The Kidney Foundation of Canada

Dr. Christopher Kennedy 

Dr. Christopher Kennedy

Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, ON

Nox5-containing urinary microparticles in renal injury associated with diabetes and hypertension 

2018-2020:  $100,000 |  Biomedical Research Grants  |  Category: Hypertension

Lay Summary

Early detection of injury in the leading causes of kidney disease – diabetes and hypertension – is urgently needed to help guide therapies in order to slow down the disease process. We are studying an enzyme known as Nox5 that converts oxygen molecules into highly volatile and reactive oxygen molecules that damage the cells of the kidney. One of the ways in which this damage takes place is by causing the cells to release microscopically sized pieces of their outer membrane. These are called microparticles and we are able to detect them in the urine of humans with diabetes and in mice with high blood pressure. We will test whether Nox5 is found in these microparticles and whether it leads to their formation. Ultimately, Nox5 might become a biomarker for kidney damage and might also become a target for future drugs in order to slow or reverse kidney disease.


Christopher Kennedy is a Senior Scientist within the Chronic Disease Program and Kidney Research Centre at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute and a Full Professor in the Faculty of Medicine / Department of Medicine at the University of Ottawa. He is interim director of the Faculty of Medicine’s Awards and Prizes for Excellence in Education and Research.

Dr. Kennedy served as Chair and Scientific Officer of the CIHR Hematology Digestive Diseases and Kidney open operating grant peer review committee and is an Advisory Board member of the CIHR’s Institute of Nutrition, Metabolism and Diabetes. Currently, he is a member of the Board of Directors for the Canadian Council on Animal Care, and has served for over 10 years on the University of Ottawa’s Animal Care Committee. He is also chair of the Kidney Foundation of Canada’s Biomedical Research Grants Committee and a member of the CIHR College of Reviewers.

Dr. Kennedy’s research program is a fertile training environment for undergraduates, graduates and postgraduates and is funded by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR), the Kidney Foundation of Canada (KFOC), and the Canada Foundation for Innovation. Using animal models his research seeks to identify how the kidney’s filtration system and vasculature are damaged in diabetes and high blood pressure – the two leading causes of kidney disease in Canada – with the goal of translating his work into novel therapies that would slow down or prevent kidney disease progression.