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New data science ‘catalyst’ aims to transform kidney patients’ lives

04 June 2024

Nephrologist Dr Samira Bell has been named Associate Director of the new Kidney Data Science Catalyst – a partnership between the British Heart Foundation (BHF) Data Science Centre at Health Data Research UK (HDR UK), Kidney Research UK, and the BHF – where she will lead on urgently needed data-led research to improve kidney and heart health. 

About the catalyst

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a strong risk factor for the development of cardiovascular disease which is the leading cause of adverse outcomes including death in people with CKD. The catalyst will enable researchers to securely access, link and analyse existing UK health data, speeding up the search for better kidney and cardiovascular disease prevention, treatments and care. 

Headshot of female with brown hair wearing a white shirt and blue jacket
Dr Samira Bell

Meet Dr Samira Bell

Dr Bell is a Clinical Reader in the Division of Population Health and Genomics at the University of Dundee and an Honorary Consultant Nephrologist at NHS Tayside. Her research interests lie in the use of routinely collected healthcare data to improve care and outcomes of people with kidney disease. She is currently Chair of the Scottish Renal Registry at Public Health Scotland and Co-chair of the UK Renal Health Data Network.    

Chronic kidney disease currently affects around 1 in 10 people with a strong association with cardiovascular disease. I am therefore very excited to be joining the BHF Data Science Centre to lead data driven work which will improve care and outcomes of people with kidney disease.” Dr Samira Bell

Accelerating research

Professor Cathie Sudlow, Director of the BHF Data Science Centre and Chief Scientist of Health Data Research UK, and Professor Steffen Petersen, Deputy Director of the BHF Data Science Centre said: “We are delighted to have appointed Dr Samira Bell to lead the Kidney Data Science Catalyst. This area of work will accelerate research at the interface of kidney and cardiovascular diseases, influencing health policy, clinical practice and patient care. By applying advanced analysis methods to the UK’s vast health data resources, researchers will uncover new clues to the causes and consequences of kidney disease – ultimately improving the lives of patients with kidney disease and those who care for them.” 

Patient and public involvement

As part of the catalyst, patients and members of the public affected by kidney disease will be involved at all stages of research, prioritising studies with the most potential impact for patients, families and carers. 

Dr Aisling McMahon, Executive director of research at Kidney Research UK said: “The need to find new approaches to prevent, diagnose and manage chronic kidney disease has never been more urgent . Using patient data within this new secure environment will provide new ways to meet this challenge. We are delighted with the appointment of Dr Samira Bell as Associate Director and are confident that this new partnership will further enable us to accelerate research for patients and their families.”  

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