Where Ideas Grow

Nephrology & Infectious Diseases R&D


The Nephrology R&D Group (NG), previously Nephrology Research and Development Unit – FCT 725, is hosted by the Nephrology Department of São João Hospital Centre.

The NG is devoted to translational research in chronic kidney disease (CKD), its pathophysiology, diagnosis, complications and treatment. The main objective is to bridge the gap between basic and clinical science and the patient using a two-way ‘bench to bedside’ approach that will deliver real clinical benefit.

The NR&DU is organized in two intercommunicating sectors: a) an experimental nephrology sector and b) a clinical nephrology sector. The experimental sector is devoted to basic research at the molecular, biochemical, cellular and organ level, being carried out in an autonomous laboratory in collaboration with the Pharmacology, Physiology, Genetics and Pathology departments of the Faculty of Medicine of Porto. The clinical nephrology sector encompasses areas including clinical nephrology and genetics, hemodialysis, peritoneal dialysis and renal transplantation.

As a result of the intercommunication between the two sectors, 4 different research programs emerged:

  1. Neurohormonal activation in CKD:  role of sympathetic, dopaminergic and natriuretic peptide systems. Coordinator: M. Pestana.
  2. Repercussion of immunossupression and infectious diseases on renal and endothelial function. Coordinator: A Sarmento.
  3. Pathophysiology and treatment of renal osteodystrophy. Coordinator: J M Frazão.
  4. Family based study of hereditary renal diseases and investigation of genetic factors involved in their progression. Coordinator: J P Oliveira. 


The main achievements of the NG during the period 2008-12 were the marked increase in scientific productivity going along with the establishment of international collaborations. The members from NG published 107 full papers indexed in the ISI Web of Science during the period 2008-12. This corresponds to a 4-fold increase in the scientific productivity of the NR&DU in comparison with the previous period 2003-2007. Number and mean impact factor of the papers published during the period 2008-12 were:

2008 (n=18; mean IF=4.043); 2009 (n=17; mean IF=5.98); 2010 (n=24; mean IF=3.96); 2011 (n=26; mean IF=4.23); 2012 (n=23; mean IF=4.36).

In 2007 the members of the NG succeeded to create an autonomous laboratory within the clinical Nephrology Dept., of Hospital São João devoted to the histochemical analysis of human renal biopsies, hystomorphometric analysis of organ tissues and bone, cell culture and western blotting.

In parallel, the NG progressively succeeded in integrating young residents in clinical and translational research projects. Moreover, new important international collaborations and funding besides the Portuguese Ministry of Science was obtained.

Most of the research projects of the NG during the period 2008-12 were integrative and multidisciplinary.

Post-graduation - 6 PhD theses and 2 Master theses were concluded during the period 2008-2013. 

Scanning electron microscope images of insulin-loaded PLGA nanoparticles


Ongoing Projects

PRIMING: Impact of maternal obesity on early-life microbiota-induced immune system priming
Reference: Bolsa Biocodex 2021 - PRIMING
Proponent: Instituto de Investigação e Inovação em Saúde - Universidade do Porto
Sponsor: Biocodex Microbiota Foundation
From 01-JUL-21 to 31-DEC-24
Pneumococcal polysaccharidic vaccine 23-valent (PPV23) boost in Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant
Reference: MSD Study-2021-MISP#61355
Proponent: Instituto de Investigação e Inovação em Saúde - Universidade do Porto
Sponsor: Merck Sharp & Dohme.Lda
From 15-SEP-21 to 15-DEC-24
Peroxidasin as a Novel Target in Chronic Kidney Disease Diagnosis and Treatment
Reference: 2022.04524.PTDC
Proponent: Instituto de Investigação e Inovação em Saúde - Universidade do Porto
Sponsor: FCT - Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia
From 01-JAN-23 to 31-DEC-25
Maternal Mycobiome Dysbiosis and its Influence on the Mycobiome of the Child
Reference: ESCMID Research Grants 2021 - R/008028
Proponent: Instituto de Investigação e Inovação em Saúde - Universidade do Porto
Sponsor: Eur.Soc.Clinical Microb. Infect. Diseases (ESCMID)
From 01-FEB-23 to 01-JUL-24