Renal pathologists use a combination of microscopic methods, including light, immunofluorescence, and electron microscopy, to analyze a wide range of non-neoplastic diseases of the native kidney in adults and pediatric patients.

The same group of pathologists is also responsible for renal transplant biopsies. Renal tumors are analyzed by our Genitourinary Pathology section (see separate subspecialty listing).

The images below are of a biopsy from a patient with membranous glomerulonephritis, an autoimmune disease.

Renal biopsy

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Laura Barisoni, MD, is an internationally renowned renal pathologist, investigator, and educator, and served as the President of the Renal Pathology Society in 2019. She joined the Duke faculty in 2018 as Professor of Pathology and Medicine. She is the Director of the Renal Pathology Service and Co-Director of the Division of Artificial Intelligence and Computational Pathology. Her research involves diagnostic and investigative applications of computational image analysis.  Dr. Barisoni is part of the leadership for several international nephrology consortia studying glomerular diseases (NEPTUNE and CureGN) and chronic and acute kidney injury (Kidney Precision Medicine Project). Email

Anne F. Buckley, MD, PhD, is a renal pathologist, nerve and muscle pathologist, and a neuropathologist. Dr Buckley is an Associate Professor of Pathology and serves as the Director of the Muscle Pathology Service and the Medical Director of the Clinical Electron Microscopy Laboratory. She has contributed to basic research on hypertension and diabetes in animal models of renal diseases and to translational research on muscle disorders.  Her basic research centers on brain neoplasia and development. Email

David N. Howell, MD, PhD, is a Professor of Pathology and Vice Chair in Pathology. He has been practicing transplant and renal pathology for more than 30 years and made significant contributions in the field of native and transplant renal pathology and ultrastructural pathology.  He also specializes in the interpretation of biopsies from other solid organ transplants, including lung, heart, liver, pancreas, and small bowel.  His interests include heritable diseases of the renal glomerulus and infectious diseases in transplant patients. Dr Howell is a member of the Board of Directors of the Renal Pathology Society, where he  will serve as president in 2024. Email