Impact story: Research Excellence
Extraordinary gift to fund kidney research
Mr Jimmy Mayer, a leading Colombian manufacturing entrepreneur, made an amazing gift to the University in May 2017: £2.7 million to fund life-saving kidney research of global significance to the College of Life Sciences. This is the second gift Mr Mayer has made to further renal research. In 2014 he gave £500,000 to the Leicester research team to fund an IgA Nephropathy research programme.
IgA Nephropathy is a condition where an individual’s own antibodies settle in the kidneys and damage them by causing inflammation and scarring. Patients often do not display symptoms. Therefore, most affected people are unaware they have the condition until they have a blood or urine test. The causes are not fully known and, in extreme cases, can cause kidney failure.
The funding is being used to create dedicated research facilities – The Mayer IgA Nephropathy Laboratories – as well as a named Professorship – the Mayer Chair in Renal Medicine. Professor Jonathan Barratt of the Department of Infection Immunity and Inflammation at the University has been named to the chair. He is leading a research group, which, with the support of this vital funding, hopes to fully understand IgA Nephropathy and eventually develop new drugs to treat it. The researchers are working to establish the world’s first international registry of IgA Nephropathy patients.