May 17, 2022

Researcher using chair to impact kidney research

Dr. Pietro Ravani pursuing collaborations, encouraging feedback
Dr. Pietro Ravani

According to the Kidney Foundation, one in 10 Canadians has kidney disease, and 50,000 are being treated for kidney failure.

The Roy and Vi Baay Chair in Kidney Research at the University of Calgary was established to ensure leadership in research into kidney disease by providing funds to help recruit and retain internationally renowned researchers to the University of Calgary.

Clinician-researcher Dr. Pietro Ravani, MD, PhD, has held the Baay Chair since January 2021.

“I inherited an excellent research infrastructure built by the previous chair with the support of the Division of Nephrology,” says Ravani, explaining Dr. Hemmelgarn was the first to hold the title. “I am pursuing a number of collaborations and have set up a committee of stakeholders to help make the chair impactful.” 

Ravani received his medical degree and specialty training at the University of Parma, Italy, and an MSc in biostatistics at the University of Pavia, Italy. He went on to earn his PhD in epidemiology at Memorial University in Newfoundland.

Ravani worked as a practicing physician in Italy until 2008, when he moved to Calgary to start his academic career.

For the past 14 years, he has pursued both a clinical and research career. His research interests include statistical methods in outcomes research, design of clinical trials and longitudinal studies in people with kidney disease.

He is currently working on three major areas of kidney research. The first is an international randomized controlled trial comparing different methods to access blood for hemodialysis therapy. The second is an international randomized controlled trial testing the effect of antibodies that block the body’s immune response promoting kidney inflammation in children. Finally, he is working on an exciting project in collaboration with researchers in Scotland and Denmark involving a risk prediction tool that will help individuals with chronic kidney disease understand their prognosis and make treatment decisions according to their preferences.

“I am interested in how we can alter the disease trajectory of those with chronic kidney disease and help them make decisions that are aligned with their goals and values,” says Ravani.

Ravani says his goal is to use the Roy and Vi Baay Chair to help support young investigators. He is also hoping to expand the connection and use of databases in Alberta to facilitate research. He included numerous stakeholders on his recently formed committee, including patient advocates, to ensure numerous voices are heard in the research process.

Dr. Pietro Ravani, MD, PhD, is a professor in the Department of Medicine in the Division of Nephrology at the Cumming School of Medicine. He is a member of both the Libin Cardiovascular Institute and the O’Brien Institute for Public Health.