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Dr Debra Higgins


Debra Higgins

Biomedical Research Advisor
Central Office - College of Health and Agricultural Sciences
01 716 7751
University College Dublin, Central Office - College of Health and Agricultural Sciences, Conway Institute Belfield Dublin 4


Dr. Debra Higgins is an Assistant Professor / Lecturer in Pathology. Debra graduated from UCD in 1995 with a first class joint honours degree in Botany and Molecular Genetics, and in 2001 completed her PhD in Prof Matthew Harmey's laboratory studying differential gene expression techniques. Debra was one of the original twelve Conway Post-doctoral Fellows to be recruited and studied molecular mechanisms of kidney disease with Profs Hugh Brady, Catherine Godson, William Watson and John Fitzpatrick at the Mater Misericordiae Hospital prior to the opening of the Conway Institute. She was awarded the first Conway Post-doctoral Fellows prize for Best Oral Presentation at the Conway Festival of Research in 2001. In 2002, Debra moved to the University of Pennsylvania to work with Dr. Volker Haase, and studied the role of hypoxia and HIF in the progression of kidney disease. During her time in the US, she was awarded American Heart Association post-doctoral fellowship. In 2009, Debra returned as a Research Fellow to the Diabetes Complications Research Centre based in the Conway Institute to further her research into acute and chronic kidney disease, and was lead investigator on industry sponsored projects by Boehringer Ingelheim and Roche. In 2011, Debra was awarded a HRB Fellowship in Translational Medicine to investigate the potential of hypoxia-responsive proteins as diagnostic biomarkers for early detection of renal disease and as therapeutic targets for treatment of kidney injury. This research is being further developed through an SFI TIDA awarded in 2017. Debra has a total of 37 publications, of which 14 are senior author papers, in journals such as the prestigious Journal of Clinical Investigation (IF 15.43, >550 citations), Journal of American Society of Nephrology (IF 9.66), Kidney International (IF 8.56), Development (IF 6.46), Molecular and Cellular Biology (IF 5.76), FASEB Journal (5.72), and the American Journal of Physiology- Renal (IF 3.79).


  • PhD
    University College Dublin
  • Prof Cert University Teaching & Learning
    University College Dublin
  • Prof Dip University Teaching & Learning
    University College Dublin