September 3, 2019  Print

Dr Jennifer Li has received The Transplantation Society of Australia and New Zealand (TSANZ) President’s Prize at the 2019 TSANZ Annual Scientific Meeting.

Dr Li, a PhD student with The Westmead Institute for Medical Research’s (WIMR) Kidney Injury Group, received the award for research on kidney inflammation following renal ischemia reperfusion injury.
Renal ischemia reperfusion injury occurs following both disruption and the return of blood supply to the kidney. 

Dr Li said, “We identified that a specific mutation – I325N – in an immune-regulatory protein called A20, places the kidney at a higher risk of inflammation following an ischemia reperfusion injury”.
“Interestingly, despite this pro-inflammatory environment, the mice with this I325N mutation were actually protected from acute kidney injury”.

“More research is now needed to understand how and why this protection occurs.”

With further research, the results could be used in a precision medicine model to provide tailored management, particularly in kidney transplantation.

“By understanding more about the I325N and A20 protein mutations, we could develop a predictive test to assess the risk of tissue injury versus inflammation in kidney transplant patients, allowing clinicians to best decide the best treatment at the time.”

Dr Li said she was honoured follow in the footsteps of her colleagues, Dr Karen Keung, who received the TSANZ President’s Prize in 2017, and Dr Titi Chen, who was awarded the Young Nephrologist Award at this year’s World Congress of Nephrology.

“I was taken aback when they called out my name for the awards,” she said.

“But, it is a great feeling to have the great work from our lab recognised.”

“The recent prizes awarded to researchers in the Centre for Transplant and Renal Research highlights the fantastic environment that we work in at WIMR.”

 Dr Jennifer Li is a nephrologist and now a PhD student at The Westmead Institute for Medical Research and University of Sydney.
She is supervised by Associate Professor Natasha Rogers, Professor Philip O’Connell and Professor Stephen Alexander.