Ongoing contributions to kidney research have seen MCRI's Professor Melissa Little receive the prestigious Alfred Newton Richards Award at the World Congress of Nephrology in Melbourne today.

The biennial award recognises Prof. Little's "superb and sustained achievements" in nephrology research over many years, particularly her work in developing mini-kidneys and regenerative treatments for kidney disease.

"I am very proud to receive this esteemed award, and it is even more special with the World Congress of Nephrology taking in place in Melbourne where I undertake my research," Prof. Little said.

"I'd like to thank the ISN committee for this recognition and also take the opportunity to pay tribute to the dedicated and passionate researchers who work alongside me at MCRI."

Over the past 25 years, Prof. Little's research has looked at how the kidney normally forms at the level of the genes and cells involved.

With this knowledge of kidney cell development, she is currently focusing on generating mini-kidneys from patient stem cells for use in drug screening and disease modelling.

In the long term, she hopes to explore the possibility of growing a new kidney from stem cells to help address the shortage of donor organs as well as transplant complications such as donor organ rejection.

The award was established in memory of Alfred Newton Richards, who developed renal tubule micropuncture in his laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania where he served as chairman of pharmacology for over three decades.

Prof. Little will celebrate the accolade with international industry peers at a special event during the Congress, which runs until Monday 15 April.