Dr. Leonardo Riella is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and the Assistant Medical Director of Kidney and Pancreas Transplantation at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Dr Riella’s primary research interests are to:- Develop new diagnostic tests that could detect earlier graft dysfunction and rejection (even before creatinine elevation)- Promote transplant tolerance by the development of novel drugs to promote regulation and prevent/treat antibody-mediated rejection (major cause of kidney loss after transplant)- Implement novel blood assays that would permit to measure the immune system function. This would allow more precise adjustment of dosages of immunosuppressive drugs, minimizing risks of over-mmunosuppression that may lead to infections/cancers.

Specifically, Dr. Riella is currently exploring the role of the Notch pathway in T and B cell activation/differentiation in alloimmunity; developing novel assays to characterize alloantibodies; and investigating the coinhibitory pathways that suppress T cell activation and promote tolerance, such as the PD1/PDL-1 pathway. He is also involved in translational/mechanistic clinical trials that are attempting to identify earlier markers of rejection and develop novel assays to measure the immune function in kidney transplant recipients.

Upcoming exciting clinical trial: Investigation of a novel drug in the management of kidney transplant recipients with proteinuria. Click here for more information.

Selected Publications

Riella LV, Liu T, Yang J, Chock S, Shimizu T, Mfarrej B, Batal I, Xiao X, Sayegh MH, Chandraker A. “Deleterious Effect of CTLA4-Ig on a Treg-dependent Transplant Model,” American Journal of Transplantation, 2012; Apr;12(4):846-55.

Riella LV, Safa K, Yagan J, Lee B, Azzi A, Najafian N, Abdi R, Miford E, Mah H, Gabardi S, Malek S, Tullius SG, Magee C, Chandraker A. “Long-Term Outcomes of Kidney Transplantation Across a Positive Complement-Dependent Cytotoxicity Crossmatch,” Transplantation 2014

Riella LV, Ueno T, Batal I, Elyaman W, Yagita H, Medina-Pestana JO, Chandraker A, Najafian N. “Blockade of Notch Ligand Delta1 Promotes Allograft Survival by Inhibiting Alloreactive Th1 Cells and Cytotoxic T Cell Generation,” Journal of Immunology, 2011, Nov 1;187(9):4629-38.

Riella LV, Paterson AM, Sharpe AH, Chandraker A. “Role of the PD-1 Pathway in the Immune Response,” American Journal of Transplantation, 2012; Oct;12(10):2575-87.

Murakami N, Riella LV. “Co-Inhibitory Pathways and Their Importance in Immune Regulation,” Transplantation 2014

Riella LV, Sayegh MH. “T-cell co-stimulatory blockade in transplantation: two steps forward one step back!,” Expert Opin Biol Ther. 2013 Nov;13(11):1557-68.

Riella LV, Dada S, Chabtini L, Smith L, Huang L, Dakle P, Mellor AL, Sharpe AH, Yagita H, Guleria I. “B7h (ICOS L) maintains tolerance at the fetomaternal interface,” American Journal of Pathology, 2013; June; 182(6):2204-13.


Pubmed link with most updated articles: Riella articles 



Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School

Associate Physician, Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Assistant Medical Director of Kidney and Pancreas Transplantation



Internal Medicine Residency, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, 2007

Nephrology Fellowship, Brigham and Women’s Hospital & Massachusetts General Hospital, 2009

Transplantation Fellowship, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, 2010



Awards & Honors

Medicine Residency Excellence in Teaching, Harvard Medical School, 2006

Annual Basic Science Fellowship Award, American Society of Transplantation, 2009

Annual Scientific Exchange Young Innovator Award, American Society of Transplantation, 2010

Excellence in Tutoring Award, Harvard Medical School, 2011

Fellow of the American Society of Nephrology, American Society of Nephrology, 2011

Annual Scientific Exchange Young Innovator Award, American Society of Transplantation, 2011

John P. Merrill Career Development Award in Transplantation, American Society of Nephrology, 2012

National Fellow to Faculty Transition Award, American Heart Association, 2012

BWH Renal Division Physician of the Year Award, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, 2014




Phone: 617-525-8008
Fax: 617-732-5254
E-Mail: lvriella@partners.org