Professor David Harris is a nephrologist who is internationally recognised for his research on the prevention and management of early and late-stage chronic kidney disease (CKD) and his work on preventing/slowing CKD progression. He is Director of Nephrology & Dialysis in Western Sydney Renal Service, President-elect of the International Society of Nephrology and Past-President of the Asian Pacific Society of Nephrology. Professor Harris is an international expert in renal dialysis and leader in the field of tubular interstitial disease and CKD. His research has generated important novel observations and advances, including identifying contributors to CKD progression such as tubular hypermetabolism, oxidant damage, proteinuric tubular injury and interstitial inflammation, and highlighting the potential of regulatory cells and DNA vaccination for treating CKD. He co-led the IDEAL trial, a 10-year study assessing early versus late initiation of dialysis for end-stage kidney disease. Considered one of the most influential trials in nephrology, the results have led to major changes in dialysis practice worldwide. Professor Harris has held numerous executive positions in national and international nephrology organisations, helping advance the governance and structure of nephrological clinical practice, teaching and research around the world. Professor Harris has contributed to Australian and international nephrology guidelines including CARI and KDIGO. He has received many awards recognising his professional contributions including Kidney Health Australia?s highest scientific honour, the Kincaid-Smith Medal (2012) for outstanding clinical and scientific achievement in research into treatment of diseases of the kidney and urinary tract, and the SMS Distinguished Professorial Award, 2016.


Nephrology, Novel treatments, Chronic kidney disease, Kidney disease progression, Dialysis


Obesity, Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease, Healthy Ageing, Lifespan

Clinical Specialty


Research Focus

Professor Harris leads clinical research on the prevention and management of CKD including studies on peritoneal and haemodialysis for the management of patients with end-stage kidney disease. Additionally, he directs a laboratory research program focused on understanding the pathophysiology of CKD progression and more recently, the use of cellular and other novel approaches to slow CKD progression. He has been involved in numerous investigator- and industry-initiated clinical trials, the results of which have contributed significantly to clinical practice and informed Australian and international guidelines. Chief among these was the IDEAL trial (New England Journal of Medicine 2010) which showed planned early initiation of dialysis in patients with stage V CKD was not associated with an improvement in survival or clinical outcomes, challenging prevailing clinical practice and leading to changes to guidelines on dialysis.In recent years he has collaborated in the Blue Mountains Eye Study studying eye and other diseases in CKD. Currently he is a chief investigator in a randomised controlled trial aimed at slowing the progression of renal failure due to autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD) and CKD-FIX, a trial of allopurinol in the slowing of kidney disease progression.

His laboratory research on the pathophysiology of CKD progression has led to major findings including highlighting the importance of renal cell hypermetabolism, proteinuria, pro-inflammatory changes in renal cells, oxidative stress-related injury, NFkB, epithelial mesenchymal transition, matrix metalloproteinases and interstitial inflammation, in disease progression. His paper on treating renal disease with macrophages was editorialised in Kidney International, and his article on regulatory cells was reviewed in Nature Clinical Practice Rheumatology. Current projects are investigating the mechanisms underlying kidney fibrosis development to help identify potential therapeutic targets. Other studies aim to define the role of regulatory cells such as renal mononuclear phagocytes in CKD progression.

Professor Harris? team also is investigating novel therapies such as DNA vaccination and regulatory lymphocytes, macrophages and dendritic cells, to slow disease progression.

Other Affiliations

Faculty of Medicine and Health > Westmead Clinical School > Westmead Clinical School