Although it was not, nor will be a “Big One”, the Covid-19 pandemic could – if new clusters of infection continue to reappear, and if we fail to adopt a more rational approach – cause economic and social damage comparable to the worst epidemics in history, like the Black Death of the 14th century, and the so-called Spanish Flu of 1918-19.

Since the 1970s, infectious disease experts had been expecting a new devastating worldwide influenza pandemic or a deadly, highly transmissible infection from among the dozens of very infectious “emerging” viruses that since 1981–82 – when AIDS/HIV first appeared – have passed from wild animals to man in different parts of the world. What has emerged is this strange beast, which first evolved in bats and perhaps in a few intermediary hosts to then infect our species where it has been able to circulate very effectively and practically unnoticed in some 80% of those infected – provided they are in good health and enjoy some genetic protection – create some clinical discomfort in a further 15%, and threaten the lives of the remaining 5%, namely the elderly, very elderly and/or people with co-morbidities.

The Covid-19 pandemic raises several considerations regarding both the history of our healthcare systems and our social psychology. First, the vulnerability of complex societies to only relatively lethal infections – as Covid-19 in fact is – may well be due to imbalances in our healthcare system. In other words, a system geared increasingly to the management of chronic degenerative diseases should not find it itself unprepared for, or at worst, be a vehicle aiding the spread of a virus like SARS-CoV-2.

The vulnerability of complex societies to infectious diseases also depends on social perceptions. Today mortality rates, so far, much lower than the norm for various other influenza pandemics – not to mention Spanish Flu – have struck inordinate terror in a society no longer familiar with the (relative) mortality and contagion rates of diseases spread by physical contact.

Other questions concern how different political and institutional policies responded, and the extent to which they have been negatively impacted by the pandemic. The constant referrals to the Chinese or South Korean models, and the irritated reactions before the Swedish approach all show our inability to keep a sense of reality in our assessment of global scenarios.

The question can rightly be asked whether the dialogue between the political and scientific world did in fact lead to better management of the emergency. The trust placed in mathematical models can hardly be considered to have improved the efficacy of public-health policies; it only fuelled panic and hypnotized the population.

Problems also emerged regarding consensus within the medical community over carefully investigated virology theories, evidence-based clinical practice and the validation of experimental clinical treatments.

Once a decision is taken to manage a pandemic using paternalistic, technocratic and terror tactics, backtracking proves difficult. Indeed, this is perhaps the most severe risk factor Western societies now face: not Covid-19 as such but rather a much more contagious paranoia that justifies economic paralysis, social segregation and illiberal policies that strike at the heart of the West, with devastating consequences for the achievements our societies have made.

The sixth edition of Festival della Scienza Medica will take a close look not so much at our successes but rather explore the critical issues raised by the Covid-19 pandemic, drawing useful lessons to improve the way in which medical science and society work together.


Gilberto Corbellini
Scientific Director, Festival della Scienza Medica


A public health emergency like the one that disrupted the world, cancelling out all differences between East and West, cultures and countries, had been expected for some time. We were not absolutely sure whether the virus would belong to the SARS strain, or whether it would have the shape of a spiked crown – a feature linked in our minds with royalty, certainly not disease. But we knew that a minuscule virus, the size of a few microns was destined to plunge the world into chaos, forcing us to adopt lifestyles no longer familiar to us and that younger generations could not even imagine.
“Of all the tragedies visited upon the human race thus far, the great epidemics are remembered most vividly”. These words by author Elias Canetti are quoted in a seminal essay by Mario Ricciardi 1 that I have drawn on amply for this brief editorial.

Canetti’s words are worth citing: “Contagion, such an important aspect of an epidemic, makes people isolate themselves from others. The best way to protect oneself is not to approach anyone since everyone might be carrying the infection. Everybody avoids everybody else. It is remarkable how the hope of surviving isolates all men: before each person stand the hordes of victims2”.

In citing authors from Canetti to Thucydides and the epidemic that struck Athens during the time of Pericles, Ricciardi pointedly highlights how, instead of invoking the supernatural or man’s wickedness, man started making scientific investigations into causes and effects, searching for the factors that can lead to an epidemic3.

Like other catastrophic events, epidemics have been a recurrent feature in the history of mankind. But epidemics differ from natural calamities in that they are very closely linked to the urban context, to trade, communication and exchange among men. It is almost as if an epidemic were the most artificial of natural disasters, forged by human activity.
The COVID emergency and the measures to contain and fight it imposed completely new ways of working and living on both the healthcare sector and society as a whole. The result was a series of completely new criticalities. From the standpoint of doctors and healthcare workers, society should not expect the enormous, potentially devastating workload to fall on just a few.
Scientific research has continued even when the emerging problems were neglected by public authorities and the press. Pursuing work started before the epidemic, the various sectors of scientific research continued their work, effectively furthering understanding of how to prevent and treat the disease. Even if not everything worked at its best, the commitment and the results of that commitment can be judged as positive4.

It should be remembered that the French historian Fernand Braudel talked pointedly about: “le grand renfermement”5. The expression recalls the concept of the “great lockdown”, very pertinent to studies into the reaction to epidemics. Lockdown has also had inevitable repercussions for each country’s economy and system of production. It highlighted the need to make a choice between directly safeguarding the health of individual citizens and indirectly maintaining the status quo by sustaining productivity and consumption.
It was again Elias Canetti who said: “Every country has shown it is more willing to protect its production than its people”. For Canetti, production and consumption are the two activities before which the basic tenets of life become less important, almost to the point of being irrelevant. If Canetti is right, we should be concerned. Yet, the social distancing measures necessary during the critical phases of the spread of the infectious pathogen are without question incompatible with many forms of manufacturing and consumption on which the prosperity of our countries rests.
For many, the way the pandemic was managed was yet another indication of the perilous move towards ‘state of exception’ policies, in other words, the suspension of the legitimate political system with the ultimate aim of setting up a crypto-authoritarian regime. This argument of course needs further debate, but the basic idea is that a ‘state of exception’, or state of emergency is unable to guarantee justice6.

However, a state of emergency is not the same as a ‘state of exception’: governments are charged with making social coordination possible while at the same time ensuring rights and freedoms. This means curtailing certain rights and certain freedoms in order to ensure that every individual will as far as possible be equally protected, for emergency conditions must not equate with any relinquishing of justice.
Finally, much has been said about quarantine and its psychological and substantive impact. This does not, however, mean that quarantine should not be imposed. The psychological effects of not implementing quarantine, and so allowing the disease to spread, could be much worse.
We have to remember that the play-off between freedoms and the public good is a controversial issue and must be managed most carefully. However, those in power need to take into account issues of tolerability, understanding and solidarity.


Fabio Roversi-Monaco
President Genus Bononiae. Musei nella Città

[1] M. Ricciardi, Il ritorno del Leviatano: paura, contagio, politica, Il Mulino 2020, III.
[2] E. Canetti, Massa e potere, Milano, 1981.
[3] E. Canetti, op. cit.
[4] I refer also to the article by Gilberto Corbellini published in Sole24Ore’s Domenica of 20 September 2020..
[5] F. Braudel, Civiltà materiali, economia e capitalismo, Vol. I, Torino, 1982.
[6] F. Saraceno, L’economia europea tra lockdown e Fondo per la ripresa, Il Mulino 2020, III.

Bruce Beutler
Nobel Prize for Medicine in 2011

Bruce Beutler was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 2011, along with Jules Hoffmann and Ralph M. Steinmann, for the discoveries concerning the activation of innate immunity. He is Professor and Director at the Center for the Genetics of Host Defense and holder of the “Raymond and Ellen Willie Distinguished Chair in Cancer Research”, University of Texas, Southwestern Medical Center (USA). Since 2008, he is a member of the US National Academy of Sciences.

Angelo Benedetti

During his career, Angelo Benedetti has worked in the produce industry from two different outlooks. From 1973 to 1986, he worked in fruit and vegetable sales and distribution, eventually rising to Technical Director of three facilities for Ravenna-based Centrale Ortofrutticola. Since 1986, he has worked to produce new technologies for sorting fruit, founding TNT Ltd.: the first company in Europe to apply optical systems to the selection of fruit size and colour. He guided the merger of TNT Ltd. and Dalle Vacche Ltd. in 1993 to create UNITEC. Dr. Benedetti has served as UNITEC’s president since its founding. Today UNITEC is an international firm, with 13 branches located across the world.

Luigi Bolondi

Luigi Bolondi, previously Full Professor of Internal Medicine at University of Bologna and Director of the Internal Medicine unit at Policlinico S. Orsola – Malpighi of Bologna and of its Specialisation School in Internal Medicine, has also been President of the University’s Med School. He has published a range of monographs in the fields of Gastroenterology and Ultrasound. He has published more than 350 times in PubMed and has an H index of = 86 which puts him in the 50 Top Italian Scientists in the clinical field.

Claudio Borghi

Claudio Borghi has been a full professor of Internal Medicine at the University of Bologna since 2005 and directs the Internal Medicine Operative Unit at S.Orsola- Malpighi Hospital in Bologna. He also serves as director of the European Hypertension Excellence Centre, and is former president of the Italian Society of Hypertension (SIIA) and the SIIA Foundation. He is director of the School of Specialisation in Emergency Medicine and president of Bologna’s Society of Physicians and Surgeons. Dr. Borghi belongs to the International Society of Hypertension (ISH) Council and the European Society of Hypertension (ESH). He coordinates the international research doctorate in Health and Technology. He is first and co-author of more than 550 peer-reviewed publications.

Silvio Brusaferro

President of the Rome Istituto Superiore di Sanità; full professor of Public Hygiene and Health at Università degli Studi di Udine, Silvio Brusaferro is actively involved in public health work linked to the health sphere, patient safety, infection prevention and control, anti-microbial resistance and good public health practice spheres both nationally and internationally. The use of multi-sectorial knowledge for the purposes of acquiring and integrating diverse points of view have been constants in his career as have organisational changes to respond to community and individual needs, with specific reference to health and wellbeing promotion.

Enrico Bucci

Enrico M. Bucci is an Italian researcher, active in the fields of biomedical Big Data Analysis and scientific research integrity, a sector in which he has gained fame due to his work as a consultant in numerous high-profile cases in the U.S., Germany, the U.K. and Italy. Since 2016, he has been an adjunct professor in Complex Systems Biology and director of the Complex Systems Biology program at Sbarro Health Research Organisation, part of Temple University’s College of Science and Technology. He has worked as an advisor for the National Research Council (CNR) Commission for Research Ethics and Bioethics since 2017 and serves as an ad acta expert for the CNR. He advises various national and international (in the U.S., Germany and Canada) research institutes in the area of scientific research integrity. Since 2016, he has participated in the activities of the Accademia dei Lincei as an external expert on the Xylella fastidiosa epidemic. His work was honoured with the “National Italian American Foundation- Giovan Giacomo Giordano Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award for Ethics and Creativity in Medical Research, 2017” in Washington, D.C. at the end of 2017. Dr. Bucci has worked as an advisor for several scientific journals, examining all manuscripts submitted for peer review in order to identify potential cases of image and data manipulation prior to publication. His work has been constantly reported upon in national and international media and press, from Nature to RAI (Radiotelevisione Italiana).

Fiorella Calabrese
Fiorella Calabrese is a full professor in the Department of Cardiothoracic and Vascular Sciences at the University of Padova, Pathology Section. Her research interests include pulmonary pathologies, transplant pathologies, molecular pathology, infectious and immunological diseases, and cardiomyopathies. Dr. Calabrese is the author of 250 publications in peer-reviewed journals, more than 300 articles and abstracts, and 20 book chapters. She is president of the European Society of Pathology (ESP) Pulmonary Pathology Working Group, president-elect of the International Society of Heart and Lung Transplants (ISHLT) Pathology Council, and director of the Italian Association for Research in Pulmonary Pathologies (AIRPP). She is a member of the Italian Society of Pathological Anatomy and Diagnostic Cytology (SIAPEC) and of numerous other scientific societies.

Stefano Canestrari

Stefano Canestrari is a full professor of Criminal Law at the University of Bologna. He is a member of the National Committee for Bioethics and a permanent scholar at the Academy of Sciences of the Institute of Bologna. His most important works include: Involuntary Criminal Offence (Cedam, 1989); Potential Malice and Conscious Negligence. At the Boundary Between Malice and Negligence in Criminal Typologies (Giuffrè, 1999); Bioethics and Criminal Law. Discussion Materials (Giappichelli, 2012; 2nd edition 2014); Principles of Criminal Medical Law (il Mulino, 2015). He is a contributing author to the Treatises on Medical Law series (directed by S. Rodotà and P. Zatti, Giuffrè, 2010-2012).

Cinzia Caporale

Cinzia Caporale coordinates the National Research Council’s (CNR) Commission for Ethics and Integrity in Research and the interdepartmental centre of the same name. She teaches Bioethics at the Sapienza University of Rome and is a member of the National Committee for Bioethics (PCDM). She serves as chairman of the IRCCS L. Spallanzani National Institute for Infectious Diseases (INMI) and the National Central Ethics Committee for Covid-19 Experimentation (Legislative Decree 08/04/2020 n. 23). Dr. Caporale is a member of the research integrity committees for the University of Bologna and Sapienza University of Rome, as well as the Genova Science Festival’s Scientific Committee. She is honorary president of the Veronesi Foundation’s Ethical Committee, and a member of the Scientific Committee of the Courtyard of the Gentiles (Pontifical Council for Culture). Dr. Caporale has served two terms as president of UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Bioethics Committee; under her leadership, the Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights was drafted and adopted.

Nicola Castaldini

Nicola Castaldini is a physician with a specialisation in Internal Medicine, an ultrasound technician, and a tutor for the University of Bologna’s Master’s programme in Nutrition and Health Education. He has worked for GVM Care & Research as an internist and chief administrator of a day surgery and outpatient clinic for over ten years. Dr. Castaldini is in charge of preventative medicine and is chief physician of the LongLife Formula programme- dedicated to prevention and longevity- at Castrocaro Spa.

Aaron Ciechanover
Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 2004

Aaron Ciechanover was awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 2004 after discovering the ubiquitin system which disposes from the body faulty proteins that if accumulated cause many diseases. He is Professor at the Unit of Biochemistry and Director of the Rappaport Family Institute for Research in Medical Sciences of Technion in Haifa (Israel).

Lucio Ildebrando Maria Cocco

Lucio Ildebrando Maria Cocco has been Full Professor of Human Anatomy at the University of Chieti since 1986, and Full Professor of the same subject at the University of Bologna since 1990. He was awarded with “The titular Litchfield Lectureship 2016-2017” by Oxford University and with the “Journal of Lipid Research Lecturership 2016” by the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology/American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. He is the Director of the Laboratorio di Trasduzione del Segnale at the Department of Biomedical sciences at the University of Bologna and he is Editor-in-Chief of the series “Advances in Biological Regulation” (Elsevier Publ.).

Marco Conti

After graduating in Medicine and Surgery from the University of Bologna, Marco Conti completed residencies in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the Rizzoli Orthopaedic Institute in Bologna and in Medical Hydrology from the University of Parma. Dr. Conti is chief administrator of the Castrocaro Spa and of the LongLife Formula Ltd. Specialised Hospital. Dr. Conti teaches Thermal Rehabilitation in the University of Ferrara’s School of Specialisation in Rheumatology, Thermal Medicine in the Romagna Local Health Authority’s (AUSL) training course for General Practitioners, and is a Professional Qualification Expert (EAPQ) for the Emilia-Romagna Region’s spa operator certification course. He is a member of the Emilia-Romagna Spa Consortium’s (COTER) scientific committee.

Gilberto Corbellini

Gilberto Corbellini is a professor of Bioethics and History of Medicine at Sapienza University of Rome, as well as director of the Department of Humanities, Social Sciences and Cultural Heritage. He is a contributor to the Sole 24 Ore Sunday supplement and has published over a dozen books, including: EBM. Evolution Based Medicine (Laterza 2007), Denied Rationality. Psychiatry and Antipsychiatry in Italy (with G. Jervis, Bollati Boringhieri 2008), Science, Therefore Democracy (Einaudi 2011), The Brain is to Blame. Introduction to Neuroethics (with E. Sirgiovanni, Mondadori 2013), History and Theories of Health and Illness (Carocci 2014) and In the Land of Pseudoscience. Why Prejudice Threatens Our Freedom (Feltrinelli 2019).

Andrea Crisanti
Andrea Crisanti is director of the Department of Molecular Medicine and of the Laboratory of Virology and Microbiology at the University of Padova. Until recently, he was a professor of Molecular Parasitology at the Imperial College London. Dr. Crisanti is a pioneer in the molecular biology of the Anopheles gambiae malaria vector. He has provided significant contributions to our genetic and molecular knowledge of the malaria parasite and its vector, the mosquito. His work has enabled the development of visionary solutions, including the introduction of genetic modifications into an entire population of mosquitos to abolish their reproductive capabilities or render them incapable of transmitting malaria. This innovative approach- based on CRISPR editing technologies- has recently been used to suppress laboratory-raised mosquito populations. These results have important implications for the field of synthetic biology and genome editing, in general, and represent a crucial step forward in the management of vector-transmitted diseases. More recently, Professor Crisanti has carried out a series of epidemiological studies on the transmission mechanisms of Covid-19. These studies provided a scientific justification for the implementation of effective preventative measures to contain and eliminate Covid-19 clusters, adopted in the Veneto region and later, across Italy.

Giovanni de Girolamo

Giovanni de Girolamo is Clinical Director and Head of the Psychiatric Epidemiology and Evaluation Unit at the IRCCS Fatebenefratelli Research Centre in Brescia. He was Scientific Director of the Centre from 2008-2013. He is an instructor at the Catholic University of Milan. He has worked for several international research centres. Dr. de Girolamo serves as coordinator for numerous international and national research projects. He is the author of 503 publications, including 41 volumes or monographs (as author or editor), 388 journal articles (including 281 indexed in Pubmed), and 76 book chapters in three languages. He has an H-index of 77 (Scopes, June 2020).

Luigi Ferini Strambi

Luigi Ferini Strambi teaches Neurology at Vita-Salute San Raffaele University and is the director of Neurology and of the Sleep Medicine Centre at Milan’s San Raffaele Turro Hospital. The author of more than 340 scientific articles published in international journals, he is the co-editor of two books (Restless Legs Syndrome, Oxford Neurology Library, 2009; Sleep Disorders, Oxford University Press, 2017, which won the BMA Medical Book of the Year Award in 2018). He is a member of various scientific societies, including the European Sleep Research Society, the European Academy of Neurology and the American Academy of Sleep Disorders. He is former president of the Italian Association of Sleep Medicine and the World Association of Sleep Medicine.

Nicola Maria Fioravanti

Nicola Maria Fioravanti graduated magna cum laude in Economics and Business from Sapienza University of Rome. From 1988 to 1992, he oversaw Budget, Organisation, and Management at Telecom Italia; from 1992 to 1996, Strategic Planning at Bonifiche Siele Finanziaria. He joined the banking industry in 1996, holding positions in the area of Planning, Analysis and Business Management at Ambrosiano Veneto Bank and Intesa Bank. Since 2006, Dr. Fioravanti has held various positions in the Chief Financial Officer Area, Strategic Planning at Intesa Sanpaolo; he served as Central Director of the bank’s Planning, Strategic ALM, and Capital Management Department from 2012 to 2014. He became Managing Director of Intesa Sanpaolo Vita and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Intesa Sanpaolo Assicura on 30 October 2014. He became CEO of Intesa Sanpaolo Vita Insurance Group on 1 July 2015. He is a member of Intesa Sanpaolo’s Steering Committee.

Angelo Fioritti

Angelo Fioritti is a physician who specialises in Psychiatry. He is director of the Department of Mental Health- Pathological Addictions for Bologna’s Local Health Authority (AUSL). Dr. Fioritti has served in high-level healthcare management positions in the Emilia Romagna Region’s Department of Health Policy and Local Health Authorities. He has worked as a visiting professor in the School of Specialisation in Psychiatry at the University of Bologna and the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, as well as in the School of Specialisation in Hygiene and Public Health at the University of Bologna. He has participated in numerous international research groups on social psychiatry, the organisation of treatment for critically ill patients and forensic psychiatry. He is the author and co-author of over 50 publications in peer-reviewed international scientific journals, and more than 100 in Italian journals.

Luciano Gattinoni

He is currently working as Gastprofessor at the University of Göttingen (Germany). He invented the “Extracorporeal CO2 Removal” and promoted the “baby lung” (1980’s) and mechanical power concepts (2016). He has previously served as President for the Italian National Society of Anesthesia, and Intensive Care, the European Society of Intensive Care, and the World Federation of Societies of Intensive and Critical Care Medicine. His research focuses on the pathophysiology and treatment of acute respiratory failure, sepsis and acid base disorders. He has published more than 400 research articles in peer reviewed journals. He is Honorary Member of the German Society of Anesthesiology and Intensive Care, Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and was awarded with the Life Time Achievement Award by the American Society of Anesthesiology, the American Society of Critical Care Medicine and the European Society of Intensive Care and the French Society of Intensive Care.

Antonio Gaudioso

Since 2012, Antonio Gaudioso has served as secretary general of Cittadinanzattiva (Active Citizenship), an Italian non-profit organisation founded in 1978 that promotes civic participation and the protection of the rights of citizens in Italy and Europe. He is a founding member of the Forum Disuguaglianze Diversità (Inequalities Diversity Forum), which aims to design new public policies and foster collective action to reduce inequality and social exclusion. He is an organiser for the Participation Festival, launched by ActionAid, Cittadinanzattiva and Slow Food in partnership with the City of L’Aquila. From 2012 to 2016, Dr. Gaudioso served as an advisor for CSR and sustainability at the World Bank. He has served on the Commission for Biotechnology and Biosecurity for the Presidency of the Council of Ministers and as a member of various health-related commissions and working groups in Italy and Europe. He is current vice-president of Health City Institute, a board member of the Foundation for Personalised Medicine, and a member of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control’s Scientific Technical Committee on vaccines, the Italia Foundation’s Scientific Committee on health, and the Cannavò Foundation’s Scientific Committee.
Dr. Gaudioso joined the Italian National Health Institute’s (ISS) Advisory Board- providing scientific support to the Strategic Committee Coordinator of the National Guidelines System (SNLG)- in January 2020. Minister of Health Roberto Speranza nominated him to the Essential Levels of Assistance (LEA) Commission in May 2020.

Michele J. Gelfand

Dr. Michele Gelfand is a Distinguished University Professor at the University of Maryland, College Park. Gelfand has published her work in outlets such as “Science”, the “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences”, “Proceedings of the Royal Society B”, “Psychological Science”, and “Nature Human Behavior”. She is the author of Rule Makers, Rule Breakers: How Tight and Loose Cultures Wire the World (Scribner, 2018).

Andrea Ghiselli

Andrea Ghiselli is Research Director at the CREA (Council for Agricultural Research and Agricultural Economic Analysis) Food and Nutrition Research Centre. His research focuses on the impact of oxidative stress on human health, implications for various physiological and pathological processes, and the possibility of modulating such stress through diet. He teaches Applications of Dietary Science to Macronutrients and Functional Groups at Sapienza University of Rome. He served on the panel of experts that revised Italian dietary guidelines in 2003 and was president of the 2018 revision panel; he was a member of the 2014 coordinating group that revised Italy’s Dietary Reference Values. Dr. Ghiselli serves as scientific director of sapermangiare.mobi, the CREA website dedicated to consumers. He moderates the “Nutrition” forum at Corriere.it.

Andrea Gori

Andrea Gori has been director of the Infectious Disease Operating Unit at the Policlinico of Milan and a full professor of Infectious Diseases at the University of Milan since 2018. He is past director of the Infectious Disease Operating Unit and of the Department of Internal Medicine at the Monza Public Health Authority’s San Gerardo Hospital. Dr. Gori directs numerous research projects centred on investigating the immunopathogenesis of viral and bacterial infections and the interaction mechanisms between pathogens and hosts, focusing on how to translate the information obtained from pathogenic studies into clinical practice. He also leads research projects on severe infection in immunocompromised patients, with special attention to the management of epidemiological, molecular, and clinical aspects of infections caused by multi-drug resistant pathogens and to the optimisation of antimicrobial stewardship.

John Gurdon
Nobel Prize for Medicine in 2012

Dr. John Gurdon did his undergraduate work in Zoology in the University of Oxford and later a one-year postdoctoral position at CalTech in USA. He returned to Oxford and became a university lecturer in Embryology. In 1971 he moved to the MRC Molecular Biology Laboratory in Cambridge, continuing his work on Amphibian developmental biology. In 1983 he moved to the University of Cambridge as John Humphrey Plummer Professor of Cell Biology. He co-founded a research Institute of Developmental and Cancer biology with Professor Laskey as co-chairman and was Chairman of this Institute until 2002. During his career Dr. Gurdon concentrated on nuclear transplantation in the frog Xenopus. He has also carried out a range of experiments with this material, discovering the value of messenger RNA microinjection, mechanisms of response to morphogen gradients, and, most recently, mechanisms of nuclear reprogramming by Xenopus oocytes and eggs. Dr. Gurdon served as Master of Magdalene College Cambridge from 1995-2002 and has received various recognitions and awards.

Edward Holmes

Edward (Eddie) Holmes is an ARC Australian Laurate Fellow and Professor at the University of Sydney. Prior to that it was an NHMRC Australia Fellow at the University of Sydney, which he joined in 2012. Prof. Holmes received his undergraduate degree from the University of London (1986) and his Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge (1990). Between 1993-2004 he held various positions at the University of Oxford, including Fellow of New College. He was elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science (FAA) in 2015 and of the Royal Society (FRS) in 2017. In 2017 he won the New South Wales Premier’s Prize for Science and Engineering (Biological Sciences).

Tim Hunt

Sir Tim Hunt was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 2001 for the discoveries of protein molecules that control the division of cells. He works at the Cancer Research UK, London Research Institute, Clare Hall Laboratories, South Mimms, Herts EN6 3LD, U.K. He became a fellow of the Royal Society in 1991 and a foreign associate of the US National Academy of Sciences in 1999. He was knighted in 2006.

Louis Ignarro

Nobel Prize winner in Physiology or Medicine in 1998 for “nitric oxide as a signaling molecule in the cardiovascular system”.
He is Professor at the Department of Molecular & Medical Pharmacology of the University of California Los Angeles.
He is founder of the NITRIC OXIDE Society incorporated 1996, and also Founder and Editor-In-Chief of the new scientific journal: NITRIC OXIDE Biology and Chemistry Academic Press, 1996.

Giuseppe Insalaco

Giuseppe Insalaco carries out research and clinical activities in the field of sleep medicine.
He coordinates the Institute for Research and Biomedical Innovation- National Research Council (IRIB-CNR) research groups on sleep disorders and the development of innovative technology for the diagnosis and cure of sleep respiratory disorders. He directs the coursework in sleep respiratory disorders at the University of Bologna Alma Mater Studiorum and is an instructor in the master’s degree in sleep medicine. He is also scientific director of the journal Pneumorama. He is a member of the Italian Association of Hospital Pulmonologists’ scientific commission for the certification of expertise in sleep respiratory disorders. He took part in the Health Ministry Working Group that developed the official document on Obstructive Sleep Apnoea Syndrome. He is the author of numerous scientific articles.

John Ioannidis

John P.A. Ioannidis is Professor of Medicine, Professor of Epidemiology and Population Health, and Professor (by courtesy) of Biomedical Data Science at the School of Medicine, Professor (by courtesy) of Statistics at the School of Humanities and Sciences, and co-Director of the Meta-Research Innovation Center at Stanford (METRICS) at Stanford University; and Director of Meta-Research Innovation Center Berlin (METRIC B).

Eric Kandel

Eric Kandel won the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 2000. His studies are about the fisiology of neuronal memory.

Robert Lefkowitz
Nobel Prize for chemistry in 2012

Robert Lefkowitz (New York, 15 April 1943) is a physician from the US and the winner of the Nobel Prize for chemistry in 2012, together with Brian Kobilka, for their G-protein-coupled receptors work. After graduating in Medicine from Columbia University (1966), he completed his education at Harward University and, starting from the ‘70s, taught Biochemistry at Duke University. There, Lefkowitz started dealing with research. His studies focused on the perception of external stimuli by cells: by bringing particles in contact with some hormones bound to radioactive atoms, Lefkowitz discovered receptors that recognize the hormones. This way, he was able to analyse and examine the structure and the functioning of the receptors pairing off with human G proteins: besides allowing the analysis of mechanisms at the basis of the action of adrenaline, these receptors are at the basis of most medicinal products in use. Given Lefkowitz’s contribution to the development of the most effective medicines, in 2012 the Swedish Academy of Sciences conferred him and his colleague and student Brian Kobilka the Chemistry Nobel Prize.

Nicoletta Luppi

Nicoletta Luppi, Chairwoman and Managing Director of MSD Italia, graduated in Foreign Modern Languages and Literatures with honours and, later, obtained a Master Degree in Business Administration from the LUISS School of Management of Rome. In 1993, she joined MSD and, over time, held offices of increasing responsibility until reaching the direction of the Cardiovascular-Metabolic Business Unit of MSD and Schering Plough, as well as two group companies (2003 -2010) and, in 2011, created and was at the head of the Market Access & Commercial Operations Direction, always reporting to the Managing Director. In September 2012, she became Chairwoman and Managing Director of Sanofi Pasteur MSD and, afterwards, she was appointed as Chairwoman of the Vaccine Group of Farmindustria for the two-year period 2015-2016. Since July 2015, she is Chairwoman and Managing Director of MSD Italia and, since 2016, Chairwoman of the LUISS Business School Alumni Association. In March 2017, she was chosen by AMREF as testimonial for the Social Campaign against female genital mutilation. In the same year, she was awarded the “Premio Minerva-Donna D’Eccellenza” by FederManager, a prestigious prize to a leadership supporting an environment that may encourage work-life balance and diversity. Nicoletta Luppi was nominated “Businessperson of the Year 2019” in the Pharma category by Fortune Italia. In January 2020, she joined the Board of Vaccine Europe and the Advisory Board of Kotler Impact Italy.

Alberto Mantovani

Alberto Mantovani was born in Milan in 1948, where he graduated in medicine and surgery in 1973. After specialising in oncology, he worked in the UK and the US. Since October 2005 he has been Scientific Director at Humanitas and, since 2014, he has taught at Humanitas University, where he is now emeritus professor. He has been the most frequently cited Italian researcher in the international scientific literature in recent years. His latest books are Non avere paura di sognare. Decalogo per aspiranti scienziati (2016), Bersaglio mobile (2018), I vaccini fanno bene (2020, with Guido Forni, Lorenzo Moretta, Giovanni Rezza), and Il fuoco interiore. Il sistema immunitario e l’origine delle malattie (2020).

Francesca Milano

Francesca Milano is an odontologist, specialised in orthodontics. She obtained the European Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (EADSM) Expert Odontologist Accreditation in Obstructive Sleep Respiratory Disorders, as well as Italian Society of Dental Sleep Medicine (SIMSO) accreditation. Since 2013, she has served on the board of directors of both SIMSO and EADSM (of which she is also President). She has been an instructional tutor for the University of Bologna’s 2nd-level master’s degree in Sleep Medicine since 2013 and an instructor in the University of Foggia’s master’s degree in Sleep Medicine since 2019. She became Scientific Director of the University of Padova’s 2nd-level master’s degree in “The Dental Management of Patients with Obstructive Sleep Apnoea Syndrome” in 2019. She is co-author of the book The Dental Management of Patients with Obstructive Sleep Apnoea Syndrome.

Fabio Pammolli

Fabio Pammolli is Professor of Business and Management at the Politecnico of Milan and is a member of the Comitato per gli Investimenti del Fondo Europeo per gli Investimenti Strategici at the Banca Europea per gli Investimenti. Since December 2018 he has been co-director of CADS and scientific co-ordinator of the project structure at Human Technopole. From 2005 to 2012 he was director of the Scuola IMT Alti Studi in Lucca. His research relates to the analysis of industrial dynamics and company growth, research, welfare and health systems.

Susi Pelotti

Susi Pelotti is an instructor of Legal Medicine in the School of Medicine and Surgery and in the Jurisprudence degree course at the University of Bologna. She is director of the University of Bologna’s School of Specialisation in Legal Medicine. She is a technical consultant and expert for the Judicial Authority.

Maurizio Pessato

Maurizio Pessato is vice-president of SWG. He has directed the research sectors on socioeconomic organisations, the healthcare system, and public opinion, overseeing the SWG Observatory on Italian social and cultural values. He contributes to Waste Watcher, an observatory focusing on the domestic food waste of Italian families. Dr. Pessato is vice-president of ASSIRM, the Italian association of marketing and public opinion research firms. He is also president of the Trieste Special Education Centre (CEST), a non-profit dedicated to serving the disabled population.

Kyriakoula Petropulacos

Kyriakoula Petropulacos is a physician specialised in ophthalmology and preventive medicine. She has led the Emilia-Romagna Region’s Care of the Individual, Health and Welfare directorate-general since 2015. In the past, she held various positions in local healthcare services, including director-general of the University of Modena Hospital and Forlì Local Health Authority. She belongs to such national healthcare organisations as the National Healthcare Professions Observatory Presidential Committee, the Ministry of Health’s Essential Levels of Assistance Committee, the Health Technology Assessment Steering Committee, and, since May 2020, the National Scientific Technical Committee established at the Civil Protection Department.

Gianluigi Pilu

Gianluigi Pilu is full professor of gynaecology and obstetrics at Università di Bologna and manages the Policlinico S. Orsola-Malpighi Operational Obstetrics and Pre-natal Medicine Unit. He has written scientific studies on obstetric pathologies, prenatal diagnosis and childbirth.

Giuseppe Plazzi

Giuseppe Plazzi is an associate professor of Neurology at the University of Bologna, where he directs the Centre for Sleep Disorder Studies and Treatment. He also serves as director of Bologna’s Neurology Scientific Recovery and Treatment Institute (IRCSS). The primary focus of his research and clinical work is hypersomnia- narcolepsy, in particular- and sleep motor and behaviour disorders. He is the author and co-author of more than 350 scientific papers published in international journals. He is also author of the book The Three Brothers that Never Slept (ed. Il Saggiatore). Dr. Plazzi is active in educational outreach efforts about Sleep Medicine topics. He belongs to various international boards on narcolepsy and rare diseases and is president of the Italian Association of Sleep Medicine (AIMS).

Francesco Puoci

Francesco Puoci is an associate professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Technology at the University of Calabria. His research activities focus on the synthesis and characterisation of functional polymeric materials for a variety of biomedical, pharmaceutical, and technological applications. Dr. Puoci is editor-in-chief of the Journal of Functional Biomaterials and scientific consultant for the academic spin-off firm Macrofarm Ltd.

Rino Rappuoli

Rino Rappuoli is Chief Scientist and Head of External R&D for GSK Vaccines. He is a professor of Vaccines Research at Imperial College London. Dr. Rappuoli has been elected a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the European Molecular Biology Organisation, and the Royal Society of London. Moreover, he has received many national and international honours, among which the Gold Medal of the President of the Republic, Galeno Prize, Antonio Feltrinelli Prize, Paul Ehrlich and Ludwig Darmstaedter Prize, Albert B. Sabin Gold Medal, Canada Gairdner International Award, European Inventor Award for Lifetime Achievement, and Robert Koch Award. He has long worked on the development of vaccines against serious diseases of viral or bacterial origin. Dr. Rappuoli developed and implemented various ideas and innovative techniques that have led to vaccines against pertussis, diphtheria, influenza, and meningococcal B and C, among other diseases. He is active in the scientific movement for sustainable global health. He founded the GSK Vaccines Institute for Global Health, an institute headquartered in Siena that develops vaccines for poor countries.

Giovanni Rezza

Giovanni Rezza has served as Research Director of the Italian National Institute of Health (ISS) and director of the Infectious Disease Department at ISS. He is current General Director of Preventative Health in the Ministry of Health. He has worked for the WHO in Geneva. He is an instructor in the School of Specialisation in Hygiene at the Catholic University of Rome; he has also taught courses in the Infectious Disease specialisation at the University of Sassari. Dr. Rezza is an expert investigator in the fields of epidemics, emerging infectious diseases, and vaccinations. He has served as a member of the Ministry of Health’s Crisis Unit on Influenza A (H1N1); the National Commission on AIDS, Emerging and Re-emerging Infectious Diseases; the IRCCS “L. Spallanzani” Ethics Committee; and the National Research Council’s (CNR) Commission for Research Ethics. He is a current member of the Covid-19 National Immunization Technical Advisory Group (NITAG) and Technical-Scientific Committee (CTS).

Dr. Rezza is the author of more than 400 international journal articles, numerous Italian journal articles, Italian- and English-language book chapters, and five published books.
Michael Rosbash

Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for the discoveries of molecular mechanisms controlling the circadian rhythm.

Fabio Roversi-Monaco

Fabio Roversi-Monaco was Magnifico Rettore of the University of Bologna from 1985 to 2000 and currently is Professor Emeritus of Administrative Law at the same University. During his time as Magnifico Rettore, he conceived and drawn up the Magna Charta Universitatum, which was signed by over 400 Chancellors from all over the world on 18 September 1988 and, later, by 500 Chancellors more, and is the Founder and Honorary President of the Magna Charta Universitatum Observatory. Professor Roversi-Monaco promoted the “Bologna Process”, which found fulfilment with the meeting of twenty-nine European Ministers for Education in Bologna in 1999, aimed at launching new university courses and ensuring the quality comparability of education qualifications of the Countries involved and free circulation of European students and graduates. The meetings led to the drawing up of the “Bologna Declaration”, which was signed by 29 European Countries on 19 June 1999. He is member of the scientific committees of several scientific journals and founder and editor of the journal “Sanità Pubblica e Privata”.
He held the office of President of the Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio of Bologna. He was also President of Banca IMI and currently hold the office of Vice-president. He is also Chairman of the Società Museo della Città di Bologna S.r.l. He has been awarded an honorary degree from Dickinson College in Carlyle, Brown University in Providence, the Complutense University in Madrid, Panthèon 1 University – Sorbonne in Paris 1, Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Soka University in Tokyo, Universidad Externado de Colombia, the University of St Petersburg, the University of Barcelona, the University of Cordoba, Pontificia Universidad Cattolica di Belo Horizonte, Salta University, University of Montréal, University of Denver, Victoria University of Melbourne, Uruguay Catholic University, University of La Plata, University of Trieste, University of Maribor, the State University of Samarkand, Università G.D’Annunzio in Chieti and Pescara, University Palacky in Olomouc in the Czech Republic. He has been awarded the following titles: Cavaliere di Gran Croce della Repubblica Italiana, Knight of the Lègion d’Honneur from the French President, Cavaliere dell’Ordine Civile di Savoia, the Portuguese republic’s Ordem de Sant’Iago de Espada, Croce di Grand’Ufficiale dell’Ordine al Merito di Malta, the Order of the Grand Cross of Alphonso X the Wise, King of Spain, Commander of the Order of St Louis, Polish Republic, Knight of the Order of Merit King Abdulaziz Class Two, Saudi Arabia. He is a Rotary International Paul Harris Fellow.

Eugenio Santoro

Eugenio Santorio serves as director of the Health Informatics Laboratory at the Mario Negri IRCCS Institute of Pharmacological Research. An expert in digital health, new technologies, epidemiology, and clinical experimentation, since 2006 his work has focused on social media, apps, and wearable and digital therapies, and their impact on clinical practice, treatment, and health communication. He is the author of 250 scientific articles, as well as the volumes Web 2.0 and Social Media in Medicine; Facebook, Twitter and Medicine; Guide to Online Medicine and The Internet in Medicine (all published by Il Pensiero Scientifico). He has been an instructor of Health Informatics at the University of Milan since 2016 and has taught in the master’s program in Science and Sustainable Innovation Communications (MaCSIS) at the University of Milan- Bicocca since 2017. He is a member of the ICT group of the National Federation of Physicians, Surgeons and Dentists (FNOMCeO), of the Management Committee of the Institute of Self-Discipline in Advertising, and of the Italian Association of Telemedicine’s (AITIM) scientific committee.

Massimo Scaccabarozzi

Massimo Scaccabarozzi has served as president of Farmindustria since June 2011. Before his election as president, he served for five years as vice-president of Farmindustria and as president of the IAPG Group (the Farmindustria division dedicated to American companies in Italy). He has served as managing director of Janssen Italia since 2001. He has been a member of the Confindustria General Council since 2015; from 2011 to 2015 he was a Council member and permanent observer in the Executive Board. Dr. Scaccabarozzi belonged to the IFPMA (International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations) Council from 2011 to 2017. He is a member of the Assolombarda General Council since February 2016 and of the Unindustria General Council since June 2019. He has presided over the Johnson & Johnson Foundation since 2001. Since 2017, Dr. Scaccabarozzi has belonged to the Integrated Observatory of the Lombardy Region’s Public Health Service, as well as the Executive Board of AIRI (Italian Association for Industrial Research). Since 2018, he has been a member of the Council of International Companies within the Lazio Region’s Economic Development Department. He received the Le Fonti Award for CEO of the Year on 7 June 2019. In 2018, he was nominated an Honorary Colleague of the Nobile Collegio Chimico Farmaceutico (Noble College of Chemistry and Pharmacy)– Universitas Aromatariorium Urbis for professional and social merit and joined the Nobile Collegio Romano de’ Speziali (Noble Roman College of Apothecaries). In 2018, Dr. Scaccabarozzi was honoured by the City of Cologno Monzese for his social commitment and dedication to the people. Rector Francesco Ubertini of the University of Bologna Alma Mater Studiorum awarded him the Sigillo d’Ateneo (University Seal) on 9 April 2019 for his personal and professional history, defined by prestigious leadership positions in the pharmaceutical industry, international recognition and presidency of Farmindustria. The province of Naples’ Order of Pharmacists awarded him the Caduceo d’oro (Golden caduceus) for his generous commitment to the growth of the Italian pharmaceutical industry. He fronts the “JC Band” musical group, a rock band formed of Janssen Italia employees that has performed charity concerts for ten years.

Giovanni Scambia

Giovanni Scambia is director of the Oncological Gynaecology Operating Unit at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Rome, where he is also a full professor. He serves as coordinator of the Women and Child Health Centre of the Gemelli Hospital Foundation in Rome. Dr. Scambia belongs to numerous scientific societies. He is a member of the Ministry of Health’s National Health Council and is scientific director of the John Paul II Foundation for Research and Treatment in Campobasso. He is the author of more than 700 international publications.

Silvestro Scotti

Silvestro Scotti is National General Secretary of F.I.M.M.G. (the Italian Federation of Family Practice Doctors). A graduate in Medicine and Surgery from the University of Naples Federico II, he lives in Naples. He is an instructor and tutor of General Medicine. Dr. Scotti is the author of numerous academic publications in Italian and international journals, developed during his training in the University of Naples Department of Paediatrics and the Analgesic Therapy and Palliative Care Unit at Naples’ Antonio Cardarelli Hospital, as well as from his work as a General Medicine physician at the Naples 1 Local Health Authority (ASL). He is currently serving as president of the Naples Order of Physicians and serves on the Board of Directors of the ENPAM Foundation (National Authority of Physician and Dentist Welfare and Support).

Andrea Segrè

Andrea Segrè has been a full professor of International and Comparative Agricultural Policy at the University of Bologna since 2000. He taught Circular Economy at the University of Trento from 2015 to 2018. He studies and applies the foundational principles of circular, sustainable, and economic ecology. Dr. Segrè is a social entrepreneur, founder of Last Minute Market- an accredited spin-off of the University of Bologna- and creator of the Spreco Zero (Zero Waste) campaign. He currently serves as president of the Foundation for Education and Food Sustainability (FICO) and of Bologna’s Agribusiness Centre. He was president of the Edmund Mach Foundation in San Michele all’Adige (Trento) from 2015 to 2020. He is the recipient of numerous honours, including the international Pellegrino Artusi Prize in 2012.

Amartya Sen
1998 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences

Nobel Prize for Economics in 1998 for his studies in the field of welfare economics. He is Lamont University Professor at Harvard University. Professor Sen were awarded almost twenty honorary degrees, including the University of Bologna; he chaired numerous scientific associations, among which include the American Economic Association, the Econometric Society and the International Economic Association.

Pierluigi Viale

Pierluigi Viale is Full Professor of Infectious Diseases at the University of Bologna and Head of the OU of Infectious Diseases at the Policlinico S. Orsola Teaching Hospital. He is an expert in antimicrobial therapy, with particular reference to infectious risk and immunodepressed patients.

Claudio Vicini

Claudio Vicini is an associate professor of Otorhinolaryngology at the Universities of Ferrara and Bologna and director of the Head-Neck Department of the Romagna Local Health Authority. He is an ORL, Audiology and Neurology Specialist as well as a Sleep Medicine Expert for the Italian Association of Sleep Medicine (AIMS). He is a visiting professor in Sleep Surgery at the Hamad Foundation in Doha, Qatar. Dr. Vicini is a proctor for Intuitive Europe Robotic Surgery (TORS). He serves as a board member for the Florida Hospital Nicholson Centre Global Faculty in Celebration, Florida (U.S.). Former president of the Italian Society of Otorhinolaryngology and Cervical-Facial Surgery, he has taught a course in Sleep-Disordered Breathing Surgery (EOS-DRS) for the Society for the past ten years. He is co-author of the Emilia-Romagna Regional Guidelines on Sleep-Disordered Breathing. Dr. Vicini is the author of more than 120 works, including scientific articles and monographs, largely dedicated to the surgical treatment of snoring and apnoea.


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