Suetonia Palmer, MB ChB, PhD, FRACP 

Professor, Department of Medicine, Nephrologist, Christchurch Hospital, 

Rutherford Discovery Fellow, 2014-2019

University of Otago Christchurch, New Zealand @suetoniapalmer Information about PhDs

Latest news and research



Developing better ways to share information about kidney care in New Zealand. Here is a new infographic to describe the outcomes and experiences of people who had a kidney transplant or were waiting for a kidney transplant in New Zealand in 2015.

FRIDAY, 12 MAY 2017



Meeting of the Australasian Kidney Trials Network (AKTN) in Sydney to talk about new kidney trials. The AKTN brings together people who care for patients with kidney disease to design and carry out new research trials of treatments. Another productive meeting.




Awarded a Health Research Council 25th anniversary prize for “outstanding” contributions to health research excellence [as emerging researcher]




Colleague Marinella Ruospo presented our latest Cochrane review at the American Society of Nephrology Kidney Week in Chicago in November 2015. Our Cochrane review looked at whether lowering blood glucose could help protect kidney function.




Suetonia together with an international team has published a network meta-analysis on the Journal of the American Medical Association today. The paper explores the effectiveness and safety of all diabetes treatments in over 300 trials. The study finds there is no good evidence that any single treatment can prolong life expectancy or protect against heart disease.

JULY 2016



Amy Okamura-Kho who did her thesis degree with Suetonia  received her Bachelor of Medical Sciences (Honours) with First Class, Grade A+. Amy did a study which evaluated all the available vitamin D treatments in the scientific literature for treatment in people with kidney disease. We are currently working on a Cochrane review to showcase this work. Thanks for your hard work Amy!




Too busy to read an academic paper? Scientific journals too complicated? Suetonia has just released a short, 2 minute podcast about her latest research which looks at all the available anaemia treatments in people with kidney disease. You can listen to the podcast for free in the Cochrane Library here. Suetonia is working on creating new podcasts for Cochrane Kidney and Transplant.





Suetonia (along with joint winner Jessica Palmer from the Faculty of Law) has won the 2015 Carl Smith Medal and Rowheath Trust award from the University of Otago in 2015. This award is in recognition of research excellence and is given to emerging researchers at the University of Otago.




Suetonia and an international team have published a new analysis of all the blood pressure treatments in people with diabetes and kidney disease. This paper was published on The Lancet in May 2015. The study uses an innovative technique called network meta-analysis to rank medications and identify which of the many medications used is the most helpful for protecting kidney function or prolonging patient life expectancy.

MAY 23, 2015



Finalist in the Kidney Health Australia Clinical Science Prize Award session at the Australia and New Zealand Society of Nephrology in Melbourne, 25-27 August 2014.

AUGUST 26, 2014



Suetonia has become co-chair (New Zealand) for the Australia and New Zealand ANZDATA Indigenous Working Group in 2014.




Suetonia joins 9 other New Zealand researchers as one of the 2013 Rutherford Discovery Fellows. These are awarded by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and administered by the Royal Society. This 5 year fellowship supports early and middle career researchers to focus on building a research programme within New Zealand. Suetonia’s research will investigate the following questions: do research trials actually tell us if drugs work?; which healthcare practices do patients prefer during their treatment for kidney disease?; which drugs are really the best and safest?; and how do we acquire knowledge about unconventional but potentially targetable causes of patient disability?

October 2, 2013



Suetonia has been awarded funding by the Canterbury Medical Research Foundation to conduct research to understand which drugs work best for important clinical situations for people who have kidney disease and anaemia or high blood pressure. The Canterbury Medical Research Foundation grants programme funds early career investigators in medicine, healthcare and public health.

SEPTEMBER 26, 2013


Suetonia has received an Early Career Award for Distinction in Research from the University of Otago

June 7, 2013

These awards are given to early career researchers who have worked at the University of Otago for between two and six years for outstanding research achievement. Suetonia joined four other women recipients this year in fields as diverse as peace building, improving oral health, nanomedicine and geology and seismic science. Well done to the other recipients, Drs Karen Brouneus, Lyndie Foster Page, Carla Meledandri, and Virgina Toy!


Suetonia has just won 1 of 10 Emerging Researcher Grants from the Health Research Council of New Zealand

May 8, 2013

Suetonia is one of only two scientists from the University of Otago to win a 2013 Emerging Researcher Grant from the Health Research Council in New Zealand. She has been awarded a two-year grant for her project called Making better clinical decisions to prevent kidney disease. This study will look at whether surrogate markers (those blood and urine tests we use to measure kidney function indirectly) are good predictors of patient-important outcomes including risks of heart disease and needing dialysis.


Our team has just published a new high-impact study of cinacalcet in PLoS Medicine

April 30, 2013

Our team has just published a new paper looking at the evidence for cinacalcet, the highest single cost medicine for dialysis patients in the United States. A complete review of the evidence finds that while cinacalcet is good for improving blood levels of the hormone called parathyroid hormone, routine use has only small benefits for kidney patients (reduces surgery for parathyroid gland removal) but increases nausea and vomiting.


Suetonia had a wonderful visit to the University of Calgary as a visiting speaker

March 22, 2013

Suetonia has had a productive and enjoyable visit to Canada as the Roy and Vi Baay Chair in Kidney Research visiting speaker for 2013. She met so many friendly and talented people and enjoyed seeing a world class unit in action. Thanks to the so many people who made my visit so memorable and for the warm welcome (despite the -17 degrees Celsius outside).


Suetonia receives L’Oreal UNESCO for Women in Science Fellowship 2012

August 22, 2012


Suetonia is the first New Zealander to be awarded a prestigious L’Oreal UNESCO For Women in Science Australia and New Zealand Fellowship in 2012, recognising women researchers who have contributed to scientific progress. This fellowship will support her research studying patient experiences of kidney disease in New Zealand. Watch her interview on TVNZ Breakfast on Saturday, 25 August 2012, talking about what this award means. Read more on the L’Oreal Foundation FWIS website.



Our recent study highlighted in RESEARCH NEWS by the BMJ on 6 March 2013.

March 9, 2013

A recent meta-analysis we published has been highlighted in the Research News section of the March 6th edition of the British Medical Journal this week! This is the second time in 2 years one of our papers has been reported by the BMJ as important research news in the international medical journals!


Angela Ballinger (Suetonia’s summer student 2013) wins Best Overall Project prize

January 25, 2013

Guided by Suetonia, Angela Ballinger (a fifth year medical student) has received the Best Overall Project Prize in the Summer Studentship Program at the University of Otago, Christchurch for 2012/2013. Supported by an educational grant from the Canterbury Medical Research Foundation, she helped complete a meta-analysis for the Cochrane Collaboration. Congratulations Angela!


Our paper chosen as Top Ten Game Changer in Nephrology 2012

November 16, 2012

For the second year running, a paper published by our team has been chosen as a Top Ten Game Changer in kidney disease for 2012 by Medscape. The paper examines the effects of antiplatelet therapy in people with kidney disease. Medscape considered the paper an important contribution showing that treatments including aspirin may not improve survival and might be harmful in this clinical setting.


Recent publication in the prestigious Annals of Internal Medicine

August 21, 2012

Our team has recently published a paper on the prestigious Annals of Internal Medicine exploring whether statin therapy to lower cholesterol is effective for people with chronic kidney disease.