Rochester, Minnesota




Lynn D. Cornell, M.D., is a medical renal pathologist with special interests in IgG4-related disease and renal transplant pathology.

Dr. Cornell also established the Renal Pathology Fellowship at Mayo Clinic and serves as the program director. In this role, she mentors fellows and other trainees in renal pathology research. She also created and maintains a database of renal biopsy cases at Mayo Clinic, which has furthered clinical research efforts of all of Mayo's renal pathology and nephrology staff and trainees.

Focus areas

  • IgG4-related renal disease. Dr. Cornell's studies in the kidney formed the basis for the diagnostic consensus in the renal manifestations of this disease. Together with Robert B. Colvin, M.D., she published findings on the first series of renal pseudotumors due to IgG4 immune complex tubulointerstitial nephritis and linked this renal manifestation to systemic IgG4-related disease.

    Since then, she has published on the largest biopsy- and nephrectomy-based series on the histologic, immunophenotypic and clinical features of IgG4-related tubulointerstitial nephritis and proposed criteria for diagnosis of this entity. She also published findings on the only series on membranous glomerulonephritis secondary to IgG4-related disease; membranous glomerulonephritis is now recognized as a manifestation of IgG4-related disease.

  • Kidney transplantation. Dr. Cornell has published several papers on antibody-mediated rejection, most interestingly in positive crossmatch kidney transplant recipients receiving a C5 inhibitor. These studies elucidated the nature of alloantibody and complement effects on the graft in both early and late post-transplant periods.

    She has also studied recurrent disease in the transplant, and in particular described the unique histopathologic and immunophenotypic features of recurrent membranous nephropathy. Additionally, Dr. Cornell has evaluated kidney transplants in patients with primary hyperoxaluria, and has also described unique glomerular disease patterns in 10-year post-transplant protocol biopsies.

  • Glomerulonephritis. Together with Samih H. Nasr, M.D., Dr. Cornell has described a novel form of glomerulonephritis, termed atypical anti-glomerular basement membrane nephritis. In doing so, the two detailed the clinicopathologic features of a distinct entity with a different histopathologic pattern and clinical course from classic anti-glomerular basement membrane (GBM) disease.

    Dr. Cornell also served as the senior author describing membranous nephropathy with crescents, the only case series of patients with negative ANCA and anti-GBM serologic tests and without systemic lupus. She was the senior author on a paper describing the glomerular and interstitial features of renal extramedullary hematopoiesis, the only such series of antemortem kidney specimens and one that describes unique glomerular pathology in these patients.

Significance to patient care

Dr. Cornell's long-term research goal is to improve understanding of the causes of kidney disease and complications of kidney transplants, thereby providing patients with more-accurate diagnoses, more-effective treatments and better outcomes.

Professional highlights

  • Recipient, Gloria Gallo Research Award, Renal Pathology Society, 2015
  • Recipient, Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award, National Institutes of Health, 2005-2007


Primary Appointment

  1. Consultant, Division of Anatomic Pathology, Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology

Academic Rank

  1. Professor of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology


  1. Fellow - Robert T. McCluskey Fellowship in Renal Pathology Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School
  2. Postdoctoral Training - NIH Research Training Award Transplant Biology Research Center, Massachusetts General Hospital
  3. Chief Resident - Anatomic Pathology Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School
  4. Resident - Anatomic and Clinical Pathology Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School
  5. MD University of Minnesota Medical School
  6. BS - Biology Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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