Brad Urquhart

Brad Urquhart


PH.D. University of Western Ontario
B.Sc. University of Western Ontario
Office:  Dental Science Building, Room 2011C
p. 519.661.2111 x. 83756
f. 519.661.3827

Why science?

The first instance I realized that I was interested in science as a career path was in grade 10 or 11 of high school, where I was exposed to experimentation and interesting demonstrations in our chemistry class. With that in mind, I decided to pursue a BSc degree at the University of Western Ontario. I wasn’t quite sure what area of science I wanted to study but after taking a pharmacology class, I knew I wanted to pursue my BSc in pharmacology and toxicology. I also had the opportunity to get involved in a pharmacology research lab during my time as an undergraduate student, which cemented my passion for the discipline. After completion of my BSc, I went on to do my PhD in Pharmacology and Toxicology at Western as well. After my PhD, I pursued my post doc at Vanderbilt University down in Tennessee in clinical pharmacology, where I studied pharmacogenetics and why certain people respond to drugs in different ways. Eventually, I came back to Western to complete my post doc when my supervisor moved his lab from Nashville to London Ontario. I started my independent research program in the department of Physiology and Pharmacology in 2009. 

Research Goals

Today, I have a focus on the kidney and am looking to find reasons as to why different patients respond differently to medications in the settings of kidney disease. One of the big studies going on right now is looking at a chemotherapeutic drug called cisplatin and why some cancer patients using cisplatin go on to have acute kidney injury, which puts them at risk for adverse outcomes in later life. We want to learn why some patients get kidney injury while others seem to be protected. The long term goal is learn why certain people get drug induced kidney injury so we can find ways to prevent this adverse event.

Specific Research Interests

There are so many drugs on the market today, and we want to make sure that we are choosing the rights ones to use and prescribe to individual patients to prevent unnecessary toxicity and adverse outcomes in patients. In my lab, we make use of pharmacometabolomic and metabolic signatures to predict patient risk for drug induced kidney injury and different responses to different drugs. This is done by studying drug induced kidney toxicity, looking for new biomarkers of kidney function, and trying to understand more about variability in patient response to drugs in kidney disease.

Most Rewarding Moments

My students’ success is a huge part of what brings me joy in this field. I still remember my first graduate student getting their PhD! I enjoy seeing my students discovering new things in the lab and after they finish their time with me, it’s amazing to see them move into other programs or find the career they’ve been working towards. I love sharing in these milestones in my students’ lives and supporting them to achieve their goals.

Advice to students

In my view, your job as a student is to find what you love. It’s sometimes difficult to find what you love, and you need to experiment a little bit. Take risks to find out what really suits you!

Hobbies Outside of Academia

I’m a huge sports fan, and I try to play sports such as golf and hockey with my friends. I also love watching my kids play sports too! In addition, I am a huge nature lover, and enjoy getting outdoors and spending time in nature.

Awards and Honours

  1. Faculty Scholar, Western University (2021-2023)
  2. Young Alumni Award, Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry (2020)
  3. Deans Award of Excellence for Junior Faculty (2015)
  4. Marilyn Robinson Award for Teaching Excellence (2014)
  5. Merck-Frost Canadian Society for Clinical Pharmacology Fellowship (2006-2007)


Selected Publications

See Publications by Brad Urquhart on PubMed

 Velenosi TJ, Feere DA, Sohi G, Hardy DB and Urquhart BL. Decreased Nuclear Receptor Activity Mediates Down-Regulation of Drug Metabolizing Enzymes in Chronic Kidney Disease Through Epigenetic Modulation. FASEB J (2014) 28(12):5388-97

Tieu A, Velenosi TJ, Kucey AS, Weir MA and Urquhart BL. Beta blocker dialyzability in chronic hemodialysis patients. Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology 2018 13(4):604-611

Lim YJ, Tonial NC, Hartjes ED, Haig A, Velenosi TJ, Urquhart BL. Metabolomics for the identification of early biomarkers of nephrotoxicity in a mouse model of cisplatin-induced acute kidney injury. Biomedicine and Pharmacotherapy (2023)163:114787

Sidor NA, Velenosi TJ, Lajoie GA, Filler G, House AA, Weir MA, Thomson BKA, Garg AX, Renaud JB, McDowell T, Knauer MJ, Tirona RG, Noble R, Selby N, Taal M, Urquhart BL. Investigation of N,N,N, trimethyl-L-alanyl-L-proline betaine (TMAP) as a biomarker of kidney function.ACS Omega (2023)8(17):15160-15167

Lim YJ, Xiu S, Kuruvilla MS, Winquist E, Welch S, Black M, Faught LN, Lee J, Rieder MJ, Blydt-Hansen TD, Zappitelli M and Urquhart BL. Metabolomic identification of predictive and early biomarkers of cisplatin-induced acute kidney injury in adult head and neck cancer patients. British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology (2023)

Current Teaching

  1. Medical Sciences 1000Y: Exploring Medical Sciences
  2. Pharmacology 3620: Introduction to Pharmacology and Therapeutics
  3. Pharmacology 4660A: Human Toxicology
  4. Dentistry 5102: Dental Pharmacology
  5. Scholars Electives 2200E/3305E: Supervised Individual Research
  6. Scholars Electives 4400Y: Civic Engagement, Professional Development and Communication