Massimo Attanasio, M.D.

Assistant Professor

Department: Internal Medicine, Eugene McDermott Center for Human Growth & Development

Graduate Programs: Genetics and Development, Integrative Biology


Dr. Massimo Attanasio received his M.D. degree from the II University of Napoli, Italy cum laude in 1990, with a bioengineering thesis on mutated transcriptional terminators in E. coli. After completing a residency in Pediatrics at the University of Parma, in 1994 he served as an Attendant in Pediatrics and Neonatology in the Hospital S. Maria Nuova in Reggio Emilia, Italy. In 2002 he joined as a postdoctoral fellow the laboratory of Dr. Friedhelm Hildebrandt at University of Michigan, where he studied the genetics of inheritable kidney diseases. During this period he participated to the identification of a gene that when mutated cause congenital nephrotic syndrome and of several genes that cause nephronophthisis, a rare autosomal recessive disease that inexorably leads to renal insufficiency. In 2008 Dr. Attanasio joined the faculty of the University of Texas - Southwestern Medical Center as an Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine/Nephrology and Human Genetics at the McDermott Center for Growth and Development. In his laboratory, Dr. Attanasio uses mouse models to uncover the molecular mechanisms that lead to progressive kidney cystic disease and fibrosis and is pursuing the discovery of new genes that cause inheritable kidney diseases. In 2010 Dr. Attanasio received the Norman Siegel Research Scholar Award from the American Society of Nephrology.


Medical School University of Naples (1990), Medicine

Research Interests

  • Cell signaling
  • Cystic kidney diseases and fibrosis
  • Genetics of inherited kidney diseases
  • Glomerulonephritis


Featured Publications Legend

Featured Publications

Exome capture reveals ZNF423 and CEP164 mutations, linking renal ciliopathies to DNA damage response signaling.

Chaki M, Airik R, Ghosh AK, Giles RH, Chen R, Slaats GG, Wang H, Hurd TW, Zhou W, Cluckey A, Gee HY, Ramaswami G, Hong CJ, Hamilton BA, Cervenka I, Ganji RS, Bryja V, Arts HH, van Reeuwijk J, Oud MM, Letteboer SJ, Roepman R, Husson H, Ibraghimov-Beskrovnaya O, Yasunaga T, Walz G, Eley L, Sayer JA, Schermer B, Liebau MC, Benzing T, Le Corre S, Drummond I, Janssen S, Allen SJ, Natarajan S, O'Toole JF, Attanasio M, Saunier S, Antignac C, Koenekoop RK, Ren H, Lopez I, Nayir A, Stoetzel C, Dollfus H, Massoudi R, Gleeson JG, Andreoli SP, Doherty DG, Lindstrad A, Golzio C, Katsanis N, Pape L, Abboud EB, Al-Rajhi AA, Lewis RA, Omran H, Lee EY, Wang S, Sekiguchi JM, Saunders R, Johnson CA, Garner E, Vanselow K, Andersen JS, Shlomai J, Nurnberg G, Nurnberg P, Levy S, Smogorzewska A, Otto EA, Hildebrandt F Cell 2012 Aug 150 3 533-48

Individuals with mutations in XPNPEP3, which encodes a mitochondrial protein, develop a nephronophthisis-like nephropathy.

O’Toole JF, Liu Y, Davis EE, Westlake CJ, Attanasio M, Otto EA, Seelow D, Nurnberg G, Becker C, Nuutinen M, Karppa M, Ignatius J, Uusimaa J, Pakanen S, Jaakkola E, van den Heuvel LP, Fehrenbach H, Wiggins R, et. al J Clin Invest. 2010 120:791-802

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  • Satellite Healthcare Norman S. Coplon Extramural Research
  • American Society of Nephrology Norman Siegel Research Scholar Award