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Dr McKnight’s Multi-omic factors that influence human disease, particularly kidney disease.  Laboratories are well-equipped, including high-density array scanners and next generation sequencing machines.  Her team are building the NICOLA bioresource with a focus on older individuals.  Whole genome sequencing of 1,278 individuals for rare diseases is underway as part of the NI Genomic Medicine Centre with the complementary development of an online information hub and patient-centred pathways.  They hold several registries and are actively engaged in making maximal use of complex genomic information. 

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Open to PhD applications researching:

  • Genetic-epigenetic-transcriptomic association studies for kidney disease.
  • Multi-omic risk factors for rare disease, and common diseases with a focus in aging populations.
  • Information and communication provision for kidney disease and rare disease(s).
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  • Our research has significant outreach activities with regular public and press engagement.




Faculty of Medicine, Health and Life Sciences

School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences

Wellcome-Wolfson Institute For Experimental Medicine

Centre for Experimental Medicine

Institute for Health Sciences

Research students

PhD Title: Identification and evaluation of genomic biomarkers for chronic kidney disease

Name: Kerry Anderson

Years of Study: Year 1

Country: UK

PhD Title: Improving communication and identifying priorities for modernising rare disease services with healthcare practitioners, patients, families and advocacy groups

Name: Ashleen Crowe

Years of Study: Year 1

Country: UK

PhD Title: Genomic and Bio-informatic Interrogation for Rare Diseases: translating multi-omic research into clinical progress

Name: Katie Kerr

Years of Study: Year 1

Country: UK

Research students

PhD Title: Next generation sequencing and genome-wide association studies to identify mitochondrial genomic features associated with diabetic kidney disease

Name: Ryan Skelly

Years of Study: Year 2

Country: UK

PhD Title: Genomic and bioinformatic analyses to identify mitochondrial genomic features associated with chronic kidney disease

Name: Ruaidhri Cappa

Years of Study: Year 2

Country: UK

PhD Title: Exploring genetic and epigenetic interactions for chronic kidney disease

Name: Caitlin Bailie

Years of Study: Year 3

Country: UK

Alumni: where are they now?

Dr Jennifer McCaughan

PhD Title: Long term outcomes in kidney transplantation

Years of Study: 2012- 2015

Country: UK

Current position: Clinician Scientist Lead for the H&I Laboratory and Consultant Nephrologist, Belfast Health & Social Care Trust

Dr Seamus Duffy

PhD Title:  Investigating genetic, epigenetic and biological ageing mechanisms in complications of type 1 diabetes

Years of Study: 2013-2016

Country: India

Current position: Senior Clinical Bioinformaticist, Belfast Health and Social Care Trust

Dr Laura Smyth

PhD Title: Investigations into genetic and epigenetic features in Chronic Kidney Disease

Years of Study: 2012-2015
Country: UK
Current position: Post Doctoral Research Fellow, Queen’s University Belfast

Dr Katie Benson

PhD Title: Genetics of new onset diabetes after transplantation

Years of Study: 2013-2016
Country: UK
Current position: Post Doctoral Research Fellow, Royal College of Surgeons Ireland

Research at Queen's

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