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Serena M. Bagnasco, M.D.

Photo of Dr. Serena M. Bagnasco, M.D.

Director, Renal Biopsy Service, The Johns Hopkins Hospital

Associate Professor of Pathology


Languages: English, Italian

Expertise: Pathology, Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Renal Pathology, Transplant Pathology

Research Interests: Kidney molecular physiology and pathology


The Johns Hopkins Hospital

600 N. Wolfe Street
Department of Pathology
Baltimore, MD 21287 map

Contact for Research Inquiries

Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
Pathology Building, Room 711
600 North Wolfe Street
Baltimore, MD 21287 map


Dr. Serena Bagnasco is an associate professor of pathology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Her areas of clinical expertise include pathology and transplant pathology. Dr. Bagnasco serves as director of the Hopkins Renal Pathology Service.

Dr. Bagnasco obtained her M.D. degree from the University of Genova in Italy, and spent several years in the Laboratory of Kidney and Electrolyte Metabolism NIH/NHLBI for her post-doctoral training in kidney physiology. She completed a residency in anatomic pathology at Northwestern University in Chicago, and a clinical fellowship in renal pathology at Johns Hopkins.

Her research interests are in the field of renal physiology and pathophysiology. She has studied how renal cells adapt to the environment of the kidney medulla, characterized by high concentration of salt and urea. More recently she has focused on the pathology of renal transplant, and the use of digital pathology in the analysis of kidney biopsies.

Dr. Bagnasco is on the editorial board of several peer reviewed journal including  The American Journal of Physiology, is Academic Editor for PlosOne. Dr. Bagnasco has authored more than 50 articles in scientific journals. more


  • Director, Renal Biopsy Service, The Johns Hopkins Hospital
  • Associate Professor of Pathology

Departments / Divisions



  • MD, Universita' Degli Studi Di Genova (1979)


  • Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine / Anatomic Pathology (1990)


  • Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (1993)

Board Certifications

  • American Board of Pathology / Anatomic Pathology (1990)

Research & Publications

Research Summary

Dr. Bagnasco's research interests are in the field of renal physiology / pathophysiology, and pathology.

She has studied the mechanisms of adaptation of renal cells to the environment of the kidney medulla, characterized by high concentration of salt and urea.

She and her team have defined the genomic organization of the gene that encodes the major renal urea transporters, which are essential for the process of urine concentration in the mammalian kidney. They are currently studying the pathways regulating expression and function of these transporters in the kidney and at extrarenal sites.

She is involved in collaborative studies and has published several articles on the pathology of transplanted kidney.


Selected Publications

View all on Pubmed

  1. Inoue H, Jackson SD, Vikulina T, Klein JD, Tomita K, Bagnasco SM. "Identification and characterization of a Kidd antigen/UT-B urea transporter expressed in human colon." Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2004 Jul;287(1):C30-5. Epub 2004 Feb 25.
  2. Bagnasco SM. "Gene structure of urea transporters." Am J Physiol Renal Physiol. 2003 Jan;284(1):F3-10. Review.
  3. Peng T, Sands JM, Bagnasco SM. "Glucocorticoids inhibit transcription and expression of the UT-A urea transporter gene." Am J Physiol Renal Physiol. 2002 May;282(5):F853-8.
  4. Bagnasco SM, Peng T, Janech MG, Karakashian A, Sands JM. "Cloning and characterization of the human urea transporter UT-A1 and mapping of the human Slc14a2 gene." Am J Physiol Renal Physiol. 2001 Sep;281(3):F400-6.
  5. Nakayama Y, Peng T, Sands JM, Bagnasco SM. "The TonE/TonEBP pathway mediates tonicity-responsive regulation of UT-A urea transporter expression." J Biol Chem. 2000 Dec 8;275(49):38275-80.

Pisitkun T, Gandolfo MT, Knepper M, Bagnasco SM. Application of system biology principles to protein biomarker discovery: urinary exosomal proteome in renal transplantation. Proteomics Clin. Appl. 2012;6(5-6):268-78.

Barisoni L, Nast CC, Jennette JC, Hodgin JB, Herzenberg AM, Lemley KV, Conway CM, Kopp JB, Kretzler M, Lienczewski C, Avila-Casado C, Bagnasco SM, Sethi S, Tomazewski J, Gasim AH, Hewitt SM. Digital pathology evaluation in the multicenter nephritic syndrome study network (NEPTUNE). Clin J Am Soc Nephrol. 2013;8:1449-59.

Bagnasco SM, Zachary AA, Racusen LC, Arend LJ, Carter-Monroe N, Alachkar N, Nazarian SM, Lonze BE, Montgomery RA, Kraus ES. Time Course of Pathologic Changes in Kidney Allografts of Positive Crossmatch HLA-Incompatible Transplant Recipients. Transplantation. 2014; 97:440-445.

Jackson AM, Sigdel TK, Delville M, Hsieh SC, Dai H, Bagnasco SM, Montgomery RA, Sarwal MM. Endothelial cell antibodies associated with novel targets and increased rejection. J Am Soc Nephrol. 2015; 26:1161-71.

Sampson MG, Robertson CC, Martini S, Mariani L, Lemley K, Gillies CE, Otto EA, Kopp JB, Randolph A, Vega-Warner V, Eichinger F, Nair V, Gipson DS, Cattran D, Johnstone D, OToole J, Bagnasco S, Song P, Barisoni L, Troost J, Kretzler M, Sedor J, and the Nephrotic Syndrome Study Network: Integrative genomics identifies novel associations with APOL1 risk genotype in African American NEPTUNE subjects. J Am Soc Nephrol 2015 (in press)

Bagnasco SM. Intimal arteritis in renal allografts: new takes on an old lesion. -Current Opinion in Transplantation, 2015 (in press).

Activities & Honors

Professional Activities

  • Leadership Program for Women Faculty, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, 2010 - 2011
  • Reviewer, Journal of the American Society of Nephrology
  • Reviewer, American Journal of Physiology
  • Reviewer, The American Journal of Pathology
  • Reviewer, PNAS
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