knightAssociate Professor

Research Interests
calcium oxalate kidney stone disease, bacterial oxalate degradation, oxalobacter formigenes, endogenous oxalate synthesis, primary hyperxaluria


John Knight received his Ph.D. in Physiology at the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne in 2001. His postdoctoral studies with Mark Lively, PhD, in the Department of Otolaryngology, Wake Forest University Health Sciences, demonstrated that reflux of acid and pepsin from the stomach could play a role in voice disorders. In 2004, he joined the Urology Research Laboratory, Department of Urology, Wake Forest University Health Sciences, and shifted his research focus to kidney stone disease.

Research Summary

Current and future research is focused on, 1), examining the ecology of Oxalobacter formigenes and other oxalate degrading organisms, and under what circumstances these organisms may reduce the risk of calcium oxalate kidney stone disease, 2), identifying metabolic pathways in the rare primary hyperoxaluria diseases that can be modulated to reduce oxalate synthesis, and, 3), defining the factors that influence endogenous oxalate synthesis, including oxidative stress  and vitamin C intake. Model systems utilized include human studies in both patients and healthy volunteers, genetically modified mice, and cultured cells. The research utilizes carbon-13 stable isotopes and state-of-the-art ion chromatography equipment coupled to mass spectrometers. Important achievements include the determination of factors that influence the colonization of the gastrointestinal tract with Oxalobacter formigenes, a clearer understanding of the metabolic pathways involved in oxalate synthesis, and the identification of the enzymes hydroxyproline dehydrogenase, glycolate oxalate and lactate dehydrogenase as targets for oxalate reduction therapy.

Education and Degrees

University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK, Ph.D.
   Thesis: “Interaction between free radicals and mucus secretions”

Postdoctoral Training
Wake Forest University Health Sciences


2013 Early Career Reviewer (ECR) program at the Center for Scientific Review (CSR), National Institute of Health

2013 AUA Best Poster Winner. AUA Annual Meeting, San Diego, CA, USA. “2075: Hydroxyproline Metabolism to Urinary Oxalate and Glycolate Excretion in Normal Subjects.”

2011 OLYMPUS Best Basic Research Paper - MP05-09: Glyoxal Metabolism: A novel pathway in endogenous oxalate synthesis. Endourology Society.

2005 Poster of Distinction. 7th International Workshop on Primary Hyperoxaluria.

1997 Phil Hearne Award, PhD, University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK

1996 Physiology Award, Department of Physiology, University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK

Institutional Activities

      • Graduate Biomedical Science Faculty (GBS):

        • Cell Molecular & Developmental Biology, Microbiology, Pathobiology & Molecular Medicine

      • Appointment in Nephrology and Training Center

Society Memberships

      • The American Physiological Society

      • Research on Calculus Kidney Kinetics (R.O.C.K) Society

Contact Information

816 Kaul Genetics Building