Rejuvinating discarded kidneys: the DNA methylation process during normothermic perfusion and potential reversal through hydralazine treatment

Kidney transplantation is the best treatment for end stage renal disease. In order to extend the offer of this treatment to all the potential recipients, new technologies and strategies are under investigation in order to increase the use of organs once deemed unsuitable. The aim of our research is dual:

  1. Definition of a biomarker for organ assessment. A particular interest is raising on the role of DNA methylation as epigenetic signature of biological age. We investigate the difference in term of biological age between peripheral blood cells and renal cells from blood and kidney samples taken from deceased donors

  2. Setting a protocol for normothermic machine perfusion with the intent of treating organs deemed unusable for transplantation with demethylating agents and reverting their biological aging.



Prof. Paolo Rigotti

Is Full Professor of Surgery at the Department of of Surgical Oncological and Gastroenterological Sciences, University of Padua, Padua, Italy. He received part of his training in USA as research fellow at the Department of Surgery of the University of Cincinnati and as Clinical Transplantation Fellow at the University of Texas at Houston.  Professor Rigotti heads the kidney-pancreas transplantation programme at the University Hospital of Padua, with more than 2500 kidney transplants performed at this Unit. Professor Rigotti’s research activities include clinical and experimental research in the field of organ transplantation, particularly on immunosuppressive drugs, dual kidney transplantation, pancreas transplantation and xenotransplantation.

Prof. ssa L. Furian

Associate Professor of Surgery at the Department of Surgical Oncological and Gastroenterological Sciences, University of Padua, Italy. She received part of her training in USA as Research Fellow (2001-2003) and Clinical Transplantation Fellow (2006) at the University of Texas at Houston. Prof. Furian has performed basic research in tolerance induction and signal transduction pathways, with particular interest on IL-2 receptor signaling inhibition  by antisense technology, new immunosuppressive drugs (Jak3 inhibitors), and murine models of humoral and cellular rejection in Stat4,5 a/b, 6 knock out. Her clinical and experimental research activities include xenotransplantation, organ preservation, pancreas transplantation, extended criteria donors, dual kidney transplantation and kidney paired donation. Prof. Furian’s clinical and surgical activity is particularly focused on kidney and pancreas transplantation and laparoscopic and robotic nephrectomy of living donors.

Prof. S. Pavanello

Associate professor and Head of the Genome and Environmental Mutagenesis Laboratory at the Occupational Medicine UOC of the University-Hospital of Padua. Scientific referent of the University of Padua for the participation in European networks for research: EUROPEAN INNOVATION PARTNERSHIP on Active and Healthy Aging. Expert in genetic and epigenetic mechanisms as potential functional pathways linking exposures to environmental and occupational pollutants to human multifactorial chronic age-related disease, including cancer. More recently her research interest is moved on exploring new biological molecular aging processes, among these telomere shortening, mitochondrial dysfunction, epigenetic age (DNA methylation analysis) to determine the real biological age of an individual. The scientific activity is documented by about 200 publications in peer reviewed journals including: research articles, reviews; Chapters of the International Paper; Monographs; Contributions in Conference proceedings and reports to Congress. H index: 28 (Scopus 2019)

Prof. U. Ferrari

Associate Professor of Nephrology at the University of Parma, Head of the Unit of Kidney Transplantation at the Hospital of Parma. He started the first Italian program of AB0 incompatible kidney transplantation from living donor and is, at present, in charge of the follow up of around 1000 recipients of kidney and pancreas – kidney transplantations. He coordinates the writing and editing of the Italian national and international guidelines for kidney transplantation (for the Italian Society of Organ Transplantation - SITO and the Italian Society of Nephrology – SIN and for the European Renal Association and European Dialysis and Transplant Association – ERA EDTA group). His research interests cover both epidemiological studies on patients with end stage renal disease and in waiting list for kidney transplantation, and projects of basic science aiming to explore the mechanisms of the development of renal graft failure after transplantation. H-index: 30 (Scopus 2020)

Dr. F. Neri

MD, General Surgeon (Residency completed at the University of Bologna), Academic Lecturer since February 2017 at the Department of Surgical, Oncological ad Gastroenterological Sciences, University of Padua, working as staff surgeon at the Unit of Kidney and Pancreas Transplantation, Hospital of Padua. She received part of her training in USA as Research Fellow (2009-2010) at the University of Illinois at Chicago and in UK at the Oxford Transplantation Centre (2018-2019). Her main interest pertain the technologies of machine perfusion applied to kidneys with the aim of their regeneration and treatment to increase their use for transplantation. Authors of more than 30 indexed publications. H-index: 12 (Scopus 2020).


Via Nicolò Giustiniani, 2
35128 Padova PD

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©2019 by APC.