Alessia Fornoni, MD PhD

Research Interests

• Biology of the podocyte
• Biology of pancreatic beta cells in diabetes
• Personalized Nephrology
• Therapeutic strategies for diabetes and chronic kidney diseases
• Experimental Therapeutics

Our research stems from the idea that key metabolic pathways linked to insulin resistance may affect the function of podocytes and pancreatic beta cells in diabetes. In order to identify targets for drug development with high probability of success, we utilize a simple approach where clinical observations are the major drive to basic science discovery. Cell culture systems, experimental animals and translational bioassays that utilize patient’s sera are being utilized with the final goal to promote a personalized medicine approach to patients care. Our laboratory was the first one to report an important role of sphingolipids in the modulation of podocyte function in focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (Science TM, June 2011) and of cellular cholesterol as a primary determinant of podocyte function in diabetic nephropathy (Diabetes, 2013). Dr. Fornoni works in close collaboration with Dr. George Burke III (Director of Pancreas and Kidney Transplant at the University of Miami) to run an NIH sponsored clinical trial for the use of Rituximab to prevent post-transplant recurrence of proteinuria in patients with focal and segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS).

Lab Members

Alessia Fornoni, M.D., Ph.D.; Director

Michelle Gloria Ducasa; PhD student
Jin Ju Kim, PhD; Post-Doc
Judith Molina, PhD; Scientist
Alla Mitrofanova, PhD; Post-Doc
Christopher Pedigo; PhD student
Marianne Pons, PhD; Scientist
Alexis Sloan, PhD; Post Doc
Renata Soares Machado; Study Coordinator
Beatriz Vadillo; Study Coordinator
Javier Varona-Santos; PhD, Scientist
Patricia Wahl, PhD; Director of Operations

Office and Laboratories

1580 NW 10th Ave
Batchelor Bldg, 6th floor, Room 633
Tel: (305) 243-6558
Fax: (305) 243-3209

Keywords and Phrases

• Personalized medicine
• Stress activated protein kinases and insulin resistance in diabetes
• Slit diaphragm proteins in pancreatic beta cell function
• Podocytes biology in diabetes
• Podocyte dysfunction in recurrent focal segmental glomerulosclerosis
• Experimental Therapeutics