Liz Lightstone, MBBS (Hons) PhD FRCP (Councilor Six)
Liz Lightstone is Professor of Renal Medicine in the Centre for Inflammatory Disease, Department of Immunology and Inflammation, Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College London, Consul (Clinical) Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College and an Honorary Consultant Renal Physician in the Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust Renal and Transplant Centre (ICHNT RTC). After graduating with a first class degree in Medical Sciences Tripos from Cambridge University, she graduated medicine with honours (proxime accessit) from the University of London in 1983 and trained in nephrology at the Royal Postgraduate Medical School and Hammersmith Hospital. Following a PhD in Immunology funded by the MRC, she won an MRC Clinician Scientist Fellowship following which she was appointed as Senior Lecturer at Imperial in 1995.
Having started out in basic research, Prof Lightstone's research is now focused on Lupus Nephritis, as well as Pregnancy in Women with Kidney Disease. Together with colleagues in the ICHNT RTC, she pioneered the use of steroid-minimising regimens in lupus nephritis. She was Chief Investigator on the international multicentre randomised RITUXILUP trial and has been/is PI on several lupus nephritis and C3GN trials. She is particularly interested in developing better ways of predicting outcomes, not least by improving adherence to therapy and using an 'omics approach to analyzing renal biopsies. She is a coauthor on the EULAR guideline on the management of Lupus Nephritis (2012) and the more recent British Society of Rheumatology guideline on the management of lupus in adults (2017). She is coauthor on the very recently published Renal Association guideline on the management of pregnancy in women with kidney disease (2019) and was the co-opted renal expert on the NICE Guideline on the Intrapartum Care of the High Risk Pregnancy. Prof Lightstone has published widely on these topics and has given keynote lectures in these areas at premier national and international renal, rheumatology and obstetric medicine meetings. She has a long held interest in kidney disease in ethnic minorities and wrote the position paper on this area for Kidney Research UK in 2002 which provided the impetus for a whole programme of research.
She is also recognized for her wider expertise in glomerulonephritis and is now the global co-chair, along with Prof Dan Cattran, of the SONG-GD initiative which aims to define core outcome criteria to be included in all studies of GD – and these outcomes are generated and evaluated by both healthcare professionals and patients. Her wider expertise in CKD is recognized by her being appointed as a member of the Can-SOLVE CKD ($40million programme) International Research Advisory Committee (CIRAC).
Nationally, she has been closely involved in various roles in the Renal Association, most notably as an elected member of the Executive council and as a long term member of the Equal Opportunities in Nephrology committee. She established and was the Founder director of the UK Rare Renal Disease Pregnancy and CKD group. She is co Chair of the UK Kidney Research Consortium Glomerulonephritis Clinical Study group. Most recently she has become a Trustee of Kidney Research UK.
Her main clinical interests are in lupus nephritis (she jointly manages a combined renal/rheumatology lupus clinic following over 400 patients with LN) and the management of women with kidney disease in pregnancy—she established and runs a renal obstetric clinic and a pre-pregnancy counselling clinic & her advice is sought nationally and internationally for the management of challenging cases in these areas.
Prof Lightstone has had formal training as a mentor and has been a champion of women in medicine, in academia and in nephrology for many years. She was renal lead for academic training at Imperial from 2010-2019 and has had several formal educational roles over the years. She actively contributed to the successful bid in 2018/19 for renewal of the Department of Medicine's Athena Swan Silver Award – this is a national award to recognise a significant record of activity and achievement by a department or institution in promoting gender equality. She continues to be involved at Department, and now College level as a College Consul, in ensuring equity in promotions and appointments. Nationally, she has been an active member of the Equal opportunities in Nephrology committee of the Renal Association since 2010 which has increased the visibility and recognition of the need to mentor, promote and enhance diversity in training, appointments and our national conference - but is very conscious there is still a lot of work to be done.
Prof Lightstone has found twitter not only to be a wonderful way of engaging with the nephrology community, participating in online education and learning a huge amount of CME but also a powerful tool to challenge discrimination in the workplace and support and highlight women in nephrology and medicine who are thriving.