Skip to contents

Leonardo V Riella, MD, PhD
Associate Physician, Brigham and Women's Hospital
Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Assistant Director of Kidney Transplantation

Brigham and Women's Hospital
Department of Medicine
75 Francis Street
Boston, MA 02115

Research Email:

Edit Profile

Research Narrative:



Kidney transplantation is the optimal therapy for end-stage kidney disease but requires lifelong immunosuppression. Despite improvements in immunosuppression regimens that have reduced rates of acute transplant rejection, long-term allograft survival remains suboptimal with more than 50% of transplanted kidneys failing within 10 years.

Dr Riella is a transplant immunologist whose primary research interests are three: 

- Develop new diagnostic tests that could detect rejection earlier (before creatinine elevation)

- Promote transplant tolerance by the development of novel drugs to prevent and treat antibody-mediated rejection (major cause of kidney loss after transplant)

- Implement novel blood assays that would permit to measure the immune system function. This would allow more precise adjustment of dosages of immunosuppressive drugs, minimizing risks of  over-mmunosuppression that may lead to infections/cancers.

Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, 2011, Nephrology
Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, 2007, Internal Medicine

Annual AST Basic Science Fellowship Award (2009)
Annual Scientific Exchange Young Innovator Award, American Society of Transplantation (2010)
Harvard Medical School Excellence in Tutoring Award (2011)
Fellow of the American Society of Nephrology (2011)
Annual Scientific Exchange Young Innovator Award, American Society of Transplantation (2011)
National Faculty Transition Award, American Heart Association (2012)
John P. Merrill Career Development Award in Transplantation, American Society of Nephrology (2012)

Additional News:

Publications (Pulled from Harvard Catalyst Profiles):

1. Li GZ, Tio MC, Pak LM, Krier J, Tullius SG, Riella LV, Malek SK, Stergachis AB. Non-cirrhotic hyperammonemia after deceased donor kidney transplantation: A case report. Am J Transplant. 2019 Jul 25.

2. Magee CN, Murakami N, Borges TJ, Shimizu T, Safa K, Ohori S, Cai S, Uffing A, Azzi J, Elyaman W, Charbonnier LM, Liu K, Toprak D, Visner G, Chatila TA, Siebel CW, Najafian N, Riella LV. Notch-1 Inhibition Promotes Immune Regulation in Transplantation via Treg-Dependent Mechanisms. Circulation. 2019 Jul 03.

3. Haug V, Kollar B, Obed D, Kiwanuka H, Turk M, Wo L, Tasigiorgos S, Kueckelhaus M, Riella LV, Pomahac B. The Evolving Clinical Presentation of Acute Rejection in Facial Transplantation. JAMA Facial Plast Surg. 2019 Jul 01; 21(4):278-285.

4. Tasigiorgos S, Kollar B, Turk M, Perry B, Alhefzi M, Kiwanuka H, Nizzi MC, Marty FM, Chandraker A, Tullius SG, Riella LV, Pomahac B. Five-Year Follow-up after Face Transplantation. N Engl J Med. 2019 06 27; 380(26):2579-2581.

5. Uffing A, Hidalgo LG, McMullan C, Perry J, Milford EL, Murakami N, Yeung MY, Guleria I, Wood IG, Akalin E, Azzi J, Chandraker AK, Riella LV. Preformed Donor-specific Antibodies Against HLA Class II and Graft Outcomes in Deceased-donor Kidney Transplantation. Transplant Direct. 2019 May; 5(5):e446.

6. Chong AS, Rothstein DM, Safa K, Riella LV. Outstanding questions in transplantation: B cells, alloantibodies, and humoral rejection. Am J Transplant. 2019 Aug; 19(8):2155-2163.

7. Leon J, Pérez-Sáez MJ, Batal I, Beck LH, Rennke HG, Canaud G, Legendre C, Pascual J, Riella LV. Membranous Nephropathy Post-Transplantation: An Update of the Pathophysiology and Management. Transplantation. 2019 Apr 10.

8. Riella C, Siemens TA, Wang M, Campos RP, Moraes TP, Riella LV, Friedman DJ, Riella MC, Pollak MR. APOL1-Associated Kidney Disease in Brazil. Kidney Int Rep. 2019 Jul; 4(7):923-929.

9. Kollar B, Pomahac B, Riella LV. Novel immunological and clinical insights in vascularized composite allotransplantation. Curr Opin Organ Transplant. 2019 Feb; 24(1):42-48.

10. Pérez-Sáez MJ, Yu B, Uffing A, Murakami N, Borges TJ, Azzi J, El Haji S, Gabardi S, Riella LV. Conversion from tacrolimus to belatacept improves renal function in kidney transplant patients with chronic vascular lesions in allograft biopsy. Clin Kidney J. 2019 Aug; 12(4):586-591.