Providence Research Profiles: Dr. Adeera Levin

Dr. Adeera Levin is a leader in the field of nephrology research. She has leveraged her epidemiological training, clinical knowledge, and health outcomes research to enhance the care of patients across the continuum of kidney care.

Nephrology Profile | Grace Jenkins

Dr. Adeera Levin

In an effort to shine a light on our many notable researchers, Providence Research is profiling the careers of those who work within our inspiring research community. This month, we are profiling Dr. Adeera Levin, Executive Director of the BC Renal Agency, Consultant Nephrologist at St. Paul’s Hospital, Senior Medical Lead, Integration Clinical and Academic Networks at Providence Health Care, and a Scientist with the Centre for Advancing Health Outcomes. She is also a Professor of Medicine and the Head of the Division of Nephrology at the University of British Columbia.

Dr. Levin’s research is focused on the clinical practice of nephrology, examining variability within chronic kidney disease (CKD) progression, cardiovascular disease (CVD) in CKD patients, and health outcomes. She has leveraged her epidemiological training, clinical knowledge, and health outcomes research to enhance the care of patients across the continuum of kidney care. 

As a recognized leader in her field, she has collected many prestigious awards throughout her career, including the Order of Canada in 2015 for her leadership in kidney disease treatment. More recently, she received the International Society of Nephrology’s 2024 Jean Hamburger Award, which recognizes outstanding research in nephrology with a clinical emphasis.

“Dr. Levin is, of course, highly deserving of this prestigious award,” says Fiona Dalton, President & CEO of Providence Health Care. “As a long-time nephrologist and respected research leader at St. Paul’s Hospital and Providence Health Care, Dr. Levin’s passion for research, drive for new knowledge, and commitment to improving the lives of patients are unparalleled. Her contributions to the field of kidney research and care can never be celebrated enough. She is genuinely selfless, always focused on the needs of others, and leads in a manner that inspires others to always be exceptional in everything they do.”

Curiosity led to career in research

Dr. Levin received her medical degree from McMaster University medical school, which had a prominent emphasis on epidemiology research. The mentorship she received there, together with the university’s research focus, sparked her curiosity and set her on the path towards her career in research.

“In the context of medical school, I didn’t think you could do anything other than ask questions,” says Dr. Levin. 

She was drawn to her focus in nephrology because the kidneys are responsible for pivotal functions that impact the entire body, from filtering the blood and maintaining fluid levels to creating and regulating important hormones that help control blood pressure and red blood cell production.

“Understanding kidney disease is both intellectually satisfying, but also allows you to take care of people, acutely, as well as chronically, with both rare diseases and chronic diseases, so you get to establish long-term relationships with a huge diversity of people and their families,” says Dr. Levin. “Plus, it’s a little bit like doing a crossword puzzle – everything kind of adds up.”

While the systems the kidneys manage can be complex, by underTstanding how they are all connected, Dr. Levin can use data from lab tests and blood work to fill in the blanks and understand what is happening – a little like a crossword puzzle.

“To me, that’s always been the fun of nephrology,” says Dr. Levin. 

Leadership in the field of nephrology research

In her role as Executive Director of the BC Renal Agency, which coordinates health services for patients with kidney disease in B.C., Dr. Levin oversees the organization’s governance and strategic direction. She ensures that BC Renal has the necessary planning and financial support to provide high quality, evidence-informed care. 

Additionally, she is the co-principal investigator for Canadians Seeking Solutions and Innovations to Overcome Chronic Kidney Disease (Can-SOLVE CKD), a patient-oriented network grant aiming to create innovative kidney care solutions. Through supporting the Canadian Nephrology Trials network, which advances clinical trials research in kidney health, and creating KidneyLink, an online platform to connect researchers to patients and family members, Can-SOLVE CKD has helped to transform nephrology research across Canada by bringing research to the forefront of clinical care paradigms.

Dr. Levin has been involved in many significant research projects, with over six hundred peer-reviewed publications, and has conducted clinical trials to understand the impact of particular interventions on kidney patient outcomes, contributing significantly to the advancement of nephrology research and patient care. She has acted as a site investigator for national and international steering committees to look at new medications to delay the progression of kidney and heart disease.

Some recent publications include a study of the role of the medicine canagliflozin in kidney protection of patients with type 2 diabetes, and a report published in The Lancet Global Health on global disparities in kidney disease burden and care.

Seeing research as a team sport

Dr. Levin draws inspiration for her research from the patients and families she works with. 

“Knowing that you can help take better care of people and answer important questions is part of what gets me up in the morning,” says Dr. Levin. 

She is additionally motivated by being able to mentor the next generation and collaborate with other researchers. 

“To me, research is very much a team sport, and so the other thing that’s really wonderful about it is working in teams of talented individuals, with everyone working on the same goal of trying to answer an important question,” says Dr. Levin.