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Full NameProfessor Peter Maxwell

Department:Centre for Public Health

Organisation:Queen's University Belfast

Email Address:Email hidden; Javascript is required.

Research Fields
  • genetics, genomics and molecular biology
  • epidemiology/population health research
Postgrad Medical Specialties
  • Medicine
  • Public Health
Medical Subspecialties
  • Nephrology
My Work

Prof. Maxwell has been successful in establishing several DNA collections that have facilitated large-scale, collaborative projects to identify inherited risk factors associated with kidney disease, founding the Genetics of Nephropathy and International Effort (GENIE) collaboration with colleagues in the UK, Ireland, Finland and the USA. This consortium, working on the genetic landscape of diabetic nephropathy in type 1 diabetes, has been funded by two consecutive NIDDK RO1 programme grants under the auspices of the USA-Ireland-Northern Ireland research partnership.

Prof. Maxwell also has a successful long term collaboration related to diabetic kidney disease with Prof. Catherine Godson (Conway Institute UCD) and is co-PI on an SFI-DEL programme grant (with Dr Amy Jayne McKnight and Prof Godson as PIs) that is exploring biomarkers for chronic kidney disease progression.

Prof. Maxwell has supervised > 48 postgraduate research students to completion of higher degrees.

Potential Projects

Various PhD projects are available within the Nephrology Research Group at Queen's University in conjunction with clinical training in all aspects of renal medicine at the Regional Nephrology Unit, Belfast City Hospital. Potential applicants are warmly invited to discuss their individual research interests directly with Prof. Maxwell and other nephrology research group supervisor(s).

Areas of interest

1. Genetic architecture of chronic kidney disease with particular focus on diabetic nephropathy: laboratory-based projects are available exploring genomic, epigenetic and transcriptomic risk factors for kidney disease. An active and well-funded renal research laboratory is situated in the Belfast City Hospital adjacent to the main University campus. Training would be provided in state-of-the-art molecular genetic methods and bioinformatics analyses to equip the research fellow to tackle genetic susceptibility to common complex diseases.

Diabetologia. 2014 Jun;57(6):1143-53. doi: 10.1007/s00125-014-3202-3. Epub 2014 Mar 5
Diabetologia. 2015 Mar;58(3):543-8. doi: 10.1007/s00125-014-3459-6. Epub 2014 Dec 6
J Am Soc Nephrol. 2017 Feb;28(2):557-574. doi: 10.1681/ASN.201602
Diabetes. 2018 Jul;67(7):1414-1427. doi: 10.2337/db17-0914. Epub 2018 Apr 27.
J Transl Med. 2018 Oct 25;16(1):292. doi: 10.1186/s12967-018-1664-7. Review.

2. Retinal image parameters as predictors of chronic disease outcomes - several prospective and cross-sectional studies (including UK Biobank and NICOLA) are being employed to test associations between retinal blood vessel parameters (measured using sophisticated image analysis software) and prediction of clinical outcomes in renal disease, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer's disease.

PLoS One. 2015 Sep 1;10(9):e0136434. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0136434
Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2014 Dec 18;56(1):382-7. doi: 10.1167/iovs.14-15523.
Alzheimers Dement (Amst). 2015 May 16;1(2):229-235.
Sci Rep. 2018 Mar 2;8(1):3931. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-22360-3
Sci Rep. 2018 Apr 27;8(1):6654. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-25067-7
J Nutr Health Aging. 2018;22(7):751-758. doi: 10.1007/s12603-017-0992-2

3. Renal transplant clinical outcomes and genomics - Northern Ireland has a single transplant centre with excellent prospective follow-up of recipients. The clinical database and matched DNA samples have research ethics approval for combined clinical and genetic studies (some of which have been in collaboration with the RoI national transplant centre, Beaumont Hospital, Dublin). Multiple successful projects have been completed for higher degrees.

Transplantation. 2014 Sep 27;98(6):646-52. doi: 10.1097/TP.0000000000000115
J Am Soc Nephrol. 2014 May;25(5):1037-49. doi: 10.1681/ASN.2013040383.
Nephrol Dial Transplant. 2015 Aug;30(8):1403-11. doi: 10.1093/ndt/gfv214
PLoS One. 2016 Jan 20;11(1):e0147323. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0147323
Am J Transplant. 2019 Mar;19(3):801-810. doi: 10.1111/ajt.15057. Epub 2018 Sep 5.
Am J Transplant. 2019 Feb 27. doi: 10.1111/ajt.15326. [Epub ahead of print]
N Engl J Med. 2019 May 16;380(20):1918-1928. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa1803731