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Dr Soma Meran

Dr Soma Meran

Clinical Senior Lecturer

School of Medicine

Email
merans@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone
+44 29207 48467
Campuses
Heath Park, Cardiff, CF14 4EL
Users
Available for postgraduate supervision

Overview

I am a Clinical Academic in Nephrology and Head of the Wales Kidney Research Unit Laboratories in Cardiff. I hold a Clinical Senior Lecturer position in the School of Medicine at Cardiff University and also hold an Honorary Consultant Nephrology post at both Cardiff and Vale Health Board and Aneurin Bevan Health Board. 

My main research interests are in the field of renal fibrosis. My group aims to understand and delineate the mechanisms that can prevent and/or reverse acute and progressive kidney injury leading to improved kidney health. The extracellular matrix plays an important role in maintaining biological health in our cells and tissues and aberrant extracellular matrix regulation drives disease, particularly in the kidneys. My research has shown that Hyaluronan is an extracellular matrix glycosaminoglycans, which is important in regulating stromal cell phenotype and function to influence renal health and disease. My studies focus on how this matrix component can be regulated to improve kidney recovery following injury and disease. 

My parallel research areas include peritoneal dialysis research (understanding mechanisms that drive fibrosis in the peritoneum) and cardiorenal research (understanding the cellular and molecular drivers of increased cardiovascular pathology in patients with kidney disease). 

I have a considerable interest in both undergraduate and postgraduate medical education and hold Lead teaching positions in both these areas. I was also part of the Academy of Medical Sciences SUSTAIN programme when it was first set up 2015. 

Biography

See a link to my biography published through Kidney Research UK

Link to Med Sci Life Report

Education and qualifications

  • 2020: GCP (Good Clinical Practise in Research) Certification (Health and Care Research Wales)
  • 2020: FRCP, Royal College of Physicians, UK. 
  • 2012: Certificate of Completion in Training (CCT) in Renal Medicine, General Medical Council
  • 2012: MRCP (UK, Renal Medicine),  Royal College of Physicians, UK. 
  • 2008: PhD, School of Medicine, Cardiff University. 
  • 2004: MRCP(UK), Royal College of Physicians, UK. 
  • 1993: MB ChB, University of Glasgow Medical School.

Career overview

  • 2016-Present: Clinical Senior Lecturer in Nephrology, Cardiff University School of Medicine.
  • 2016-Present: Honorary Consultant Nephrologist in Cardiff and Vale UHB and Aneurin Bevan UHB. 
  • 2013-2019: MRC Clinician Scientist Fellowship, Cardiff University School of Medicine. 
  • 2007-2013: Academic Specialist Registrar in Nephrology and Walport Clinical Lecturer, Wales Deanery. 
  • 2004-2007: Clinical Research Fellow in Renal Medicine, Institute of Nephrology, Cardiff University School of Medicine.
  • 2001-2004: Senior House Officer, South Wales Medical SHO rotations. 
  • 2001-2001: House Officer in Surgery, Victoria Infirmary, Glasgow. 
  • 2000-2001: House Officer in Medicine, Glasgow Royal Infirmary, Glasgow. 
  • 1995-2000: Glasgow University Medical Undergraduate.  

Honours and awards

  • 2013-2019: MRC Clinician Scientist Fellowship
  • 2007: Young Investigator Award, European Tissue Repair Society
  • 2021: British Transplant Society Medawar Medal awarded to PhD student Dr Charlotte Brown.
  • 2018: UK Kidney Week, Best Abstract Oral Presentation awarded to PhD student Dr Aled Williams.
  • 2017: International Soceity of Hyaluronan Sciences Conference, Cleveland, Mark Lauer Research Award to Dr Adam Midgley, postdoctoral researcher in my group. 
  • 2016: UK Kidney Week, Early Career Researcher Awarded to Dr Adam Midgley, postdoctoral researcher in my group.

Professional memberships

  • International Society of Hyaluronan Sciences Board Member. 
  • Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, UK.
  • American Society of Nephrology, Member.
  • UK Renal Association, Member.
  • Academy of Medical Science SUSTAIN candidate 2015-2016

Academic positions

  • 2012-present: Clinical Senior Lecturer in Nephrolgy, School of Medicine, Cardiff University. 
  • 2012-2019: MRC Clinician Scientist Fellow, School of Medicine, Cardiff University.
  • 2007-2012: Walport Clinical Lecturer, School of Medicine, Cardiff University.
  • 2004-2007: PhD student, School of Medicine, Cardiff University. 

Publications

2020

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

Teaching

I am the Speciality Lead for undergraduate medical education in Renal Medicine in the Nephrology and Transplant Directorate and Chair the Educational Governance committee for the department, which oversees improvement in undergraduate and postgraduate renal education and training. I sit on the Renal STC comittee in Wales and am an Educational and Clinical Supervisor to a number of speciality trainees and Foundation Programme trainees.  

I undertake supervision of research projects for PhD students and welcome enquiries into supervision of new students, including Master's students, Intercalated medical students and PTY undergraduate students. 

My recent PhD student Dr Charlotte Brown was recently awarded the Medawar Medal at the British Transplant Society Meeting in February 2021 for research undertaken in my Lab. 

Please see the Welsh Kidney Club website for more information on teaching and education activity in our department. 

Primary Research Area

My research has centred on cell and matrix biology as applied to progressive renal disease. 15% of the UK population have chronic kidney disease, placing them at increased risk of multimorbidity and death. Prevention/reversal of underlying fibro-proliferative processes that drive chronic kidney disease is not yet possible, and current clinical practice poorly predicts whether patients will develop progressive chronic kidney disease or demonstrate renal recovery and/or resolution. My group aims to identify novel molecular and cellular targets that can prevent acute and chronic kidney disease to prevent patients requiring renal replacement therapies. 

Hyaluronan is a matrix glycosaminoglycans that demonstrates increased stromal expression in all forms of acute and chronic kidney injury, with its increased expression correlating with renal outcomes. My group has identified novel targets related to Hyaluronan and its binding proteins that can both prevent and reverse fibrosis in in vitro cell systems. Current research now focuses on developing translational aspects of this research and demonstrates the in vivo relevance and applicability of these cellular targets to determine their use as biomarkers in predicting progression of renal disease, as well investigate their potential as novel anti-fibrotic therapies.

Related research areas

I also have an active interest in understanding the mechansims that drive cardiovascular pathologies in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD). CKD is now second in prevalence to heart disease in the developed world. Patients with end-stage CKD who are on dialysis have similar (if not worse) outcomes to many cancers, however this is not well recognised. Cardiovascular diasease is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in this group of patients. Unfortunately, they do not respond well to traditional cardiovascular therapies such as anti-platelet therapy, lipid lowering therapy or percutaneous angioplasty. My group aims to identify the mechanisms that drive cardiovascular pathology in patients with renal disease and investigate novel therapeutic targets. Other related areas of research within nephrology include understanding the mechanisms that drive peritoneal fibrosis and lead to peritoneal dialysis (PD) failure in patients with renal disease and am one of the Prinicipal Investigators in the Horizon 2020 funded IMPROVE PD Marie Curie ITN programme. 

COVID19 research: I collaborate with a group within the clinical Nephrology and Transplant Directorate as well as Immunology and Virolgy research groups within Cardiff University to investigate COVID19 vaccine responses in patients on haemodialysis, with similar studies being led in kidney tranplant patients run by the same group. 

Supervision

Supervised areas

  • Renal Medicine
  • Acute Kidney Injury
  • Chronic Kidney Disease
  • Peritoneal Dialysis
  • Hyaluronan and Matrix Biology
  • Fibrosis Biology
  • Cardiovascular pathology in renal disease

Past projects

PGR Projects

  • 2014-2018: Dr Aled Williams, Regulation of Hyaluronan Matrix in Peritoneal Infection, Inflammation and Fibrosis. 
  • 2018-2021: Dr Charlotte Brown,  The Role of Hyaluronan and its Receptors in the Acute Kidney Injury to Chronic Kidney Disease Continuum. 
  • 2020-ongoing: Shrea Roy, Hyaluronan Dependent Regulation of Vascular Smooth Muscle Cell Phenotype and Vascular Calcification in Peritoneal Dialysis. 
  • 2021-ongoing: Dr Aeliya Zaidi, Identifying novel stromal-mediated mechanisms that modify ischaemia-driven progressive renal injury.