Post-Doctoral Fellowships

Dr. Zsuzsanna Lichner
Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute - St. Michael's Hospital
Supervisor: Dr. George Yousef


Dr. Zsuzsanna Lichner will pursue her post-doctoral fellowship under the supervision of Dr. George Yousef at the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute of St. Michael’s Hospital, in Toronto. Dr. Lichner wishes to enhance her understanding of the involvement of cancer stem cells in the pathogenesis of kidney cancer.

Cancer stem cells are able to maintain themselves by self-renewal or initiate the growth of an entire tumor. Recent findings suggest the metastatic potential and therapy resistance of tumors may be attributed to their cancer stem cell content, so therapeutic elimination of these cells is necessary for the complete eradication of a tumor. Dr. Lichner’s research will focus on identifying the pathways that lead to cancer stem cell formation in kidney cancer and investigating the effect of microRNAs, small RNA molecules reported to regulate stem cell formation and maintenance. A better understanding of stem cell formation may lead to the identification of therapeutic targets for their elimination in kidney cancer and, potentially, in other types of cancer as well.

Sam Silver_Krescent 2014

Dr. Samuel Silver, M.D.
University of Toronto
Supervisors: Drs. Chaim Bell and Glenn Chertow


Dr. Samuel Silver is a nephrologist that recently completed a Master of Science, Quality Improvement (QI) and Patient Safety at the University of Toronto. This post-doctoral fellowship will help him pursue formal training under the supervision of leaders in QI methods (Dr. Chaim Bell, University of Toronto) and AKI/clinical trial research (Dr. Glenn Chertow, Stanford University).

Acute kidney injury (AKI) is defined as a rapid decline in kidney function over days. AKI survivors are at increased risk of developing chronic kidney disease (CKD), yet only 25% of patients with AKI see a nephrologist within one year of discharge. While a nephrology fellow at the University of Toronto, Dr. Silver led the development of a weekly Acute Kidney Injury (AKI) Follow-up Clinic at St Michael’s Hospital to assess AKI survivors within 30 days of discharge, the period of time when a patient is most vulnerable and coordination of care is crucial. Dr. Silver’s research will test whether early follow-up after AKI can improve patient survival and reduce repeat AKI, CKD, chronic dialysis, cardiac events, and hospitalizations.


Dr. Anna Tsampalieros, M.D.
Ottawa Hospital Research Institute
Supervisors: Drs. Greg Knoll and Dean Fergusson


Dr. Anna Tsampalieros will pursue her post-doctoral fellowship under the supervision of Drs. Greg Knoll and Dean Fergusson at the University of Ottawa.  Dr. Tsampalieros is a pediatric nephrologist at The Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario and is currently completing a PhD in Epidemiology at the University of Ottawa. Her interest lies in identifying and measuring important outcomes in kidney transplant patients.

Many factors can affect patient and graft survival after a kidney transplant. While patient risk factors are fairly well understood, little is known on how differences in hospital and physician practices affect survival. Dr. Tsampalieros’ study will review kidney transplant patient and graft survival rates over a 15 year period at all transplant hospitals in Ontario, using information collected through the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences – Kidney, Dialysis and Transplantation Program. This will be the first Canadian study to compare patient care after a kidney transplant in Ontario transplant hospitals and assess how differences in care impact patient and graft survival.

New Investigator Awards

Dylan Burger_Krescent 2014

Dr. Dylan Burger
Ottawa Hospital Research Institute


Dr. Dylan Burger is a new investigator at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute. He completed a KRESCENT postdoctoral fellowship (2009-2012) at the Institute’s Kidney Research Centre, under the supervision of Dr. Rhian Touyz, where he examined the role of endothelial-derived microparticles as markers and mediators of endothelial oxidative stress and injury. Dr. Burger then trained with Dr. Kevin Burns (2012-present) where he investigated the role and actions of endothelial microparticles in diabetic nephropathy.

Endothelial microparticles are tiny pieces of cells that are found in the urine of diabetic mice and appear before current clinical tests are able to identify kidney disease.  Using cell and animal models, as well as samples from diabetic patients, Dr. Burger’s research will aim to determine how these microparticles are formed, whether they contribute to kidney injury, and if they can be detected in human diabetic patients. Understanding the role of endothelial microparticles and other extracellular vesicles as markers and mediators of vascular and renal disease could lead to the earlier detection of kidney disease in diabetic patients and the identification of new pathways for drug development.

Jeffrey Dickhout_Krescent 2014

Dr. Jeffrey Dickhout
McMaster University


Dr. Jeffrey G. Dickhout is a new investigator at the St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton Centre for Kidney Research and an assistant professor, Division Nephrology, at McMaster University.  He completed his PhD at McMaster University and received postdoctorial training in renal physiology at the Medical College of Wisconsin.  During his doctoral and post-doctoral training, Dr. Dickhout developed novel techniques to quantify vascular structure and relate it to blood vessel functional change during the development of hypertension.

When disease disturbs kidney function, transporter proteins responsible for retaining important elements are lost in the urine, prompting the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) of kidney cells to produce more. Over time ER stress caused by excessive protein production contributes to the progression of chronic kidney disease by transforming normal kidney tissue into scar tissue. The objective of Dr. Dickhout’s research is to determine how to inhibit the excessive production of transporter proteins in kidney cells to help prevent the progression of kidney disease.


Dr. Heloise Cardinal, M.D.
University of Montreal Hospital Research Center (CRCHUM)


Dr Héloise Cardinal is a transplant nephrologist and an independent investigator at the University of Montreal Hospital Research Center (CRCHUM). After finishing her residency in nephrology at the Université de Montréal, Dr. Cardinal completed a Masters and PhD in Epidemiology at McGill University where she developed an expertise in the characterization of biomarkers for the non-invasive diagnosis and follow-up of clinical conditions, which she eventually translated to the transplantation setting.

When acute rejection occurs after a kidney transplant a biopsy is required to confirm whether the graft vessels were damaged. Previous studies have shown that particles and molecules (membrane vesicles, LG3) released by endothelial cells can fuel the development of antibodies (anti-LG3) and accelerate the damage.  By measuring levels of membrane vesicles, LG3 and anti-LG3 in the blood of patients pre- and post-transplant, Dr. Cardinal’s research aims to determine if these biomarkers can be used to evaluate damage to the graft vessels, predict the survival of the kidney graft, and help identify transplant candidates who may be at risk of acute rejection.

Allied Health Doctoral Awards

Janine Farragher_Krescent 2014

Ms. Janine Farragher
University of Toronto


Ms. Janine Farragher will complete her fellowship under the supervision of Drs. Sarbjit Vanita Jassal and Helene J. Polatajko at the University of Toronto, where she obtained a Masters in Occupational Therapy and is currently pursuing a PhD in Rehabilitation Science.

More than 23 000 Canadians are currently living with end-stage kidney failure and rely on regular dialysis treatment. One of the most troubling symptoms experienced by people with kidney failure is fatigue, which often interferes with their ability to do the things they normally do throughout a day such as working, taking care of themselves, and being active.  People with fatigue due to other diseases, such as multiple sclerosis, have been found to benefit from a structured educational program delivered by rehabilitation specialists about how to use energy more effectively throughout the day. This approach, called “energy conservation”, has the potential to help people on dialysis accomplish more while feeling less tired. The objective of Ms. Farragher’s research is to develop and test an energy conservation education program designed for people with kidney failure on dialysis. Research findings will help to determine if this novel approach may be an effective treatment for dialysis patients, that can help them better manage their fatigue and improve their overall quality of life.

The KRESCENT Program is a Strategic Training Program developed and supported by:


With additional generous support from:

AMGEN               Baxter Corporation               Merck-Frosst Canada Ltd.             Ortho Biotech              RocheShire BioChem Inc.

© 2005 The Kidney Foundation of Canada