Centre for Inflammation Research

Professor Jeremy Hughes

Jeremy Hughes' research focuses upon the role of a particular white blood cell called the macrophage in both kidney injury and healing.

Professor Jeremy Hughes

Chair of Experimental Nephrology

  • Centre for Inflammation Research

Contact details

Group Members

  • David Ferenbach - Wellcome Trust Intermediate Clinical Fellow
  • Eoin O'Sullivan - PhD student (co-supervised with David Ferenbach)
  • Oliver Teenan - PhD student (co-supervised with Laura Denby and Carmel Moran)

Key collaborators

David Ferenbach
Bryan Conway
Laura Denby
Katy Mylonas



The group is interested in the role of macrophages in the initiation, progression and resolution of inflammatory processes. Current areas of interests include:

  • The effect of macrophage interactions with apoptotic cells upon subsequent macrophage behaviour
  • Mechanisms underlying macrophage cytotoxicity to tubular epithelial cells and microvascular endothelial cells in vitro and in vivo in experimental models of renal inflammation including transplantation
  • The role of macrophages in progressive and reversible scarring including their interaction with renal fibroblasts
  • Monocyte and macrophage trafficking to/from the kidney
  • Macrophages and lymphangiogenesis


Although the macrophage may be responsible for significant tissue injury, there is accumulating evidence that macrophages are also key players in the resolution of inflammation. Several of the group are clinical nephrologists and there is thus a particular interest in the role of macrophages in renal injury and repair. Factors that regulate the egress of macrophages from both inflamed and regenerating kidneys are currently unclear and these are active areas of study, eg macrophage involvement in the generation of new lymphatic vessels and the regulation of macrophage emigration via the lymphatic system. Macrophages are also key to the resolution of inflammation and scarring and this is studied in the context of renal regeneration. The aim is to understand more fully the diverse function of macrophages in renal disease with the goal of exploiting this for therapeutic gain.


A combination of in vitro and in vivo techniques is used to dissect macrophage function. Recent work has utilised a transgenic system for conditional macrophage ablation whilst experimental models used include peritonitis, pleurisy, renal ischaemia-reperfusion injury, irreversible and reversible ureteric obstruction and renal transplantation (Ms Lorna Marson runs the murine transplantation programme).

Other responsibilities

Director of Year 3 of Edinburgh Medical School (2015 – current)
Programme Lead for new BMedSci in Health Sciences (2017 – current)
Chair of Kidney Research UK (2018- current)
Chair of UK Kidney Research Consortium (2018- current)
Associate Director of Edinburgh Clinical Academic Training (ECAT) Programme (2014- current)

Research Overview

Kidneys are vulnerable to various kinds of injury such as progressive scarring, an acute fall in the flow of blood through the kidney or attack by the immune system. My research focuses upon the role of a particular white blood cell called the macrophage in both kidney injury and healing. In addition, we are interested in using macrophages derived from blood cells or stem cells that have been modified to become anti-inflammatory to reduce kidney injury and promote healing. Work is currently using experimental systems, but the aim is to eventually translate the ideas to a human context and develop novel therapies for renal disease.

Sources of Funding

Kidney Research UK

More information on funding at Jeremy Hughes' Research Explorer profile.