool, UK: Bettina Wilm 

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, London, UK: David A Long and Paul JD Winyard, 

CNRS, Marseille, France: Laurent Fasano

University of Essen, Germany: Steffi Weber

University of Umea, Sweden: Hakan Hedman


University of Manchester MB ChB programme

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

Recently awarded theses

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 MRes Sophie Ashley (co-supervisor SJ Kimber) Plumbing kidney organoids made from human pluripotent cells

2019 PhD Emad Hindi (primary supervisor NJ Gardiner). Investigating the pathogenesis of urinary bladder dysfunction in experimental diabetes mellitus.

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

2018 MRes Andrew Thom (primary supervisor NA Roberts) Manipulating the developing urinary bladder

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


2017 PhD R Coletta (co-supervisor A Morabito) Manipulating growth and differentiation of embryonic intestine in organ 

2015 PhD HM Stuart (co-supervisor WG Newman) Urofacial syndrome: a genetic model to understand human urinary tract abnormalities

2015 PhD A Gofrehi (second supervisor K Hentges) Microphthalmia genes in mammalian organogenesis

2015 PhD M Randles (primary supervisor R Lennon) Proteomic analyses of kidney glomerular extracelular matrix in health and disease

2015 MRes R Taylor (co-supervisor EN Hilton) The heparanase axis and peripheral neuron regeneration

2015 MRes R Hall (primary supervisor WG Newman) Genetic characterisation of urofacial syndrome and related conditions of the bladder

2016 MRes K Chopra (co-supervisor EN Hilton) Towards modelling congenital bladder disease in a dish.

2016 MRes S Mezher (co-supervisor P Ranjzad) Discovering tissue markers in chronic kidney disease

2016 MRes G Galata (primary supervisor WG Newman, co-supervisors HM Stuart and G Beaman) Bladder voiding dysfunction due to a biallelic CHRM3 variant

2016 MRes A Avrova(primary supervisor SE Herrick and co-supervisor S Namvar) Exploring predisposition to peritoneal fibrosis in two mouse strains

Currently supervised PhD students

K Dejyong (2018-present; primary supervisor SE Herrick, co-supervisor A Saiani) Novel hydrogel based strategies to prevent surgical adhesions


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


K Rooney (2019-present; primary supervisor SJ Kimber, co-supervisors AS Woolf and PJ Withers. Effects of hypoxia on human kidney development.

Currently supervised MRes students

Fayez Elsawy (2019-2020; cosupervisor P Ranjzad) Towards understanding whether macrophages affect kidney development using pluripotent stem cell technology

Memberships of committees and professional bodies

  • Academic Paediatrics Association GBI
  • American Society of Nephrology
  • Association of Physicians of Great Britain and Ireland
  • British Association for Paediatric Nephrology
  • European Society for Pediatric Nephrology
  • Manchester Medical Society
  • Manchester Paediatric Club
  • Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health
  • 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.

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


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 2010 → …

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
  • Christabel Pankhurst Institute


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  • The de Wardener Lecturer

    Woolf, Adrian (Recipient), 2016

    Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)

  • The Lockwood Award

    Woolf, Adrian (Recipient), 2015

    Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)