Professor Albert Ong DM MA FRCP

Professor of Renal MedicineAlbert Ong

Department of Infection Immunity & Cardiovascular Disease
University of Sheffield
Medical School
Beech Hill Road
S10 2RX
United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)114 215 9542
Fax: +44 (0)114 271 1863


Albert Ong is Professor of Renal Medicine, Head of Academic Nephrology and Academic Programme Director for Renal Medicine at the University of Sheffield. Born in Malaysia, he was educated at the University of Oxford and later completed postgraduate training in medicine and nephrology at Oxford and University College London (UCL). His research career began as a Clinical Lecturer at UCL where he developed a life-long fascination with the cell biology of renal tubular cells. His research began to focus on how the newly discovered ADPKD (polycystin) proteins regulate renal tubular cell function following the award of a Kidney Research UK (KRUK) Senior Research Fellowship to work with Dr Peter Harris at the Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, Oxford. He was then recruited to the University of Sheffield as a Senior Lecturer to start his own research group, aided by a Wellcome Trust Research Leave Award. Over the past twenty years, his group has contributed many fundamental, translational and clinical research insights in ADPKD while developing a regional clinical service for rare inherited kidney diseases (including ADPKD) at Sheffield. He was the main clinical expert to the NICE appraisal panel for the use of Tolvaptan in ADPKD and chaired the Renal Association Working Group which developed the first clinical guidance for its use in the UK. He is a member of several journal editorial boards, international steering committees and scientific advisory committees including the ERA-EDTA Scientific Advisory Board and the external faculty of the Mayo Clinic Translational PKD Centre (USA).

Research Interests:

The major goals of my research have been to define the molecular basis of autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD), discover, develop and test new treatments and to improve the patient care pathway. We have identified some of the critical molecular interactions necessary for the formation, trafficking, regulation and function of the polycystin-1/polycystin-2 ADPKD protein complex and some of the key changes in cell function and signalling resulting from the disease phenotype. This information is being used to develop new therapeutic approaches using preclinical models with the ultimate goal of translation into man.

The clinical programme has focussed on improving the patient pathway for patients and families with ADPKD. Among several initiatives, we established the first UKGTN-approved comprehensive genetic diagnostic service for PKD1 and PKD2 in collaboration with the Sheffield Genetic Diagnostic Service in 2009, a tertiary multidisciplinary ADPKD clinic based at the Sheffield Kidney Institute in 2010 and have participated in several international clinical studies and trials as the UK lead centre. Currently, we are an integral part of the Yorkshire and Humber Genome Medicine Centre (GMC) and the national Renal GeCIP investigating rare genetic causes of kidney disease as part of the UK 100,000 Genomes Project.

Teaching Interests:

I am committed to the development of the next generation of clinical and non-clinical renal scientists and to postgraduate nephrology education locally, nationally and internationally especially in the area of inherited kidney diseases. I am Academic Programme Director for Nephrology and have previously served as a Board member of the EU FP7 TRANCYST initial training network and the ERA-EDTA Working Group on Inherited Kidney Diseases (WGIKD).

My wider educational interests concern the support and advancement of nephrology in the developing world. I was previously Chair of the Renal Association International Committee (2009-2013), have hosted an ISN Sister Centre, several International Society of Nephrology (ISN) fellows and am an ISN Educational Ambassador.

Professional Activities:

National and International Committees

  • UK Kidney Research Consortium (UKKRC) Clinical Study Group on Cystic Kidney Diseases - Chair (2009-2014), Deputy Chair (2014-present).
  • ADPKD in Europe Consortium - Co-chair.
  • CYSTic Consortium – Chief investigator.
  • European ADPKD Forum – Faculty member.
  • COST action (PARENCHIMA) – Steering committee.
  • Renal Association International Committee - Chair (2009-2013), Committee member.

Editorial Boards

  • Editor, Nature Scientific Reports.
  • Theme Editor, Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation.
  • Review Editor, Frontiers in Pharmacology.
  • Faculty of 1000 Medicine, Nephrology faculty.
  • Deputy Editor, Nephron Clinical Practice (2008-2012).
  • Associate Editor, BMC Nephrology (2008-2012).

Advisory Boards

  • ERA-EDTA Scientific Advisory Board.
  • Mayo Translational PKD Centre, Mayo Clinic, Rochester - External Faculty.
  • National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) Technology Appraisal of Tolvaptan for ADPKD - Nominated Clinical Expert (2013-2015).
  • Renal Genomic England Clinical Interpretation Partnership (GeCIP) – Co-chair for Cystic Diseases.
  • Federation of European Associations of Patients Affected by Genetic Diseases (FEDERG) - Scientific Council.
  • UK Chinese Life Scientists Society – Fellow.

National and International Guidelines

  • Standardised Outcomes in Nephrology –PKD (SONG-PKD) – Steering committee.
  • PKD Outcomes Consortium (PKDOC) – Committee.
  • Renal Association Working Group for Tolvaptan in ADPKD – Chair.
  • ERA-EDTA Guidance for Tolvaptan in ADPKD – Committee.
  • KDIGO Controversies Conference on ADPKD – Invited participant and discussant (2014).

Current Projects:

Major research themes  

  • Improving diagnosis, prognosis and clinical outcomes in ADPKD.
  • Understanding the molecular basis of polycystic kidney disease.
  • Factors influencing disease progression in experimental models.


For key publications see below. For a full list of publications click here.

Journal articles