Dr. Laura Barisoni Receives Renal Pathology Society Award

The Renal Pathology Society (RPS) awarded Professor Laura Barisoni, MD, the Jacob Churg Award for her major contributions to the field of renal pathology. Barisoni was nominated by Professor David Howell, MD, PhD, and Professor Helen Liapis MD, PhD. In their joint nomination letter, they cited her tremendous input as a scholar, investigator, dedicated educator, and an outstanding diagnostic pathologist: “Laura’s scholarly contributions to the field of renal pathology are of extraordinary breadth and depth.”

Throughout her career, Barisoni has been at the forefront of renal pathology and translational medicine. Her investigations have significantly advanced our understanding of glomerular disorders associated with the nephrotic syndrome, particularly podocytopathies. In addition, she has pioneered the use of digital pathology in translational research and contributed to the establishment of many national and international digital nephropathology repositories through consortia funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). These repositories and associated clinical and metadata have become the new standard and a valuable resource for multicenter translational research and clinical trials.

Laura Barisoni's Renal Pathology Society Award Plaque

She leveraged digital pathology for the development of novel scoring systems for podocytopathies and Fabry’s disease. The latter resulted in an FDA-approved methodology for assessing a surrogate endpoint –a biomarker that serves as a substitute for a clinical endpoint– in Fabry’s clinical trials that was named after her: the Barisoni Lysosomal Inclusion Scoring System (BLISS). As technology advanced, she played a major leading role in the application of computational pathology to renal biopsy analysis with the goal of advancing precision medicine–a practice that considers an individual's genetics, environment, and lifestyle in selecting the best treatment. Barisoni is the founding co-chair of our department’s Division of Artificial Intelligence and Computational Pathology, where she mentors a promising and growing group of young pathologists, computer scientists, and trainees.

Barisoni has been an active contributor to the nephropathology community, serving as a member or chair of many RPS committees; as a member of the Board of Advisors and the Board of Directors; as the president of the Society (2019); and as a mentor for many junior renal pathologists.

She is also a dedicated educator, giving widely anticipated national and international lectures on precision medicine and glomerular disease. Her creativity and foresight are reflected in the founding of the International Summer School or Renal Pathology and Precision Medicine, held in Italy, that employs modern approaches and technology for the training of the next generation of nephropathologists.