The kidney plays a central role in our metabolism, by controlling various physiological balances. Genetics is central to these mechanisms, since gene defects lead to all sorts of malfunctions. Oxygen sensing mechanisms were first discovered as a result of studies on the production of the kidney hormone erythropoietin. We now know that the underlying system controls about 1000 genes. Professor Chris Pugh is working on the oxygen sensing functions of the body to assist in designing better therapies for disorders that involve oxygenation problems, such as angina and cancer.