10 smiling committee members wearing cowboy hats

The GREX Organizing Committee

The GREX Organizing Committee is comprised of a rotating slate of researchers from across the globe interested in fostering research & innovation across multiple disciplines to develop strategies to increase physical activity and improve health outcomes in Kidney Disease. Bios for the current committee are listed below.

Paul Bennett

Paul Bennett, RN PhD

Honorary Professor, Deakin University, Australia

Satellite Healthcare San Jose, USA


Dr. Paul Bennett is based in Adelaide, Australia. He is an Honorary Professor in the School of Nursing and Midwifery, Deakin University, and works in Medical Clinical Affairs at Satellite Healthcare in California, USA. Paul's most recent positions were the Foundation Chair and Professor in Translational Nursing at Western Health - Deakin University Partnership, Deputy Coordinator of the School of Nursing and Midwifery Higher Degrees Program and Alfred Deakin Postgraduate Research Fellow at the Monash Health - Deakin University Centre of Nursing Research. Paul's research teams focus on strategies to improve the quality of life of people with chronic and end stage kidney disease using self-management techniques, resistance and aerobic exercise, laughter therapy, home dialysis, e-learning, communication techniques, imagery, and workforce models.

Clara Bohm BScH, MD, MPH

Clara Bohm, BScH MD MPH

Assistant Professor, University of Manitoba, Canada


Dr. Clara Bohm is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Nephrology at the University of Manitoba. She completed her Internal Medicine training at University of Saskatchewan and Nephrology training at Dalhousie University. She subsequently obtained a Masters of Public Health at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. Her research focuses on characterizing the effects of exercise and physical activity on functional status, quality of life and adverse outcomes in individuals with all stages of chronic kidney disease and translating these findings to design and implement sustainable evidence-based exercise programming to improve outcomes in this population. She is the Medical Lead of the Manitoba Renal Program Exercise and Wellness Program and currently holds the Manitoba Medical Service Foundation Dr. F. W. Du Val Clinical Research Professorship (2019-2022).

Jennifer Macrae MSc MD FRCPCt

Jennifer Macrae, MSc MD FRCPC

Assistant Professor, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary, Canada


Dr. Jennifer MacRae is an Associate Professor at the University of Calgary, Cumming School of Medicine with a cross appointment with the Department of Cardiac Sciences.

Her clinical and research interests revolve around improving the care of hemodialysis and she uses her administrative role of Medical Director for Hemodialysis for Alberta Kidney Care South to strive toward this goal.

Stefan Mustata MD

Stefan Mustata, MD

Clinical Associate Professor, University of Calgary, Canada


Dr. Stefan Mustata came to Canada in 1991 as a convention refugee from Romania. He completed his training in internal medicine and nephrology at the University of Toronto and in 2004 joined the division of nephrology at the University of Calgary. As the medical director of the Kidney Exercise and Education Program, Stefan is committed to integrating research, education and clinical care through collaborative & multidisciplinary approaches.

Heitor S. Ribeiro, MSc

Heitor S. Ribeiro, MSc

Student Representative, 

University of Brasília, Brazil


Heitor Ribeiro holds a Bachelor of Physical Education, and a Master of Exercise Science from the Catholic University of Brasília (UCB), and is currently an Exercise Science PhD Student at the University of Brasília (UnB). He is also a Health and Exercise Science Lecturer and Researcher. His research interests include intradialytic exercise programs and the association between sarcopenia and CKD.

Heitor S. Ribeiro, MSc

Giorgos K. Sakkas, PhD

Associate Professor in Clinical Exercise Physiology, University of Thessaly, Greece

Professor in Lifestyle Medicine Cardiff Metropolitan University, United Kingdom


Dr Sakkas is an Associate Professor in Clinical Exercise Physiology at the Dept of PE and Sport Science at the University of Thessaly and Director of the "Exercise is Medicine Laboratory". He also holds a Professor of Lifestyle Medicine chair at the Cardiff Metropolitan University in Wales, United Kingdom. His research focuses on the effect of therapeutic exercise on patients with chronic kidney diseases, especially in those with sleep disorders such as Restless Legs Syndrome. He uses a multidisciplinary approach to tackle his research questions including both physiological and psychological approach. Since 2020, he is the General Secretariat for the “Exercise is Medicine-Greece” association for promoting the benefits of exercise in various clinical populations.

Stephanie Thompson MD PhD

Stephanie Thompson, MD PhD

Assistant Professor, University of Alberta, Canada


Dr. Stephanie Thompson is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Nephrology at the University of Alberta. She completed her Nephrology training and her Doctoral degree in Public Health at the University of Alberta. Her research focuses on evaluating the effects of exercise on the vasculature in individuals with chronic kidney disease and better understanding the vascular response to exercise as well as the implementation and evaluation of exercise interventions. She is the Medical Lead of the Northern Alberta Renal Exercise and Program.

Tom Wilkinson BSc. PhD. AFHEA

Tom Wilkinson, BSc. PhD. AFHEA

Research Associate (exercise and human physiology), University of Leicester, United Kingdom


Dr. Tom Wilkinson graduated from the University of Birmingham (in 2012) with a degree in Sport and Exercise Sciences, before studying for a PhD (2012 to 2015) at Bangor University investigating the prevalence, causes, and treatment of ‘rheumatoid cachexia’ (muscle loss and obesity) in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. He joined the Leicester Kidney Lifestyle Team in 2015 where he oversees the day-to-day running of the groups various portfolio of studies and supervision of other team members and intercalating medical students.

Tom was awarded the 2017 Lockwood Award from the Renal Association. He is a member of the Renal Association, CLAHRC East Midlands Faculty, and British Renal Society Rehabilitation Network. Tom is also a member of the NIHR Leicester BRC, sitting on the ‘Respiratory & Lifestyle Working Group’, and a member of the UK Kidney Research Consortium ‘Exercise and Lifestyle’ clinical study steering group (supported by Kidney Research UK). He is an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and contributes teaching to MSc. modules at the University of Leicester and Loughborough University.

His research interests include clinical exercise physiology (chronic and hypokinetic conditions), body composition, physical functioning outcome development, and diet/nutrition.

Kenneth Wilund, PhD

Kenneth Wilund, PhD

Professor, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA


Dr. Kenneth Wilund's research is focused on examining the effects of exercise training and nutritional factors on cardiovascular health and muscle wasting in in patients with chronic kidney disease.

He is especially interested in developing novel strategies aimed at reducing both chronic fluid overload, a condition that contributes to heart failure, as well as muscle sodium accumulation, which may contribute to deficits in muscle strength and function.