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 Adrian Spencer Woolf

Adrian Spencer Woolf


Professor of Paediatric Science, Institute of Human Development, Faculty of Medical and Human Sciences, University of Manchester, and Honorary Consultant, Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital


1981 MB BS, University of London; 1982 MA, University of Cambridge; 1984 MRCP II UK; 1989 MD Thesis, University of London

Special interests

I am a clinician-scientist with a focus on finding out why some people are born with kidney and urinary tract malformations. I run a Renal Genetics clinic in the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital. Making a specific genetic diagnosis can provide a family with an answer to their often long-sought question “why was our child born with kidney disease”. I take part in similar clinic, seeing Adults with genetic kidney problems, in the St. Mary’s Hospital.

Brief biography

I was born in London where I did my A Levels at St Paul’s School and then obtained my pre-clinical and clinical medical degrees at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, and Westminster Hospital, London (1975-1981). I began to train in Adult Nephrology at the “Three Ps” and the Middlesex and University College Hospitals in London. When I was a Travelling Research Fellow at University of California at Los Angeles (1989-1991), I became interested in how kidneys form and grow before birth. When I returned to the UK, given both financial security and academic freedom from a National Kidney Research Fund Senior Fellowship, I went into this field in detail, working in a Developmental Biology laboratory and seeing children born with kidney problems. In 1998, I established an academic Unit for Nephrology and Urology at the University College London Institute of Child Health. As Professor of Nephrology, I headed the Unit through to 2009. In 2006 I initiated a Renal Genetics clinic at Great Ormond Street Hospital. In 2010 I took up a new Chair, Professor of Paediatric Science, in the University of Manchester. In 2010, with Clinical Genetics colleagues, I established a Renal Genetics clinic at the Royal Manchester Children's Hospital. In 2012, with Adult Nephrology and Clinical Genetics input, we set up an Adult Renal Genetics clinic at St. Mary’s Hospital. In 2011, I became lead of the Phase II Nutrition, Metabolism and Excretion Module in the Manchester Medical School. We introduced web-based lectures and interactive clinical cases, aiming to achieve learning and teaching parity across our multi-site campus. My research unites Paediatric and Adult Nephrology, Urology, Genetics, Fetal Medicine and Histopathology clinical services with the sciences of Developmental Biology and Molecular Biology. I have published over 100 original research publications. I have supervised clinical and science students leading to eleven PhD, three MD and two MSc awarded theses. I was a Trustee and Honorary Secretary of The Renal Association (2000-2004) and was Research Secretary of the British Association for Paediatric Nephrology (2000-2002). I served on the Kidney Research UK grants committee (1997-2002), and joined their Board of Trustees in 2012. I enjoy explaining my research to non-specialist audiences and I have given interactive talks to schools in the UK and France.

View details about my University work.