Post-Doctoral Fellowships


Dr. Meghan Elliott, M.D.
St. Michael's Hospital
Supervisors: Drs. Sharon Straus, Brenda Hemmelgarn


Dr. Meghan Elliott will complete her Post-Doctoral Fellowship under the supervision of Drs. Sharon Straus and Brenda Hemmelgarn at the University of Toronto. Her project will focus on the integration and prioritization of guideline recommendations. Dr. Elliott obtained her M.D. at Queen’s University and her Internal Medicine and Nephrology residencies at the University of Calgary.

On average, general practitioners have only 6 to 9 minutes to spend with a patient, limiting them to address all the recommendations provided in these practice guidelines. As a consequence, patients with chronic or complex conditions often do not receive the appropriate care required. The aim of Dr. Elliott’s research will help us understand how physicians and patients prioritize guideline recommendations and implement them in their practice.

This research will be within an area of science called Knowledge Translation (KT) that aims to incorporate current research and recommendations into delivery of high quality patient care. 

The results will help design tools that formally test how physicians prioritize recommendations given to patients, which will lead to improved health care delivery for patients with chronic diseases.  The ultimate goal is to develop an approach that integrates patient priorities with those of health care providers to optimize care.



Dr. Victor Jensen, Ph.D.
Simon Fraser University
Supervisor: Dr. Michel Leroux


Dr. Jensen will complete his Post-Doctoral Fellowship under the supervision of Dr. Michel Leroux at Simon Fraser University where he will study and identify novel cilia genes associated with multiple disorders. Dr. Jensen obtained his Ph.D. in Medical Genetics at the University of Columbia.

The cilium is an extension on most cells/tissues that works similarly to a television antenna in that it receives signals from the environment. When a mutation disrupts the function of cilia, cells no longer receive the proper environmental input. Mutations in cilia-related genes have been identified in patients with clinical diseases such as cystic kidneys, diabetes, obesity and blindness. Many of the families suffering from such illnesses have unknown mutations, often because the mutated gene has not been identified. The aim of Dr. Jensen’s research is to provide essential information on the link between different genes and disease, as well as insight into the function of cilia.

Dr. Jensen’s goal is to provide novel insights into the nature and function of disease genes, a step that will eventually lead to improved treatments and/or prevention of common diseases.


Dr. Amber Molnar, M.D.
University of Ottawa
Supervisors: Drs. Greg Knoll, Carl van Walraven


Dr. Amber Molnar obtained her M.D. at the University of Saskatchewan and is currently pursuing her Master’s in Clinical Epidemiology at the University of Ottawa. She will complete her Post-Doctoral Fellowship under the supervision of Drs. Greg Knoll and Carl van Walraven at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute. Her study will focus on how an episode of kidney failure impacts the risk of transplant failure or death among individuals with kidney transplantation.

Over the last 20 years, the number of Canadians being treated for kidney failure has tripled. A kidney transplant is often considered the best treatment for these patients, allowing them to live longer and with a greater quality of life than experienced on dialysis. Unfortunately, on average, a transplanted kidney will fail after approximately 10-15 years, resulting in patients having to return on dialysis. In order to increase the life-span of a transplanted kidney, a better understanding of transplant failure is needed.

Acute Kidney Injury (AKI), a rapid loss of the kidney function, is one of the causes of kidney failure. While the causes of AKI are numerous, some common ones include severe infections or heart attacks. Dr. Molnar’s study will closely examine the relationship between episodes of AKI resulting in death or the failure of a kidney transplant over time. The study will be done by looking back through the healthcare records of kidney transplant patients who suffered an episode of AKI to determine if patients with AKI experienced failure of their kidney transplant sooner or died sooner compared to patients without AKI. The study will also examine what characteristics among kidney transplant patients that experience AKI further increase the risk of death or transplant failure.

Findings would allow doctors to work on preventing or treating AKI, as well as improve the monitoring of patients after an acute episode. Knowing more about why kidney transplants fail over time will contribute to making long-lasting kidney transplantation possible.


New Investigator Awards
Dr. Navdeep Tangri, M.D.
University of Manitoba



Dr. Navdeep Tangri is a new investigator at the University of Manitoba where he obtained his M.D. He completed a KRESCENT Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Clinical Research in Nephrology with Dr. Andrew Levey at the Tufts University in Boston where he also completed his Ph.D. in Clinical and Translational Science. Dr. Tangri’s research focuses on the outcomes of chronic kidney diseases (CKD).

CKD affects over one million Canadians and causes an increased risk of heart disease and dialysis. The aim of Dr. Tangri’s research is to study patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) - an abnormal heart rhythm, and CKD. Atrial fibrillation can lead to strokes by forming blood clots in the heart and it is usually treated with the use of blood thinners. However, these anticoagulants have side effects including major bleeding. Dr. Tangri will look at the long-term risk of strokes and bleeding in patients with CKD to determine whether blood thinners are safe and effective in this population. Findings will help doctors provide better treatments for CKD patients and reduce the risk of strokes and bleeding in this population.


Dr. Darren Yuen, M.D.
St. Michael's Hospital



Dr. Darren Yuen is a new investigator at the University of Toronto where he obtained his M.D. and Ph.D. in the Faculty of Medicine. He previously held a KRESCENT Post-Doctoral Fellowship (2008-2011). His current study targets the actin cytoskeleton to treat kidney disease. It is aimed at developing and testing new therapies on the areas of change occurring in kidney cells at different stages following injury.

The cytoskeleton is a protein skeleton contained within a cell that determines its shape, motion and behavior. It plays an important role in kidney injury. For instance, the cytoskeleton of kidney endothelial cells, the inner lining of the blood vessels in the kidney, help control new blood vessel growth. In the healthy kidney, blood vessel growth and death are balanced, leading to preservation of the blood vessel networks in the kidney. Following many types of kidney injury, however, this balance is disrupted, in part due to changes in the endothelial cell cytoskeleton. Similarly, the cytoskeleton of fibroblasts, the cells responsible for scar tissue production, is altered by kidney injury in ways that predispose it to irreversible scarring of the kidneys.

Dr. Yuen will examine therapies that target a previously unrecognized regulator (Slit2) of cytoskeletal changes driving the excessive kidney blood vessel growth that occurs early in diabetes and which predisposes to later injury. These proposed studies are based on extensive preliminary data, and will use cutting edge techniques established in the lab.

Findings will increase the understanding of how cytoskeleton changes in kidney cells contribute to kidney injury and will help identify safe and effective therapies that will treat and prevent chronic kidney disease. In addition, future studies will build upon this initial work, exploring therapies targeting late stage kidney disease that help reduce scarring and preserve kidney blood vessels when they begin to die off.






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