Alessia Fornoni, M.D., Ph.D

SAB Co-Chairman: Professor of Medicine and Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine


Dr. Alessia Fornoni is a tenured Professor of Medicine and Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. She is the Chief of the Katz Family Division of Nephrology and Hypertension and serves as and Director and Chair of the Peggy and Harold Katz Drug Discovery Center. She is also the Associate Director of the MSTP program. In 2013, Dr. Fornoni gained experience in drug development as Global Head of Discovery in Cardiovascular and Metabolism at Hoffman-La Roche in Basel. She is currently the Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer of L&F Health LLC, a small start-up company focused on finding a cure for patients affected by chronic kidney diseases.

As a physician-scientist who has maintained a resolutely focused research program that has provided novel and seminal contributions to our understanding of the pathogenesis of kidney disease, her research is supported by grants from National Institutes of Health, industry and private foundations. She has received prestigious awards: among them, she is the first female nephrologist in the history of the University of Miami to become a member of ASCI. She serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, Diabetes and Kidney International. She was visiting professor at more than 50 academic institutions and international meetings worldwide. She serves as grant reviewer for NIH, DOD, ADA, AHA, UK-diabetes, NephCure and Alport foundations, Cariplo foundation and the Italian Ministry of Health. She currently serves on the advisory board of more than 10 companies. Her contributions have been published in high impact journals: Journal of Clinical Investigation, NEJM, Nature Medicine, Science Translational Medicine, Journal of Biological Chemistry, Diabetes among others. She successfully trained several graduate students and post-doctoral fellows and was recipient of the best graduate school mentor of the year award in 2016. Her trainees are occupying key academic and industry positions in five different continents worldwide.

Through her pioneering work on insulin signaling, cholesterol metabolism and sphingolipid-related pathways, Dr. Fornoni uncovered novel pathogenetic mechanisms and therapeutic approaches for glomerular disorders. Her internationally recognized research findings, which are now being translated into humans with novel therapeutic applications, have challenged existing paradigms and have dramatically altered the research direction in these areas. She also invented a cell-based assay that is currently being utilized for high content screening of drug libraries and for the stratification of patients with kidney disease.

Moving forward, her vision is one that brings industry, investors and not for profit organizations around the table with the intent to match science with innovation and patients’ motivation to find a cure for kidney diseases.

Selected Publications:
Mitrofanova, Alla & Drexler, Yelena & Merscher, Sandra & Fornoni, Alessia. (2020). Role of Sphingolipid Signaling in Glomerular Diseases: Focus on DKD and FSGS. Journal of cellular signaling. 1. 56-69. 10.33696/Signaling.1.013.

Ge, Mengyuan & Fontanesi, Flavia & Merscher, Sandra & Fornoni, Alessia. (2020). The Vicious Cycle of Renal Lipotoxicity and Mitochondrial Dysfunction. Frontiers in Physiology. 11. 732. 10.3389/fphys.2020.00732.

Murphy, Shannon & Mahan, John & Troost, Jonathan & Srivastava, Tarak & Kogon, Amy & Cai, Yi & Davis, T. & Fernandez, Hilda & Fornoni, Alessia & Gbadegesin, Rasheed & Herreshoff, Emily & Canetta, Pietro & Nachman, Patrick & Reeve, Bryce & Selewski, David & Sethna, Christine & Wang, Chia-shi & Bartosh, Sharon & Gipson, Debbie & Tuttle, Katherine. (2020). Longitudinal changes in health-related quality of life in primary glomerular disease- results from the CureGN study. Kidney International Reports. 10.1016/j.ekir.2020.06.041.

Liu, Xiaochen & Ducasa, Gloria & Mallela, Shamroop kumar & Kim, Jin-Ju & Molina, Judith & Mitrofanova, Alla & Wilbon, Sydney & Ge, Mengyuan & Fontanella, Antonio & Pedigo, Christopher & Santos, Javier & Nelson, Robert & Drexler, Yelena & Contreras, Gabriel & Hassan, Al-Ali & Merscher, Sandra & Fornoni, Alessia. (2020). Sterol-O-acyltransferase-1 has a role in kidney disease associated with diabetes and Alport Syndrome. Kidney International. 10.1016/j.kint.2020.06.040.

Abou Daher, Alaa & Francis, Marina & Azzam, Patrick & Ahmad, Anis & Eid, Assaad & Fornoni, Alessia & Marples, Brian & Zeidan, Youssef. (2020). Modulation of radiation-induced damage of human glomerular endothelial cells by SMPDL3B. The FASEB Journal. 34. 10.1096/fj.201902179R.

Weinstock, B. & Feldman, David & Fornoni, Alessia & Gross, Oliver & Kashtan, Clifford & Lagas, Sharon & Lennon, Rachel & Miner, Jeffrey & Rheault, Michelle & Simon, James. (2020). Clinical trial recommendations for potential Alport syndrome therapies. Kidney International. 97. 10.1016/j.kint.2020.02.029.

Defreitas, Marissa & Katsoufis, Chryso & Infante, Juan & Granda, Michael & Abitbol, Carolyn & Fornoni, Alessia. (2020). The old becomes new: advances in imaging techniques to assess nephron mass in children. Pediatric Nephrology. 10.1007/s00467-020-04477-8.

Freedman, Barry & Moxey-Mims, Marva & Alexander, Amir & Astor, Brad & Birdwell, Kelly & Bowden, Donald & Bowen, Gordon & Bromberg, Jonathan & Craven, Timothy & Dadhania, Darshana & Divers, Jasmin & Doshi, Mona & Eidbo, Elling & Fornoni, Alessia & Gautreaux, Michael & Gbadegesin, Rasheed & Gee, Patrick & Guerra, Giselle & Hsu, Chi-Yuan & Brennan, Daniel. (2019). APOL1 Long-term Kidney Transplantation Outcomes Network (APOLLO): Design and Rationale. Kidney international reports. 5. 278-288. 10.1016/j.ekir.2019.11.022.

Ducasa, G. & Mitrofanova, Alla & Fornoni, Alessia. (2019). Crosstalk Between Lipids and Mitochondria in Diabetic Kidney Disease. Current Diabetes Reports. 19. 10.1007/s11892-019-1263-x.

Otalora, Lilian & Chavez, Efren & Watford, Daniel & Tueros, Lissett & Correa, Mayrin & Nair, Viji & Ruiz, Philip & Wahl, Patricia & Eddy, Sean & Martini, Sebastian & Kretzler, Matthias & Burke, George & Fornoni, Alessia & Merscher, Sandra. (2019). Identification of glomerular and podocyte-specific genes and pathways activated by sera of patients with focal segmental glomerulosclerosis. PLOS ONE. 14. e0222948. 10.1371/journal.pone.0222948.

University of Miami Miller School of Medicine

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