Photo of Professor Adrian S Woolf

Professor Adrian S Woolf

Professor of Paediatric Science, School of Biology, University of Manchester, and Honorary Consultant in Nephrology, Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital; and Honorary Professor, University College London.


1981 MB BS, University of London; 1982 MA, University of Cambridge; 1984 MRCP II UK; 1989 MD Thesis, University of London

Special interests

Adrian is a clinician-scientist with a focus on finding out why some people are born with kidney and urinary tract malformations. He runs a Renal Genetics clinic in RMCH. Making a specific genetic diagnosis can provide a family with an answer to their often long-sought question “why was our child born with kidney disease?” He takes part in a similar clinic, seeing adults with genetic kidney problems, in Saint Mary’s Hospital.


Adrian was born in London where he did A Levels at St Paul’s School and then obtained his pre-clinical and clinical medical degrees at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, and Westminster Hospital, London (1975-1981). He began to train in Adult Nephrology at the St Philip’s, St Peter’s and St Paul’s group of hospitals in London and the Middlesex and University College Hospitals in London.

As a Travelling Research Fellow at University of California at Los Angeles (1989-1991), Adrian became interested in how kidneys grow before birth. Returning to the UK, with a National Kidney Research Fund Senior Fellowship, he went into this field in detail, working in a Developmental Biology laboratory and also seeing children born with kidney problems.

In 1998, Adrian established an academic Unit for Nephrology and Urology at the University College London Institute of Child Health. As Professor of Nephrology, he headed the Unit through to 2009, and in 2006 he initiated a Renal Genetics clinic at Great Ormond Street Hospital.

In 2010, Adrian took up a new Chair, Professor of Paediatric Science, in The University of Manchester. In 2010, with Clinical Genetics colleagues, he established a Renal Genetics clinic at RMCH. In 2012, with Adult Nephrology and Clinical Genetics input, an adult Renal Genetics clinic was set up at Saint Mary’s Hospital.
Adrian’s research unites Paediatric and Adult Nephrology, Urology, Genetics, Fetal Medicine and Histopathology clinical services with the sciences of Developmental Biology and Molecular Biology. He has published over 130 original research publications, with the focus on trying to find out why people are sometimes born with poorly formed, or even absent, kidneys. His team is currently using stem cell technology to help understand ‘”What makes a normal kidney out of an abnormal human kidney?” with a longer term view to designing new treatments.

He have supervised clinical fellows and science students leading to 13 PhD and three MD awarded research theses. He was a Trustee and Honorary Secretary of The Renal Association (2000-2004) and was Research Secretary of the British Association for Paediatric Nephrology (2000-2002). Adrian served on the Kidney Research UK grants committee (1997-2002), and also on their Board of Trustees (2012-2018). He enjoys explaining his research to non-specialist audiences and has given interactive talks to schools. From 2016-2017 he was President of the Paediatric section of the Manchester Medical Society.

With researchers, patients, lay advisors and funding agencies, Adrian co-authored the UK Renal Research Strategy (2016), the first country-wide research blueprint for both adults and children with kidney disease. Details about his University work can be found at