Cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying pediatric kidney diseases

The Laboratory of Translational Research in Paediatric Nephro-urology (LNUP) directed by Prof. Giovanni Montini and Dr. Federica Collino was born a year ago thanks to the support of various private associations (ImpactSIM SpA, Associazione Bambino Nefropatico and La Nuova Speranza Onlus Foundation).

LNUP is associated to the Ca ‘Granda Foundation IRCCS Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico di Milano and to the Department of Clinical and Community Sciences (UNIMI) and on the basis of a cooperative agreement is localized at the National Institute of Molecular Genetics (INGM).

The Laboratory studies the cellular and molecular mechanisms targeting the functional structures of the kidney, the glomerulus and the renal tubule, in children with pediatric kidney diseases. Their malfunction causes a reduction in the filtering capacity of the kidney or an imbalance of its ability to reabsorb essential substances to our body, which can lead to the development of irreversible kidney damage and the need for dialysis and transplantation.

In this context, the commitment of the LNUP researchers is to determine using -omics technologies and cytofluorimetric techniques, the renal and immune cellular components involved in the onset of pediatric diseases of the kidney and to study the plasma and urinary secretome of these patients, to identify molecules responsible for kidney damage. An important component of the secretome are the extracellular vesicles (EVs), circular structures released by the cells that mediate the crosstalk between the different components of a tissue in both physiological and pathological conditions. In the lab, we study the EV composition and their role in kidney damage propagation, together with their use as exogenous vectors for the delivery of healing molecules. In addition, we have developed a three-dimensional dynamic millifluidic model capable of mimicking the complex structure of the kidney in vitro and we explore the use of different substrates to better mimic the kidney morphology and study its functionality in acute and chronic diseases.


  • Role of the immune system alteration in development of the immune-mediated nephrotic syndrome.
  • Crosstalk between endothelial and epithelial glomerular cells in patients with steroid-resistant idiopathic nephrotic syndrome and its role in proteinuria development.
  • Urinary extracellular vesicles (EVs) in prenatal diagnosis of patients with upper and lower urinary tract obstruction.
  • Development of a three-dimensional ex vivo model of the renal tubule for the “delivery” of curative molecules by naïve and engineered EVs.


Nome / NameRuolo / RoleEmail
Linda BellucciPost Docbellucci@ingm.org
Federica CollinoPrincipal Scientist and Lab Coordinatorfederica.collino@unimi.it
Giulia CricriPost Doccricri@ingm.org
Irene ParaboschiResearcher Fellowparaboschi@ingm.org
Stefano TuroloSenior Researcherstefano.turolo@policlinico.mi.it

Publications (selection):

Giovanni Montini has published over 220 manuscripts in peer-reviewed scientific journals. Its H index (Scopus) is 42. Selection of some of the most relevant publications (from 2005):