Unravelling the clues of kidney transplantation success

The Project

Chronic kidney disease is an increasing health problem characterized by the progressive loss of nephrons that finally leads to end-stage kidney disease. Kidney transplantation is the best therapeutic option as it restores all kidney physiological functions. Organ transplantation in humans started in the last century and is currently a routine clinical procedure. Barcelona has international leadership in kidney transplantation with most Catalan patients with kidney failure living with a functioning kidney allograft.

Kidney transplantation relies on organ donation, which is based on high social values such as solidarity, generosity, empathy, transparence and confidence, and all the process requires the collaboration of surgeons, physicians, immunologists, pathologists and nurses. There have been major advances to overcome surgical, functional and immunological hurdles that account for excellent short-term results but improvement of long-term graft function and patency remains as a challenge. Indeed, many studies identify some silent immunological and non-immunological injures that harm the kidney and jeopardize its future. However, little is known about the own mechanisms the kidney uses to compensate these damages and the potential regenerative processes behind. What can be done to prolong kidney graft survival? It is just a matter of minimize injury? Do kidney progenitor cells play a role in the reparative process? Can we modulate the balance between the immune system fighting for destroying the kidney transplant and the inherent capacity of the kidney to survive by its own reparative progenitor cells?

In this project you will have a unique experience facing current challenges and opportunities in kidney transplantation. Transplant science is a success model of translational medicine gathering basic and clinical researchers seeking a common objective. In a very practical way you will be first provided with the clues of transplant success by a team of experts. You will know about all critical steps in the transplant process, from organ procurement and robotic surgery to modern immunosuppression. Then, you will be introduced in the new concepts and methodologies we are working in our laboratory. You will see new tools for monitoring the immune response and perform some experiments with renal progenitor cells. By this background you will have some hints to generate your own hypothesis to be tested in future studies.

During this project you will feel as a truly and passionate transplant scientist seeking the way to avoid long-term transplant failure.

Do you accept the challenge?

Matching profiles

Health sciences, biomedicine, biology, chemistry

Required materials


Coordinator of the project

Josep Maria Cruzado

Eva Oliver

Núria Lloberas

Anna Sola

The center

Bellivitge Hospital University (HUB) was opened in 1972 and is located in the city of Hospitalet de Llobregat (Barcelona) and belongs to the Catalan Health Institute (ICS). The HUB is one of the only five hospitals in all Catalonia certified as third level center, allowing to treat high level complexity cases, and is of reference to more than 2 million of people.

For more than 25 years, the hospital has been an educational center linked to the University of Barcelona (Campus Bellvitge) within the School of Medicine and Health Sciences, recognized as International Health Campus (HUBc). The hospital is a state of the art research center and member of the Biomedical Research Institute of Bellvitge (IDIBELL), one of the few government owned centers certified with the highest research level by the Carlos III Research Institute.