Alessia Fornoni

Professor of Medicine and Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine

Dr. Fornoni is 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 and the Co-Director of the CTSI/KL2 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 funded several startup companies 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 became a member of ASCI and of AAP. She serves or have served 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 served on the advisory board of more than 20 companies and patients foundations (Nephcure Kidney International and Alport Syndrome Foundation). Her contributions have been published in high impact journals: JCI, NEJM, Nature Medicine, Cell Metabolism, Science Translational Medicine, Nature Communication, Journal of Biological Chemistry, Diabetes among others. Her H index is 37.
She successfully trained several graduate students and post-doctoral fellows from four different continents, and was recipient of the best graduate school mentor of the year award in 2016, the Provost Scholar Award in 2018, the best faculty mentor in the Department of Medicine 2019, the Andrew Schally Research award in 2019, the WIAM Leadership Award in 2019, the Barkin/Roger Outstanding Mentor Award in 2020. Her trainees are occupying key academic and industry positions in five different continents worldwide. In recognition of her effort to establish educational bridges between Italy and the USA, she was recognized as a knight of the star of Italy in 2018 by the Italian President.
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.
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.