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DPhil title

Genetic and molecular mechanisms of kidney stone disease


Dr Sarah Howles, Professor Dominic Furniss and Associate Professor Michael Holmes 

Research groups

Catherine Lovegrove

BSc (Hons.), MBBS, MRCS

MRC Clinical Research Training Fellow and DPhil candidate

After beginning my medical studies at The University of Edinburgh I graduated from King’s College London with distinction in my MBBS degree in 2017 and completed the Academic Foundation Programme under the Supervision of Professor Hashim Ahmed at Imperial College London. After undertaking an NIHR Academic Clinical Fellowship in Urology in Oxford from August 2019 to 2022, I secured an MRC Clinical Research Training Fellowship to support my DPhil project on the genetic and molecular mechanisms of kidney stone disease and find out how adiposity causes stones.

Kidney stone disease is a major clinical and economic health burden, affecting ~20% of men and ~10% of women by 70 years of age. Up to 50% of kidney stone patients will experience a second stone episode within 10 years of their first presentation. Multiple genetic and environmental factors contribute to kidney stone disease however our understanding of these pathological mechanisms is relatively primitive. Observational studies indicate that both general and central adiposity are risk factors for developing kidney stones. Using Mendelian randomisation and data from the UK Biobank, I have demonstrated that increased central adiposity causes kidney stones and that this, in part, is mediated through increasing serum calcium concentrations.

My research aims are to improve our understanding of why people form kidney stones, why central adiposity causes kidney stone disease, and to use these findings to investigate novel therapeutic strategies for patients with kidney stones. 

Outside of work I can usually be found on a bike or on a hill, enjoying the countryside.

Recent publications

More publications


Impact of COVID-19 on the management and outcomes of ureteric stones in the UK: a multicentre retrospective study

Byrne MHV., Georgiades F., Light A., Lovegrove CE., Dominic C., Rahman J., Kathiravelupillai S., Klatte T., Saeb-Parsy K., Kumar R., Howles S., Stewart GD., Turney B., Wiseman O., COVID Stones Collaborative, (2022), BJUI 

Natural history of small asymptomatic kidney and residual stones over a long-term follow-up: systematic review over 25 years

Lovegrove CE et al, (2021), BJUI

Natural History of Post-Treatment Kidney Stone Fragments: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Brain E, Geraghty RM, Lovegrove CE, Yang B, Somani BK, (2021), J Urol

Implications of celebrity endorsement of prostate cancer awareness in a tertiary referral unit - The "Fry-Turnbull" Effect

Lovegrove CE. et al, (2020), BJUI

The COVID Stones Collaborative: How has the Management of Ureteric Stones Changed During and After the COVID-19 Pandemic? Rationale and Study Protocol.

Georgiades F, Byrne MHV, Lovegrove CE, Klatte T, Saeb-Parsy Ket al. (2020), JELEU