Explore This Lab

About the Program

The Kidney Transplant Research Program at the Massachusetts General Hospital Transplant Center investigates important, unanswered clinical questions about kidney transplantation to advance transplantation science and improve care for our kidney transplant patients.

As part of this program, the team is creating an institutional research resource of biospecimens and health data, all of which has been donated by patients who have undergone or plan to undergo kidney transplant surgery. Any patient from a United States-based hospital can voluntarily donate samples and health information to be used in various studies in this research program.

Our Research

Recurrence of Glomerular Disease After Transplant

Glomerular disease is a condition that affects the glomeruli, the units of the kidney that filter waste and remove extra fluids from the blood. It is the third leading cause of kidney failure in the U.S. and commonly recurs following kidney transplant surgery, shortening the life of the new kidney.

To understand why glomerular disease recurs after transplant, our team founded the TANGO Consortium, an international network of physicians, academia and industry partners that collaborate to study glomerular disease recurrence after kidney transplantation. This network currently comprises representatives from 35 transplant centers worldwide. We are actively recruiting patients who have been diagnosed with focal segmental glomerulosclerosis and other glomerular diseases to participate in multiple TANGO Consortium-led studies.

Learn more about the TANGO Consortium

Kidney Transplant Rejection

Organ rejection is the leading cause of transplant failure worldwide, and early detection is critical to prevent long-term damage to the transplanted kidney. While a biopsy remains the gold standard for diagnosing organ rejection, this method is invasive and associated with complications, such as extreme bleeding. Instead, a cutting-edge technology being analyzed by this team may identify early rejection through a blood or urine test, which could provide a faster, minimally invasive alternative to biopsy.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I participate?

Please complete our screening survey.

Someone from our team will reach out to you within three business days after submission to provide more information about the initiative and next steps.

Who is eligible to participate?

All patients who have undergone kidney transplant in the past, or those currently on the kidney transplant waitlist at Mass General or another U.S.-based hospital, can participate in this study at no cost. Contribution is always voluntary, and participants can withdraw at any time. Information about medical history is gathered during the application process to determine eligibility.

What happens if I decide to participate?

You will be asked to review and sign a document confirming that you would like to share your clinical information and donate blood and urine samples.

You will then receive a delivery kit with the necessary supplies for blood and urine collection. The next time that you see your primary care physician for routine labs, please bring the kit. Once the samples have been taken and put in the kit, you will send everything to us. If you are a patient at Mass General, the blood and urine collection will be done at the Mass General Transplant Center.

With your permission, we will access your medical record for additional health information relevant to the study’s research goals. Your participation is confidential, and your data will not include any identifiers so as to ensure your privacy.

Will participation in this study improve my health?

There is no guarantee that participation in this study will improve your health. However, we hope that the results from this research will help to advance treatments for patients with recurrent glomerular disease and/or kidney transplant rejection by enabling easier and more effective ways to detect these diseases.

Are there risks to participating in the study?

Drawing blood may cause some discomfort. We want to stress that our staff is thoroughly trained, and your data will be de-identified to preserve your privacy. Moreover, additional extensive security measures are in place to minimize the risk of a confidentiality breach.

Meet the Team

Leonardo V. Riella, MD, PhD

Leonardo V. Riella, MD, PhD
Medical Director of Kidney Transplantation

Frank Hullekes

Frank Hullekes, MD
PhD Candidate

Rucháma Verhoeff

Rucháma Verhoeff, MD
Research Fellow

Isadora Lape

Isadora Lape, BS
Research Assistant

Gabriel Baysa

Gabriel Baysa
Clinical Research Coordinator

Margaret Thomas

Margaret Thomas
Clinical Research Program Manager

Leela Morena

Leela Morena, MD
Research Fellow

Nora Alzahrani

Nora Alzahrani, MD
Clinical and Research Fellow

Ayman Al Jurdi

Ayman Al Jurdi, MD
Clinical and Research Fellow