Professor of Medicine, Tenured
Director and Chair, Peggy and Harold Katz Family Drug Discovery Center
Member of the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Graduate Program
Secondary Appointment of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Co-Director of the MSTP program
Co-Director of the CTSI/KL2 and Mentoring program
BiographyDr. Fornoni is tenured Professor of Medicine and Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.She serves as Director of the Peggy and Harold Katz Drug Discovery Center. She is also the Co-Director of the MSTP program and of the CTSI/KL2 and Mentoring 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, CH. She funded several start up 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 in 2017, of AAP in 2021, and of the Florida Academy of Science, Engineering and Medicine of Florida in 2023. She serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Clinical Investigation and Kidney International. She is deputy editor of the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology. 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 among others. She served on the advisory board of more than 20 companies and two 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 45.
She successfully trained several graduate students and post-doctoral fellows from around the globe, 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. 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.
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.
Education & Training
Post Graduate Training
Licensures and Certifications
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Teaching InterestsPathogenesis of glomerular diseases
Physician scientist career development opportunities
Mentor-mentee training courses
Research InterestsMy primary research focus is related to mechanisms of proteinuria in kidney diseases, including kidney disease caused by exposure to cancer treatment. In the laboratory, I have worked with several experimental models of glomerulosclerosis to study the metabolic pathways that modulates the function of glomerular cells, with a primary interest in lipid metabolism and mediators of inflammation and cardiovascular diseases. I have also discovered I unique mechanism of action of rituximab, an anti CD-20 molecule that we found to modulate sphingolipid related signaling. Through my NIH funded work on cholesterol metabolism and sphingolipid-related pathways, I have uncovered new pathogenetic mechanisms in glomerular disorders of diabetic and non-diabetic origin.
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Copyrights & Patents
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