Principal Investigator

CEO, Executive Director and Professor

Melissa H. Little

Professor Melissa H. Little is an international leader in kidney development and pioneer in kidney regeneration research. Her goal is to model the human kidney using stem cells in order to find therapies that replace or restore normal kidney function.

CEO of reNEW and Executive Director of reNEW Copenhagen
Professor and Principal Investigator
Melissa H. Little
Location: MCRI, Australia & UCPH Denmark

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Professor Melissa H. Little has researched how the kidney forms and what goes wrong in kidney disease for more than 30 years. Internationally recognised as an expert on kidney development and stem cells, Professor Little and her team at Murdoch Children’s Research Institute produced the world’s first “kidney in a dish” – referred to as kidney organoids – from human pluripotent stem cells. Her group is now using these to advance disease modelling, drug screening, and continuing to improve our understanding of how the kidney develops. The goal is to identify new therapies that will ultimately restore normal kidney function and one day, even develop replacement organs.

Professor Little is the CEO of reNEW and the executive director of reNEW Copenhagen. She is the principal investigator of research teams at both reNEW Melbourne, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, Australia and reNEW Copenhagen, University of Copenhagen, Denmark. As CEO, Professor Little is responsible for the oversight and coordination of all activities at the centre and its three research partner sites.

Professor Little is internationally recognised for her contributions to stem cell medicine, and she has been recognised by numerous international awards, including the Homer Smith Medal, Alfred Newton Richards Award, Julian Wells Medal, GlaxoSmithKline Research Excellence Award and Eureka Prize. Past President of the International Society for Stem Cell Research and the Australiasian Society for Stem Cell Research, she also led Stem Cells Australia from 2017-2021.

Professor Little is also chief scientist at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, honorary professor in the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, University of Melbourne and holds an honorary degree at the University of Leiden.

reNEW researchers have a strong track record of scientific excellence in stem cell biology

They have performed pioneering work in stem cell research spanning different tissue and cell types, different technological advances and different stages of applied research. This provides an unprecedented international opportunity to utilise the combined wealth of knowledge, complementary skills sets and clinical experience across reNEW to push stem cell discoveries toward translational outcomes.