About Leonardo Riella, MD, PhD

Dr. Leonardo V. Riella is the Harold and Ellen Danser Endowed Chair in Transplantation and Associate Professor of Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School. He is the medical director of kidney transplantation, associate director of the Legorreta Center for Transplantation Tolerance, and a senior investigator at the Center of Transplantation Sciences. He completed his internal medicine residency at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), and his nephrology and transplantation fellowship through the combined BWH and Mass General program.

Dr. Riella's research focuses on improving the longevity of transplanted organs. His goal is to develop better methods for detecting organ rejection and pioneering innovative treatments that teach the immune system to accept the transplanted organ. Unlike traditional approaches that suppress the entire immune system, Dr. Riella's unique methods enhance the regulatory arm of the immune system, promoting a healthier balance and reducing the toxicity of immunosuppressive medications. With his expertise, he effectively manages challenging cases such as antibody-mediated rejection and the recurrence of glomerular disease. Dr. Riella's dedication to advancing patient care ensures improved outcomes for those undergoing kidney transplantation.

Departments, Centers, & Programs:

Clinical Interests:




Mass General Renal Associates
165 Cambridge Street
Suite 302
Boston, MA 02114
Phone: 617-726-5050

Medical Education

  • MD, Federal University of Parana
  • PhD, Federal University of Sao Paulo
  • PhD, Federal University of Sao Paulo
  • Residency, Brigham and Women's Hospital
  • Fellowship, Brigham and Women's Hospital
  • Fellowship, Brigham and Women's Hospital

American Board Certifications

  • Internal Medicine, American Board of Internal Medicine
  • Nephrology, American Board of Internal Medicine

Accepted Insurance Plans

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Our bodies are constantly under attack by bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites. In addition, sometimes our own cells proliferate out of control—as seen with cancer—or attack our own body—as seen with autoimmune diseases.

The immune system is our body’s army and protects us against all of the above enemies at all times. The immune system must be tightly regulated, since fighting an infection with too much ammunition may cause significant collateral damage. In 1995, one of the most critical immunological advances in the past 50 years occurred: the discovery of regulatory immune cells that inhibit the immune response, preventing it from getting out of control. We now know that there are many regulatory immune cells in our bodies that keeps the immune system under a tight control.

The Riella Laboratory is focused on understanding these mechanisms of immune regulation in order to develop smarter and more efficient ways to control the immune system and prevent organ rejection after transplantation.


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