Post-Doctoral Fellowships

Dr. Dylan Burger
Ottawa Hospital Research Institute
Supervisor: Dr. Rhian Touyz


Dylan Burger will undertake his Post-Doctoral Fellowship under the mentorship of Dr. Rhian Touyz at the Kidney Research Centre, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute where he will study how microparticles may contribute to hypertension. Microparticles are tiny pieces of cells that are released from dying cells in the body. Recently it has been found that the levels of microparticles in the blood are increased in many diseases, including hypertension. These tiny pieces of cells appear to be able to exert significant effects on the body such as promoting the clotting of blood. Understanding the proteins carried by microparticles and the signaling that microparticles activate in living cells can potentially help develop new drug treatments for hypertension, as well as other disease processes such as heart and kidney failure.

  Dr. Sacha De Serres, M.D.
Harvard Medical School
Supervisor: Dr. Nader Najafian


Sacha De Serres is a nephrologist from Université Laval. He has started his Post-Doctoral Fellowship at Bringham and Women’s Hospital at Harvard University, where as a fellow in immunology of transplantation in Dr. Nader Najafian’s laboratory, he will attempt to identify biomarkers of chronic and acute kidney rejection from cohorts of renal transplant recipients. The findings are expected to contribute to the development of new noninvasive tools that will be helpful in the adjustment of immunosuppressive drugs. The hope is to make these tools useful to guide antirejection therapy, not only for renal transplant recipients, but for other organ recipients as well. Upon completion of his training, Dr. De Serres intends to return to Université Laval to pursue his career as an independent clinician scientist.

Dr. Ghada Kurban
Ontario Cancer Institute
Supervisors: Drs. Brenda Gallie and Michael Jewett


Ghada Kurban will pursue her post-doctoral research project under the supervision of Drs. Brenda Gallie and Michael Jewett at the Ontario Cancer Institute, located at Princess Margaret Hospital and part of the University Health Network. She aims to identify the genomic changes that distinguish the small renal masses that will progress into advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC) from those that will not. RCC is the most common type of kidney cancer with over 33% mortality rate in Canada. Her work will determine what role these genes play in the progression of kidney cancer. In the short term, these results may spare the patients whose small renal masses will not progress, unnecessary surgery. In the long term, this research may provide important insight into the onset of RCC. The target identified may lead to therapeutic intervention at an early stage when cure is still possible.

Dr. Mona Sedeek
Ottawa Hospital Research Institute
Supervisors: Drs. Rhian Touyz and Richard Hébert


Mona Sedeek will carry out her post doctoral research project under the supervision of Drs. Rhian Touyz and Richard Hébert at the Kidney Research Centre, the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute. Diabetic nephropathy is a leading cause of kidney disease. Processes underlying this are unclear, but increased production of derivatives of oxygen, called reactive oxygen species, may be important. These molecules are toxic and cause damage to many tissues, including the kidney. Many enzymes produce reactive oxygen species, including a special protein found in the kidney, called Nox4. Dr. Sedeek will try to determine the effects of diabetes on the expression and activity of Nox4, which may prove to be a therapeutic target in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus.

New Investigator Award
Dr. R. Todd Alexander, M.D.
University of Alberta


R. Todd Alexander is a new investigator at the University of Alberta and a pediatric nephrologist at the Stollery Children's Hospital. In 2007, he completed his PhD in Cell Physiology at the Hospital for Sick Children, followed by a KRESCENT Post-Doctoral Fellowship at St. Radboud University (Nijmegen, the Netherlands) under the supervision of Dr. René Bindels. His research aims to understand how calcium, once it has been filtered by the glomerulus (the filtration unit of the kidney) is reabsorbed back into the blood by the proximal tubule, a section of the kidney responsible for the reabsortion of the majority of necessary ions, minerals, vitamins, proteins etc. The molecular details of renal calcium regulation will provide novel insight into renal calcium wasting and its consequences: kidney stones and osteoporosis. Through these insights he intends to help generate new therapies for these disorders.

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