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Kidney and Hypertension Research Unit

The Kidney and Hypertension Research Unit was recently established in 2016, and is situated within the Division of Nephrology and Hypertension. The Unit is a group of approximately 40 staff and students, who through their academic and clinical activities seek to reduce death rates and improve the quality of health of people with kidney disease and hypertension particularly in the Black population of South Africa. This would be in keeping with the strategic goal of the University of Cape Town namely expanding and enhancing South Africa’s Development Challenges. 

It is the formalisation of research activities within the Division of Nephrology and Hypertension to consolidate research activities. This will enhance our capacity to successfully attract research funding and attract suitable students for post graduate courses. 

The director of the Unit is Prof Ikechi Okpechi, and the senior supervisors are Prof Brian Rayner and Dr Nicola Wearne.


Aims & scope of a unit

The Unit aims contribute to the control of hypertension and kidney disease in Sub-Saharan Africa through high quality basic science and translational research, capacity development, teaching and training, and establish itself as an international centre of excellence. Its mission statement is: Research and treatment to alleviate the burden of hypertension and kidney disease in Sub-Saharan Africa.

A range of post graduate degrees in Nephrology will be offered to students including MMed, MPhil, MSc and PhDs under the guidance of experienced supervisors. It also aims support and promote the training of nephrologists in Sub-Saharan Africa.


Key research areas

The key research area are: the genetics of resistant  hypertension and hypertensive kidney disease in people of African descent, physiological treatment of hypertension, hypertension in adolescents, HIV associated kidney disease, SLE, vascular disease and CKD, peritoneal dialysis outcomes, interaction of chronic diseases of lifestyle and HIV, glomerulonephritis and transplantation.

For further information contact Prof Okpechi at