Prof Catherine Godson delivers the Barry Brenner Lectureship during ASN Kidney Week


On 3 November, Professor Catherine Godson, UCD School Of Medicine, delivered the Barry M. Brenner, MD, Endowed Lecture during the American Society of Nephrology (ASN)’s Kidney Week - the world's premier nephrology meeting. The annual Brenner lecturehip recognises a distinguished scholar who has made a significant impact on kidney disease research.

Kidney disease is a common and devastating complication of diabetes, and represents a major public health problem worldwide. Professor Godson shared insights into her leading collaborative research on diabetic kidney disease, which has successfully identified several novel mediators of progression and potential regression in this condition. 

A portrait photo of Catherine Godson
Prof Catherine Godson

A Full Professor of Molecular Medicine at UCD, Director of the UCD Diabetes Complications Research Centre, and Visiting Professor at the Diabetes Centre of Monash University in Melbourne, Professor Godson leads a group of investigators focusing on innate immunity and chronic complications of diabetes. They have identified several novel therapeutic targets, susceptibility genes, and potential modulators of disease. The group has also made noteworthy progress toward understanding inflammatory processes in these contexts.

On being awarded the Brenner Lectureship, Professor Godson said. “I am really delighted to receive this honour. Dr Barry Brenner was the parent of contemporary nephrology and his achievements in translating painstaking basic research to enhanced patient care are truly impactful. This award recognises our achievements, and those of our collaborators including Professor Pat Guiry and his team in UCD School of Chemistry, Professors Mark Cooper and Phil Kantharidis at Monash University Melbourne - with whom we work very closely, and leading researchers at Queen University Belfast, Harvard University and MIT.” 

Professor Godson commented, “It is very timely that our work from UCD Conway Institute is honoured almost exactly 20 years since the institute opened its doors. This programme of research started at laboratories in the Mater Hospital and really gained momentum in UCD Conway, through improved access to leading technologies and interdisciplinary teams. Conway is part of the enduring legacy of Atlantic Philanthropies and public funding. The overarching ambition was to develop world class, internationally competitive research, and this award is evidence of realising that opportunity."

“The progress of our work reflects the funding received from Science Foundation Ireland and the Health Research Board over two decades, and more recently, strategic research awards from the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) New York and generous support from the UCD Foundation. We now seek to further develop on these findings by commercial development of some of the technologies through a UCD spinout company, Attenuate Therapeutics.”

A graduate of UCD, Professor Godson completed fellowships in the University of Geneva and the University of California San Diego, before joining the faculty of Harvard University and later returning to Dublin. She has served on the Health Research Board of Ireland, the European Medical Research Council, and the Wellcome Trust's Physiological Sciences Committee. She serves as Secretary for Science of the Royal Irish Academy, is a trustee of Barts Charity, London, on the Board of the Irish Research Council and was recently appointed a Non Executive Director, Kerry Group.

Professor Godson has received numerous honours, including the Women in Science award of the International Association of Inflammation Societies, the Robert Graves Lecture and Medal 2021 of the Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland, and the outstanding achievement award of the International Eicosanoid Research Foundation 2022.