New scientist profile: Dr. Mark Canney uses big data to answer burning questions in kidney disease

December 9, 2021

Dr. Mark Canney“I’m a curious person, so if there’s an interesting question, I latch onto the best way to answer it,” -Dr. Mark CanneyAs a kidney specialist with a background in epidemiology and statistics, Dr. Mark Canney is interested in the questions that most trouble his colleagues. One example is glomerular disease, an autoimmune condition that mainly affects younger people. Little is known about who gets it, why, and how it affects their overall health. 

Dr. Canney previously found that specific glomerular diseases tend to cluster in certain geographic areas and are associated with lower socioeconomic status. He’s now investigating the link between glomerular diseases and the future risk of cardiovascular disease. 

Dr. Canney is also interested in complications of chronic kidney disease and how best to interpret laboratory tests in people with reduced kidney function.  One common complication of kidney disease is anemia, which is diagnosed and treated according to a patient’s level of the blood protein hemoglobin. An individual’s hemoglobin can vary considerably based on age, sex, diet and even altitude. Dr. Canney is currently leading an international study to investigate geographic differences in hemoglobin levels and the approach to anemia therapy in patients with kidney disease.

“I’m a curious person, so if there’s an interesting question, I latch onto the best way to answer it,” he says.

Dr. Canney completed his nephrology training and a PhD in population health epidemiology in Ireland before moving to Vancouver in 2017 to undertake a post-doctoral fellowship.  He joined The Ottawa Hospital in August 2020, and was recently appointed as an associate scientist in the Clinical Epidemiology Program at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute. He is a staff nephrologist at The Ottawa Hospital and an assistant professor at the University of Ottawa.

Research at The Ottawa Hospital led by scientists like Dr. Canney is possible because of generous donations to The Ottawa Hospital Foundation.

The Ottawa Hospital is a leading academic health, research and learning hospital proudly affiliated with the University of Ottawa.