A passion for the "smartest organ" brought her to Riley
During her first physiology class in medical school, the kidneys made the most sense to Danielle Soranno, MD, and she never looked back. “They really are the smartest organ in the body.”
Today, Dr. Soranno remains just as passionate about kidneys and nephrology and is bringing that passion to the nephrology team at Riley Children’s Health. “The more I learned about the kidneys, the more I loved them.” She even named her dog, Henle, after her favorite part of the kidney, and artwork featuring the kidney hangs on the wall in her Wells Center office.
Recruitment of top pediatric physicians and researchers is highly competitive. With philanthropic support, Riley is able to bring the best and brightest, like Dr. Soranno, to Indiana from around the country. While she wasn’t looking to looking leave Colorado or the view of the Rocky Mountains from her office, Riley sought her out for her bioengineering background, coupled with her experience in treating acute kidney injury. In her work at Riley, Dr. Soranno will align her research with clinical work, replicating in the lab what happens in the NICU and leading to better outcomes for babies.
She chose Riley because of its national reputation in pediatric nephrology - ranked in the top 15 nationally by U.S. News & World Report - and unique partnership between the IU School of Medicine and Purdue University College of Engineering “I don’t know of anywhere else in the country with this kind of partnership – it speaks to me and my bioengineering mind.”
This new partnership is a pilot program that supports collaborative research between the two school’s faculty members. Dr. Soranno and her partners are designing and creating a peritoneal dialysis catheter for babies. Many hospitals have retrofitted external dialysis machines to meet the needs of infants, but peritoneal dialysis is preferred. This medical device would improve access to infant dialysis globally.
Her research in AKI focuses on how to effectively treat and mitigate its progression to chronic kidney disease. She studies the use of injectable hydrogels to release specific treatments, the long-term outcomes of AKI, and the impact of biological variables on heart function and growth after AKI.
“Dr. Soranno significantly expands our research potential at Riley,” said David Hains, MD, chief of nephrology. “Her expertise and research program allow us to start taking what we have learned from our unique neonatal acute kidney injury clinical program to the laboratory. There, Dr. Soranno will be able to answer questions and discover innovative interventions to improve care for patients.”