Nephro-Vascular Pathology

Our research group investigates the biology of vascular cells and the mechanisms involved in the pathogenesis of vascular and nephrological diseases, using cell and molecular biology techniques and morphological and electron microscopy approaches.

Research areas:

  1. Biology of endothelial and smooth muscle cells and mesenchymal stem cells isolated from the human vascular wall
  2. Vascular pathologies (abdominal aorta aneurysms, vascular calcification, intimal hyperplasia in arteriovenous fistulas)
  3. Nephrological pathologies involving changes to the glomerular basement membrane, fusion of pedicellar processes in podocytes, and diabetic lesions.


Research projects:

The current research projects are focused on the study of vascular nephrological cells, with the following research objectives:

  1. The isolation, growth, and characterization of human mesenchymal stem cells from normal and pathological vascular walls, by means of analyses of the phenotype, genetic expression, and differentiation tests
  2. The involvement of human mesenchymal stem cells in nephro-vascular pathologies
  3. The analysis of microRNA at the level of the calcifications in atherosclerotic plaque and arteriovenous fistulas
  4. Expression modulation assays of microRNA in models of human vascular cells: endothelial and smooth muscle cells and mesenchymal stem cells
  5. Testing drugs used for other pathologies to investigate their ability to modulate the inflammatory response in models of human cells
  6. The study of the interactions between cells and micro- and nano-structured biomaterials for their potential application in the vascular field.

Principal Investigators


Carmen Ciavarella

D cat. - technical, scientific and data processing area

Ilenia Motta

PhD Student


Prof. Piera Versura, Laboratorio Analisi Superficie Oculare e Ricerca Traslazionale, DIMES, Università di Bologna

Dr. Eugenio Fornasiero, Department of Neuro- and Sensory Physiology, University Medical Center Göttingen

Prof. William G. Thilly and Dr. Elena V Gostjeva, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Biological Engineering, Boston, United States of America

Prof. Mauro Gargiulo, Vascular Surgery, IRCSS Sant'Orsola, DIMES - Bologna University

Prof. Gaetano La Manna, Nephrology, Dialysis and Transplantation, IRCCS Sant'Orsola, DIMES - Bologna University

Prof. Matteo Ravaioli, General and Transplant Surgery, IRCCS Sant'Orsola, DIMES - Bologna University