Renowned nephrologist receives Monash University promotion

Head of Transplantation and Deputy Director of Nephrology at Monash Medical Centre John Kanellis has been recognised for his outstanding clinical work and research, receiving an academic promotion at Monash University.

Adjunct Clinical Professor Kanellis’ early research focused on the role of Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) in renal disease as well as various other inflammatory pathways and their role in renal and cardiovascular disease and in hypertension.

In more recent years, Professor Kanellis’ basic and clinical research has focussed on transplantation.

“PhD students under our supervision in the renal laboratory (headed by Professor David Nikolic-Paterson) have studied antibody mediated rejection of kidney transplants, and we’ve developed a unique animal model to better study this clinical problem which has very limited therapeutic options,” Professor Kanellis said.

“Given the large size of the transplant unit at Monash Medical Centre—more than 900 patients with current transplants—clinical research has been very collaborative.”

“Over the last decade, our unit has been heavily involved in studies of new immunosuppressive agents and new immunosuppressive regimens.”

“In collaboration with colleagues at the University of Sydney, we’ve undertaken qualitative research involving quality of life improvements from transplantation as well as psychological aspects of living donation,” Professor Kanellis said.

Under Professor Kanellis’ leadership, Monash Transplant has grown immensely in the last decade, seeing more than 100 patients every week with functioning transplants in their clinics.

“We perform approximately 100 new transplants every year, including kidney-only transplants as well as double kidney and pancreas transplants—for type 1 diabetics,” Professor Kanellis said.

Monash Medical Centre is a Nationally Funded Centre (1 of only 2 in Australia) for pancreas transplantation.

“We service Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia with this unique activity, performing 20-25 new double transplants per year, and we also have a very active living kidney donor programme.”

Beyond his clinical and research activities, Professor Kanellis has lectured medical students and supervised several BMedSc(Hons) and PhD students.

He is the current Chair of the National Renal Transplant Advisory Committee, the peak national advisory body for kidney transplantation in Australia.

Professor Kanellis said he feels honoured be recognised for his work through this promotion.

“I owe much credit to my clinical and basic science colleagues, our transplant team (clinicians, surgeons and nurses) and the renal fellows, PhD students and to my wonderful family for their endless support,” Professor Kanellis said.

“I would also like to acknowledge all the patients. Collectively we are all striving to help them through our activities and I am very lucky to have such an interesting and rewarding job.”