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Matthew Newcombe-Ellis - chair of trustees

Prior to joining Kidney Research UK, Matthew has been chair of trustees for Prostate Cancer Research for the last five years and a trustee since 2016.

During this time, Prostate Cancer Research has trebled its fundraising income and significantly expanded the portfolio of research that it funds, including leading researchers at universities and academic institutions in the UK and US, supporting translational research in partnership with leading pharma and biotechs, and a programme of grants focused on addressing the racial inequalities in prostate cancer.

Before moving into the charity sector, Matthew worked in investment banking for 15 years, advising on over $300bn of mergers and acquisitions for some of the largest companies in the UK.

Matthew is also a director of Cambridge spin-out Constructive Bio, whose platform technologies allow the fundamental reprogramming of the genetic code to create new classes of enzymes, pharmaceuticals and biomaterials.

Ben Digby

Ben Digby

Ben is vice chair, chair of the nominations and governance committee and a member of the remuneration committee. His professional background is in government relations and he is currently Head of Global Trade Policy for HSBC, responsible for international public policy on trade issues and serving as a member of the UK Government’s Expert Trade Advisory Group on financial services.

Before joining HSBC he spent 12 years at the CBI, latterly as their International Director, responsible for international policy and an office network in India, China and the United States.

Ben was diagnosed with minimal change nephrotic syndrome when he was eighteen months old and was treated at Stoke Mandeville, Ipswich and the Royal London Homeopathic Hospital. He was discharged at 21 and has had no subsequent relapses. He initially got involved with Kidney Research UK in 2016 as a member of the charity’s Lay Advisory Group.

Ben lives in Farnham with his wife Amy and daughter Alba-Grace.

Lisa Chan

Lisa Chan

Lisa is a seasoned finance executive with 25 years of senior management experience in corporate and investment banking across Europe, North America and Asia.

She has a degree in Applied Sciences Electrical Engineering from the University of British Columbia and a Masters degree in Business Administration from the University of Western Ontario.

Lisa has had an extensive career in risk management. Until recently, she was group head of the European Credit Division at MUFG Bank in London. Prior to that she spent 15 years at Morgan Stanley as a managing director leading the firm’s European capital markets risk management team. Earlier in her career, Lisa worked in engineering services with the Swire Group in Hong Kong.

Lisa is passionate about kidney research as her mother was a chronic kidney disease patient. Lisa lives in London with her husband and daughter. In her free time, she enjoys cooking and experimenting with gluten free recipes, travelling and Pilates.


John Cunningham

John is one of the Professors of Nephrology at University College London Medical School and The Royal Free Hospital and an Honorary Fellow of Trinity Hall, University of Cambridge.

"En route I have spent time at Cambridge and Oxford Universities also the University of California and Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, USA from where I became a consultant at The London Hospital, Whitechapel from 1982, moving to my current positions in  2003. I work in general nephrology with niches in metabolic medicine and in the interplay between kidney, cardiovascular system and bone. Over the years I have run research programmes trying to understand why kidney patients are so prone to heart disease and fractures, problem areas that are closely connected.

Supporting education and research is central to what we all try to do and is energized by the buzz that the young transmit upstream to the pleasure and benefit of all concerned. A stint as Sub‑Dean for Student Admissions (1990‑1997) required me to meet and interview large numbers of young men and women, many of them outstanding individuals. The ability of some of them to reach the highest level despite having to handle the most adverse circumstances is a source of wonder to me and I am fortunate that I can still mix with young people through my appointments at UCL and Cambridge.

My career has been somewhat hybrid and this breadth emphasises to me the critical role of research and education orientated charities. I was a Special Trustee to The London Hospital (now Barts and The London Charity And Related Charities) and I continue with The St Peter’s Trust, The Astor Foundation and Kidney Research UK.

Spare time? A blend of family, music, sport and current affairs."

Simon Davies

Simon Davies

Simon is Professor of Nephrology and Dialysis Medicine at Keele University and an Honorary Consultant Nephrologist at the University Hospital of North Staffordshire. He undertook his medical training at King’s College Hospital and his research degree at Guy’s Hospital in London before moving to the North Midlands.

For many years his research has focussed on peritoneal dialysis, especially the role of the peritoneal membrane in determining the success of this treatment for kidney failure. This led to an increasing focus on the management of fluid status in both peritoneal and haemodialysis and the understanding of centre-level practices in improving the experience of dialysis treatment.

From 2010 to 2012 he was president of the International Society of Peritoneal Dialysis, a role which spurred his interest in the problem of equity of access to treatments for kidney failure. He currently co-leads the International Society of Nephrology’s Kidney Failure Strategy and is developing their toolkit for dialysis in resource-limited settings in conjunction with the WHO, as well as leading health services research on access to home therapies closer to home.

Music is his lifelong passion outside work. He conducts the Border Singers, based in nearby Shropshire, and sings regularly with the Manchester Chamber Choir. He has recently completed a research degree in music composition at the University of Birmingham.

Ian Dodd

Ian Dodd

Ian is a commercial accountant with over 30 years' experience across a variety of sectors mainly within the travel industry but also with time in financial services, manufacturing, leisure and utilities.

Whilst at Thomas Cook, Ian spent a short period of time as a trustee for the Thomas Cook Children's Charity and also combined his love of sport by working on several sporting and Olympic projects.

Ian's finance career has primarily been centred around partnering non-finance leaders, helping them to understand their performance, improve decision making and deliver against budgets.

Ian lives in Northamptonshire with his wife and two sons. Outside of work, Ian enjoys walking the dog, watching all sports especially football & cricket and attending music concerts. When feeling more energetic he can be seen mountain biking, running or doing a bootcamp at the gym!


Dr David Hughes

David has been an NHS Consultant, from 1993 until retirement from clinical practice in 2019, looking after children with kidney diseases. After training in paediatric nephrology in Glasgow and Toronto, he took up his first consultant post at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool. In 2005 he moved to the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Glasgow.

David was the national clinical lead during the initial five years establishing the Scottish Paediatric Renal and Urology Network. This government-supported initiative established a national managed clinical network delivering specialist paediatric renal services closer to home in all paediatric centres across Scotland.

In 2015 David was elected President of the British Association for Paediatric Nephrology. During his three-year tenure he also served as a trustee of the Renal Association.

David has witnessed exciting developments in scientific and clinical research in UK paediatric nephrology through his consultant career. He has been an active supporter of and participant in multi-centre research led by his clinical colleagues nationally. He believes that the integration of research findings into paediatric clinical practice is a key part of improving everyday care to children. Research and clinical networks have afforded an opportunity both to collaborate in research and to disseminate learning.

David’s interests include travel, photography, music and, as a guilty pleasure, reading crime novels.

Professor Liz Lightstone

Professor Liz Lightstone

Liz is Professor of Renal Medicine at Imperial College London and based at the Hammersmith Hospital where she has been a consultant renal physician since 1995. She studied at Cambridge and King's College Hospital Medical School, trained in Renal Medicine at the Hammersmith and did her PhD at UCL, funded by the MRC.  She then won a clinician scientist fellowship from the MRC and returned to what was then the Royal Postgraduate Medical School and has never left!

Her research interests are broad but largely focus on improving the outcomes for patients with glomerulonephritis, especially that due to lupus; and to helping women with kidney disease plan and have successful pregnancies. She is considered an international expert in these areas and has contributed to guidelines in both areas, most recently for the British Society of Rheumatology for Lupus and for NICE and the Renal Association for pregnancy.

Liz has also had a longstanding interest in kidney disease in minority ethnic groups and wrote the ABLE report for the charity back in 2001. She has been delighted to see the launch of the Health Inequalities report in 2019, which has a much broader remit.

She is a passionate advocate of clinicians being trained in research, both basic and translational, and through previous and current roles has actively supported and helped develop academic training programmes for foundation doctors and renal trainees at Imperial and in North West Thames colleges.

Outside of work, Liz is a keen traveller – and in the last few years has enjoyed exploring Sri Lanka, India, Thailand, Australia and Alaska as well as many European cities closer to home. She also enjoys theatre, cinema, live music and one day plans to try glamping at Glastonbury!

John E. Milad

John E. Milad

John E. Milad has dedicated 14 years of his professional life to making dialysis more accessible to patients. As co-founder, investor and, until recently, Chief Executive Officer of Quanta Dialysis Technologies, he helped develop and launch a portable haemodialysis system to enable more patients to dialyse at home.

He has an extensive background in venture capital and innovation in the healthcare and life sciences sectors through roles at Atlas Venture, NBGI Ventures and Downing LLP. His contributions include being a member of the selection committee for the National Institute for Health Research's (NIHR) Invention for Innovation (i4i) program, which focuses on advancing translational research.

In addition, he has held positions on the boards of eight life sciences start-ups working to transform healthcare. Beyond board participation, he also shares his expertise as a business mentor at the Enterprise Hub at the Royal Academy of Engineering. John was named in the Sunday Times Maserati List as one of the UK's "Top 100 Game Changing Innovators and Entrepreneurs" and is a recipient of the prestigious MacRobert Award from the Royal Academy of Engineering.

Caroline Savage

Professor Caroline Savage

Caroline is a physician scientist who, as Professor of Nephrology at University of Birmingham, led a renal research team focusing on vasculitis and related kidney disorders.

In 2010, following a sabbatical to GlaxoSmithKline, she moved to industry in order to facilitate getting medicines from the lab and into patients. At GSK she was VP and head of the early development Experimental Medicine Unit that she set up.

During 2005-2008, Caroline was a trustee of Kidney Research UK. She has been a member of the Kidney Research UK Grants Committee and served as first Academic VP of the Renal Association for three years from 2007. She is an active fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences. She returned as a trustee to Kidney Research UK in 2019 and is particularly interested in alternative funding models.

Lady with long blonde hair and a black top

Professor Claire Sharpe

Consultant nephrologist Professor Claire Sharpe became Dean of Education at the University of Nottingham School of Medicine in 2022Her research has focused on how scarring (fibrosis) causes kidney failure and she received funding from institutions including Kidney Research UK, the National Institute for Healthcare Research (NIHR) and the Medical Research Council (MRC).

In continuing her 20-year career as a clinical academic, she also supervises a PhD student at King’s College London and continues to do clinical practice at King’s College Hospital. Claire also served on Kidney Research UK’s grant review committee for six years and she played a key role in the formation of the UK Kidney Association as treasurer and trustee.  

Angela Watt

Angela Watt

Angela has worked as a renal nurse for two decades and has first-hand experience of the effect of kidney disease.

"I come from a family that has been affected by kidney disease over 5 generations and as well as living with chronic kidney disease (CKD) myself I am also the parent of a child with CKD. My family’s experience has enabled me to see the impact that research has had on the treatment and management of this condition. I am passionate about getting patients actively involved in research and ensuring they have access to the best evidence based care available.

"Professionally I am a registered nurse and have worked in renal care for almost 20 years, firstly in the Shetland Islands and now in my home town of Newcastle. I am a member of the Renal Association and the Association of Nephrology Nurses UK. I also have a BA Hons degree in Literature.

"I am married with 3 children. Away from work I enjoy reading, going to the theatre, travelling and watching cricket and football."

Read more about why Angela became a trustee.


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