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Results: 173

Marika Savarese

STEM area: Computer science

Competences: artificial intelligence, innovative computational tools

Keywords: digital transformation, digitisation

Region: Liguria


Researcher at the D3 Compunet Department of the Italian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Genoa.

Professional career

She graduated in Physical Chemistry in 2014 at the University Federico II of Naples and continued her education with a PhD in Theoretical and Computational Chemistry. Between 2011 and 2014 she has worked at the Centre for Advanced Biomaterials for Health Care of the Italian Institute of Technology, IIT@CRIB. In 2014 she was visiting researcher at the École Nationale Supérieure de Chimie de Paris, France, and at the Institute for Molecular Science of Nagoya, Japan. From 2014 to 2017 she was first researcher and then senior researcher at the Department of Drug Discovery and Development, Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia IIT@D3. 

In 2018 she joined the Data Science team at 3RDPLACE | AI models of Datrix group with the role of business analyst. From 2019 to 2021 she was Project Manager of the Digital Marketing team, a team dedicated to Digital Transformation projects. In 2020 she acquired and field-tested Growth Hacking skills for product development in the Digital area.
From 2022 she is AI Project and Customer Relationship Manager in the Model Serving team at 3rdPlace Applied Artificial Intelligence and Research & Development division of DATRIX Group.

Scientific results

Marika Savarese's main areas of interest concern projects aimed at Digital Transformation. They involve the development of Machine Learning algorithms for learning, recognising and categorising data in order to extract knowledge from the data that make up phenomena and processes and to guide decisions; among the most interesting approaches are Natural Process Languages, sentiment analysis, image processing and object character recognition. The main technologies used in the projects I follow are: Cloud Computing (Google Cloud Platform), Python Development, relational and non-relational databases, APIs and Docker.

Editorial work and publications

Marika Savarese is the author of several publications in international journals, including:

Excited State Proton Transfer and Intramolecular Charge Transfer in 1, 3 diketone Molecules: a Density Functional Theory Based investigation. Marika Savarese*, Éric Brémond, Nadia Rega,Carlo Adamo, Ilaria Ciofini, Chem. Phys. Chem., 2016; DOI: 10.1002/cphc.201500908.

Computational Insights into Excited-State Proton-Transfer Reactions in Azo and Azomethine Dyes. Marika Savarese*, Éric Brémond, Ludmil Antonov, Ilaria Ciofini, Carlo Adamo, Chem. Phys.Chem., 2015; 16, 3966.

Modeling of charge transfer Processes to understand photophysical signatures: The case of Rhodamine 110. (Editor's Choice) Marika Savarese*, Umberto Raucci, Carlo Adamo, Paolo Antonio Netti, Ilaria Ciofini, Nadia Rega Chem. Phys. Lett., 2014; 610, 148.

Exploring the limits of recent exchange–correlation functionals in modeling lithium/benzene interaction. Marika Savarese*, Éric Brémond, Carlo Adamo Theo. Chem. Acc., 2016; 145, 1.

Studies on the Enantioselective Iminium Ion Trapping of Radicals Triggered by an Electron-Relay Mechanism. Ana Bahamonde, John J Murphy, Marika Savarese, Éric Brémond, Andrea Cavalli, Paolo Melchiorre, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2017, 139, 4559.

Fluorescence Lifetimes and Quantum Yields of Rhodamine Derivatives: New Insights from Theory and Experiment. Marika Savarese, Anna Aliberti, Ilaria De Santo , Edmondo Battista, Filippo Causa , Paolo Antonio Netti , Nadia Rega J. Phys. Chem., A 2012; 116, 7491

Velia Siciliano

STEM area: Biomedical sciences and biotechnology

Competences: biotechnologies, medica biotechnology

Keywords: aystems biology, synthetic biology

Region: Campania


Group Leader, Synthetic and Systems Biology for Biomedicine Laboratory of Italian Insitute of Technology, Naple, University Federico II.

Professional career

Velia Siciliano graduated cum Laudein Medical Biotechnology, BSc and MSc degree at the University of Naples Federico II.  In 2012 she obtained a PhD in Human Genetics from the Telethon Institute of Genetics and Medicine Naples supervised by Prof. di Bernardo (Systems and Synthetic Biology lab) 

 then moved to Boston as a Postdoctoral fellow in the Biological Engineering Department and Synthetic Biology Centre at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). In 2015 she won a fellowship for Junior Independent Investigator from Imperial College London. Here, in the Department of Medicine she started to build her independent research line in mammalian synthetic biology. 

In September 2017 she was appointed as Principal Investigator at Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia-IIT after passing an international scientific committee evaluation through the Tenure Track program of IIT. She established a new Research Line in Synthetic and Systems Biology. She is also honorary fellow of Imperial College London where she still supervises research activities.

Scientific results

Velia Siciliano’s research is published in high impact journals including Nature Communications, Nature Biotechnology etc. She is a co-inventor of a patent with MIT.

She was recently awarded with the most prestigious research grant in Europe, the ERC Starting Grant, receiving funding for 1.5M euro from EU. She is also partner in other grants, including an ERC Advanced (coordinated by Prof. Di Leonardo, Università la Sapienza, Roma) and the Cosy-Bio  (FET-grant, from EU coordinated by Prof. Di Bernardo).

Velia Siciliano attended more than 10 conferences and meetings as invited speaker, and she is member of scientific committee of the Synthetic and Systems Biology summer school, Member of scientific committee ofMammalian Synthetic Biology workshop, and chair of the Cell Therapies + Bioengineering Conference. She was recognized as one of 10  most promising scientists under 40 in Italy by Fortune (, and one of 1000 women with most impact in Italy for science and innovation ( Velia was among the 20 women in the final selection of women of 2019 by DonnaD (La Repubblica). 

Editorial work and publications

Velia Siciliano is Review Editor in Nanobiotechnology,  Frontiers in Molecular Biosciences, Bioengineering and Biotechnology and Materials) and she was invited to join the editorial board of BioDesign Research, an international, peer-reviewed, open-access journal, part of the Science Partner Journal (SPJ) family; she is ad-hocreviewer for multiple journals.  

She is an author/coauthor in several important scientific papers, including:

[2020] Tedeschi F, Siciliano V., Mammalian synbio sensorsin Hanbook of Cell Biosensor, Springer.

[2019] Dipalo M, Caprettini V, Bruno G, Caliendo F, Garma L,  Melle G, Dukinova M,  Siciliano V,  Santoro F,  De Angelis F. Membrane Poration Mechanisms at the Cell–Nanostructure Interface, Advanced Biosystems, 3(12): 1900148.

[2019] Pennacchio FA, Caliendo F, Iaccarino G, Langella A, Siciliano V, Santoro F. 3D-patterned scaffolds modulate the biointerface at the nanoscale, Nano Letters19 (8), 5118-5123.

[2019] Cella F. Siciliano V., Protein-based parts and devices that respond to intracellular and extracellular signals in mammalian cells, Current Opinion in Chemical Biology, 52, 47-53.

[2019] Caliendo F., Dukhinova M., Siciliano V., Engineered cell-based therapeutics: synthetic biology meets immunology, Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology.

[2018] Cella F., Wroblewska L., Weiss R, Siciliano V. Engineering of protease sensitive RNA-Binding protein in mammalian cellsNature Communications, 7, 43.

[2018] Siciliano V., Di Andreth B., Monel B., Beal J., Huh J.,Clayton K.,Wroblewska L.,McKeon Am., Walker BD.,Weiss R. Engineering modular intracellular protein sensor-actuator devices. Nature Communications, 9(1):1881.

[2015] Wroblewska L, Endo K, Kitada T, Siciliano V, Saito H, Weiss R. Engineering mammalian cells with RNA-encoded synthetic translational circuits. Nature Biotechnology, 33(8):839-41.

[2014] Stanton B, Siciliano V, Ghodasara A, Wroblewska L, Clancy K, Trefzer A, Chesnut J, Weiss R, Voigt C. Systematic transfer of prokaryotic sensors and circuits to mammalian cells. ACS Synthetic BiologyDec 19;3(12):880-91.

[2013] Siciliano V, Garzilli I, Fracassi C, Ventre S, Criscuolo S, di Bernardo D. miRNAs confer phenotypic robustness to gene networks by suppressing biological noise: a synthetic biology approach. Nature Communications, 4:2364.

[2012] Menolascina F, Siciliano V, di Bernardo D. Engineering and Control of Biological Systems: A New Way to Tackle Complex Diseases and Biotechnological Innovation. FEBS Letter, 586(15):2122-8.

Awards and prizes

2014 Prize for scientific innovation in synthetic biology. Synberc fall retreat

2016 Proof-of concept grant, Synbicite (UK)

2018 Award Young Innovator  MIT Italy 

2018 Award Galilei, 2032 Rotary International

2019 Mortari Award, Merck

In September 2021 she is named among the 50 most inspiring Italian women in the world of technology with the award InspiringFifty for Italy.



Claudia Sorlini

STEM area: Natural and environmental sciences

Competences: agricultural microbiology

Keywords: bioenergies, biotechnologies applied to agriculture, environment, sustainable agriculture, women and science

Region: Lombardy


Professor Emerita of Agricultural Microbiology, University of Milan.

Professional career

Graduated in Biological Sciences at the University of Milan, Claudia Sorlini  developed   her career up to full professor of Agriculture, Food and Environment Microbiology.  Besides her tenure at the University of Milan, she taught at the University of Molise (1990-1993) and Politecnico di  Milano (1975-1988) . She has held several assignments in the university governance: Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture  ( 2014-2010), member of the  Equal Opportunity Committee of the University of Milan, coordinator of the session Gender & Equality in Research and Science (2006 - 2013). During her tenure as dean, she has been coordinator of the  scientific committeee founding the Faculty of Agriculture of the University of Makeni, Sierra Leone. Among the several external posts she has been member of the Steering Committee of the EU Scientific Programme for Expo(2014-15),vice-president of Italian Touring Club and president of the association Casa dell'Agricoltura that promotes the sustainable agriculture and the role of women farmers and researchers  in agriculture.

Scientific results

She is expert in  the field of microbial biotechnologies applied to the bioremediation of polluted sites,  bio-energy production (methane, hydrogen and fertilizers) and biofertilizers. Along with her team she set up a viable bacterial cells-based system to recover ancient stone statues and frescoes; an image of these investigations gained the cover of the American Society for Microbiology Journal. She got a specific experience in the xenobiotic pollutants biodegradation such as plastics, pesticides, solvents etc. and has been involved in the promotion of  women scientists by welcoming young female students in her scientific European  projects, and participating, as a scientific referent, to the projects, such as Stages (Structural Transformation to Achieve Gender Equality in Science, 2012-2013), which support equal gender opportunity in science.

Editorial work and publications

Claudia Sorlini is author and co-author of more than 300 publications on international and national journals and  books chapters. Among the more recents: 

(2018) Vigani G., Rolli E., Dell'Orto M, Michoud G, Soussi A., Raffafu N., Borin S., Sorlini C., Zocchi G., Daffonchio D. Root bacterial endophytes confer drought resistance and enhance expression and activity of a vacuolar H+ -pumping pyrophosphatase in pepper plants. Environmental Microbiology.

(2018) Sorlini C. Agricoltura e alimentazione: quale futuro? Notiziario della Banca Popolare di Sondrio, 137: 14-17.

(2016) Sorlini C. "Cambiamento climatico, una sfida da vincere". In Clima, il pianeta che cambia. Touring Club Italiano Milano,  7-9.

(2015) Expo 2015 EU Scientific Steering Committee. Fischler F., Wilkinson D., Benton T., Daniel H., Darcy-Vrillon B. Hefferman P., Kok E., Saarela M., Jakubczyc E., Sorlini C., Swinnen J., von Brown J. New ways of providing knowledge to tackle food and nutrition security: what should the EU do? European Union.

(2015) Sorlini C., Dendena B., Grassi S. "The mutifaceted nature of the agrifood world". In The many faces of sustainability, edited by Veca S., Feltrinelli, Milano, 3-29.

Awards and prizes

In 2015 she received the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic from the Head of State, Sergio Mattarella, to "reward merits acquired for the nation in the fields of literature, the arts, economics and in the performance of public duties and activities carried out for social, philanthropic and humanitarian purposes, as well as for long and distinguished service in civil and military careers".

In the same year, she was awarded the Ambrogino D'Oro, a civic merit of the Municipality of Milan. She has also received the Beijing "Women who have made it" Award, 20 - Making women world congress for her commitment to art, science, culture and social issues and the Technovisionary Award: women who see the future of EXPO Women Global Forum - Women & Tech for having made a significant academic contribution and coordinated European and national projects on environmental, agricultural and bioenergy issues. For her commitment also to international cooperation, with a master's degree and a research project on agriculture in arid areas and the supervision of the Faculty of Agriculture in Makeni (Sierra Leone), which she helped set up.

Maria Pia Sormani

STEM area: Biomedical sciences and biotechnology

Competences: biostatistics, research methods

Keywords: autotransplant, biostatistics, cancer, coronavirus, Covid-19, Covid-19 in people with multiple sclerosis, data analysis, MRI, multiple sclerosis, vaccines in people with multiple sclerosis

Region: Liguria


Full Professor of Medical Statistics  at the University of Genoa, Italy

Professional career

After graduating in Physics with Biophysical specialization at the University of Genoa in 1992, she continued her education through a specialisation in Medical Physics, Statistical Analysis of Medical Data and Biomedical Imaging at the University of Pisa. In 1998 she obtained a specialisation in Medical Statistics at the University of Milan. In 1998 she joined the Clinical Epidemiology group of the National Institute for Cancer Research (IST) in Genoa as a research fellow, where she worked on clinical trials in oncology. For 10 years she collaborated as a statistical consultant with the Neuroimaging Research Unit of the San Raffaele Hospital in Milan and devoted herself to research on Multiple Sclerosis. Since 2005, she has been Professor of Medical Statistics at the University of Genoa.

Scientific results

Maria Pia Sormani's research work focuses on the study of methodological issues related to the use of magnetic resonance imaging in multiple sclerosis, which she has been investigating for the past ten years while collaborating with the Neuroimaging Research Unit at the San Raffaele Hospital in Milan, and on the definition of the study design for testing new drugs in this pathology. Recently, she has been involved in studies on the efficacy of autologous hematopoietic cell transplantation in cases of aggressive multiple sclerosis. On this topic, she presented a meta-analysis at the European Multiple Sclerosis Congress (ECTRIMS), which should form the basis for planning and conducting a randomised trial of this therapy. She is also participating in the MESEMS study, the first worldwide study evaluating stem cell transplantation in multiple sclerosis, directed by Prof. Uccelli of the Neurological Clinic of the University of Genoa. Other research areas concern bone marrow transplantation in leukaemia, endpoint definition in Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and the study of surrogate endpoints in breast cancer studies, in collaboration with the San Martino-IST of Genoa.

Editorial work and publications

She is in the editorial Board of Multiple Sclerosis Journal and Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders. She published more than 350 papers on peer reviewed journals.

Awards and prizes

In 2016 whe was recognised one of the 38 Top Italian Scientist italiane by ONDA (Osservatorio Nazionale sulla Salute della Donna).

Maria Grazia Speranza

STEM area: Mathematics

Competences: operative research

Keywords: algorithms, finance, linear programming, logistics, optimization, transport

Region: Lombardy


Full professor of operations research and President of International Federation of Operational Research Societies, University of Brescia

Professional career

After graduating in Mathematics in 1980 from the University of Milan, she continued her education by attending the Scuola di Perfezionamento in Matematica. In 1983 she graduated, becoming an operational researcher. From 1983 to 1987 she was an associate professor in the Faculty of Mathematical, Physical and Natural Sciences at the University of Udine. She then held a collaborative position at the Institute for Applications of Mathematics and Informatics of the CNR, from 1986 to 1987. Since 1994 she has been full professor of Operational Research at the Faculty of Economics of the University of Brescia. From 2002 to 2008 she is Dean of the same faculty. Since 1 November 2016 she has been Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Brescia.


Scientific results

The research activity of Maria Grazia Speranza is oriented to the study of mixed integer mathematical programming models, that is optimization models where a function is minimized or maximized subject to constraints and the variables must take integer values. Such models have been applied to several problems, in particular in the area of finance, where the decision concerns the investment of a capital in securities with the objective of  minimizing the risk while guaranteeing a given average rate of return, and to the area of transportation and logistics where location or distribution decisions must be taken with the objective of minimizing the costs while guaranteeing a given service level. Most recent research concerns the value of collaboration and shared mobility.

Editorial work and publications

Maria Grazia Speranza is editor of international scientific journals such as  Transportation Science and  EURO Journal on Transportation and Logistics. She is author of more than 150 publications among which: 

(2018) Archetti C, Christiansen, M, Speranza MG. Inventory routing with pickups and deliveries,  European Journal of Operational Research,  268:314–324.

(2018) Speranza MG. Trends in transportation and logistics,  European Journal of Operational Research, 264: 830–836.

(2017) Guastaroba G, Savelsbergh M,  Speranza MG.Adaptive kernel search: A heuristic for solving mixed integer linear programs,   European Journal of Operational Research, 263: 789-804.

(2017) Archetti C, Boland N, Speranza MG. A matheuristic for the multi-vehicle inventory routing problem,  Informs Journal on Computing, 29:377-387.

(2016) Guastaroba G, Vigo D, Speranza MG.Intermediate facilities in freight transportation planning: a survey, Transportation Science, 50:763-789. 

She has also written two books:

S. Martello, M.G. Speranza, Ricerca operativa per l'economia e l'impresa, Esculapio, 2012. 
R. Mansini, W. Ogryczak, M. G. Speranza, Linear and Mixed Integer Programming for Portfolio Optimization, EURO Advanced Tutorials on Operational Research, Springer, 2015.

Awards and prizes

In  2008-2009 she was Vice-President of IFORS (International Federation of Operation Research Societies). In  2011-2012 she was President of the EURO (Association of European Operational Research Societies). In 2014 she was President of the Transportation Science and Logistic Society of INFORMS (The Institute for Operations Research and the Management Science). From 2019 to 2021 she is President of IFORS. She is member of scientific committees of the major conferences in the area of transportation and logistics. She has been chair of the  program committee of the IFORS conference in Quebec City in  2017. She was plenary speaker at several international conferences and in particular at Optimization days 2005 in Montréal  (together with John Nash) and at the 27th European Conference on Operational Research in Glasgow in 2015.

Elena Stanghellini

STEM area: Mathematics

Competences: causal inference, with applications in medicine, finance and economics, development of multivariate statistical models, graphical Markov models, statistics

Keywords: corporate social responsibility, credit scoring, models for forecasting the default event in Small and Medium Enterprises (SME), models for individual data in biomedicine and epidemiology

Region: Umbria


Full Professor of Statistics at the Università degli Studi di Perugia.

Professional career

Elena Stanghellini graduated in Economics at the Università degli Studi di Firenze in 1991, where she also completed in 1995 the Ph.D. in Applied Statistics. After a position as Research Fellow at the Open University in Milton Keynes (U.K.), in 1996 she awards a permanent position as Researcher in Statistics at the Università degli Studi di Perugia, where she became full professor in 2005.

In 2005 she is consultant to the Regional Institute of Economic Planning of Tuscany (I.R.P.E.T.) for a research about the analysis and forecasts of the regional tourist flows.

In 2007 she is Visiting Professor at the Center of Research in Statistical Methodology of the University of Warwick (U.K.). 

In 2007 she is consultant to the World Bank for a survey about the environmental perceptions and behaviours of the Teheran residents.

In 2008 consultant to IRPET for the analysis of competitiveness of the European Regions.

 In 2009 consultant to the Ministry of Treasure (Department UVAL) for the development of a methodology for the definition of urban and rural areas, based on socioeconomic variables.

From 2010 to 2012 she is a member of the Research Group for the Sustainable Investment Research Program (SIRP), funded by the Swedish Foundation MISTRA.

From 2011 to 2013 she participates in the research group “Identification of Graphical Markov Models with latent variables”, with annual meetings at the American Institute of Mathematics, Palo Alto.

From 2011 to 2014, she is a member of the Swedish research group SIMSAM, to study the long term effects on health of the exposure to risk factors during childhood. 

From 2013 to 2016 she is Director of the Ph.D. program in Mathematical and Statistical Methods for Economic and Social Sciences. 

From 2014 to 2019 she is appointed Deputy Rector for International Relationships. In this position, she was responsible of the relations with foreign Universities, Italian Ministries and the National University Council (CUN). Several missions abroad.

From 2015 to 2019 she is Affiliated Professor at the Umeå University (SE).  

In 2020 she is in the Advisory Board of the national Italian Bureau of Statistics (ISTAT) for the design and implementation of sample surveys to measure and monitor epidemiological parameters of COVID-19 pandemic. Currently, she is involved in two projects, in Lombardy and Tuscany, for the analysis of COVID-19 individual data.

In 2020 and 2021 she partecipates several times at the SKY TV program “The numbers of pandemic”. In 2020 she joined the Rotary E-Club “Due Mondi”, with meetings mainly online. Presently she teaches “Statistics” and “Statistical models for Credit Scoring” and “Graphical Markov Models”.

Scientific results

Her main scientific achievements concern (a) the extension of graphical models for continuous random variables to asymmetrically distributed random variables (b) the analysis of point or interval identifiability of statistical models with missing information and (c) causal inference. 

With reference to (a) she has derived the first extension of graphical models to include Extended Skew-Normal variates. With reference to point (b) she has derived condition of identifiability of graphical models for both Gaussian and discrete random variables with one dimensional confounding factor and condition for interval identification of continuous or binary response models under informative missingness of the outcome. With reference to point (c) she has derived the parametric decomposition of the total effect with binary mediators. 

All results have been derived in cooperation with researchers from Italian and foreign universities.  From the applied viewpoint, she has worked on micro econometric data to forecast the default event in SME, to study the relationship between Corporate Social Responsibility and profitability. In epidemiology, she has been involved in the evaluation of the efficacy of a treatment in a case-control study and in the estimate of the unknown numbers of individual of an elusive population via capture-recapture methods. 


Editorial work and publications

Since 2011, she participates in the Editorial Board of the International Journal “Statistical Papers”.

She has published numerous scientific contributions, including the following.

[2021] Raggi M., Stanghellini E., Doretti M. Path Analysis for Binary Random Variables. Sociological Methods and Research. Forthcoming.

[2019] Stanghellini E., Doretti M.. On marginal and conditional parameters in logistic regression models. Biometrika, 106(3):732-739. 

[2018] Doretti M., Geneletti S., Stanghellini E. Missing Data: A Unified Taxonomy Guided by Conditional Independence. International Statistical Review86: 189-204.

[2014] Genbäck, M., Stanghellini E., De Luna X. Uncertainty Intervals for regression parameters with non-ignorable missingness in the outcome. Statistical Papers, 56(3): 829-847.

[2014] Nicolosi M., Grassi S., Stanghellini E. Item Response Models to Measure Corporate Social Responsibility. Applied Financial Economics, 24(22):1449-1464.

[2013] Stanghellini E., Vantaggi B. On the identification of discrete concentration graph models with one hidden binary variable. Bernoulli, 19(5A): 1920-1937.

[2011]. Hutton J.L., Stanghellini E. Modelling bounded health scores with censored skew-normal distributions. Statistics in Medicine, 30: 368–376. 

[2009] Stanghellini E. Introduzione ai metodi statistici per il Credit Scoring. Springer Verlag Italia. Monografia.

[2005] Stanghellini E., Wermuth N. On the identification of path analysis models with one hidden variable. Biometrika92(2):337-350.

[2004] Stanghellini E., Van der Heijden P.G.M. A multiple-record systems estimation method that takes observed and unobserved heterogeneity into account. Biometrics, 60: 510-516. 

[2003] Capitanio A., Azzalini A., Stanghellini E. Graphical Models for skew-normal variates. Scandinavian Journal of Statistics, 30: 129-144.

[1997] Stanghellini E. Identification of a single-factor model using graphical Gaussian rules. Biometrika 84: 241-244.

Awards and prizes

1997: Ex-aequo winner of the Prize for the best PhD Thesis in Statistics (VII Cycle) by the Italian Statistical Society.

1999: Recipient of the Jemolo Fellowship at the Nuffield College of the University of Oxford. 

2010 to date: Elected Member of the International Statistical Institute.

2011: Winner of the Square Grant by the American Institute of Mathematics.


Irene Tamborra

STEM area: Physics

Competences: astronomy, astrophysics, multi-messenger astronomy, particle astrophysics

Keywords: early universe, gamma-ray bursts, neutrinos, neutron stars, nucleosynthesis, origin of the elements, supernovae, universe

Region: ABROAD


Full Professor at the Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark 

Professional career

Irene Tamborra studied Physics at the University of Bari in Italy. She was awarded a Bachelor's of Science in Physics in 2005 and a Master of Science in Theoretical Physics in 2007. She graduated from the University of Bari in 2011 with a Ph.D. thesis in Astroparticle Physics. She was an Alexander von Humboldt Foundation research fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Physics in Munich from 2011 to 2013 and research associate at the GRAPPA Centre of Excellence of the University of Amsterdam from 2013 to 2015. She joined the University of Copenhagen as Knud Højgaard Assistant Professor in 2016, was promoted to Associate Professor in 2017 and Full Professor in 2021. 

Scientific results

Tamborra’s research focuses on the interface between astrophysics and particle physics. She has proposed a number of ideas concerning the exploration of a wide range of astrophysical objects by using neutrinos as probes. She has played a pioneering role in connecting the theoretical modeling of the microphysics of astrophysical sources to observations within a multi-messenger framework. Irene Tamborra's work has also provided fundamental contributions to our understanding of neutrino flavor conversion in compact astrophysical sources (such as core-collapse supernovae and neutron star merger) as well as in the early universe, the modeling of physics beyond the Standard Model of Particle Physics, and the nucleosynthesis of the heavy elements. In 2014, she discovered a new phenomenon occurring in core-collapse supernovae just before their explosion: LESA. LESA consists of an astonishingly large asymmetric emission of electron neutrinos with respect to electron antineutrinos.

Editorial work and publications

Irene Tamborra is author of numerous international scientific publications. The full list is available online on Google Scholar.

Awards and prizes

In 2009, she receive the “Antonio Stanghellini” award from the Italian Physics Society. In 2011 she received the honorable mention for the “Fubini” award from the Italian Institute for Nuclear Physics (INFN); during the same year, she became an Alexander von Humboldt Fellow. In 2019, she was elected the Carlsberg Distinguished Associate Professor, received the MERAC Prize from the European Astronomical Society, and the S.P. Duggal award from the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics. In 2020, she received the Kvinder i Fisik Prize for being a role model from the Danish Network for Women in Physics. She is member of the International Astronomical Union, the European Astronomical Society, and plays a leading role in a number of international boards.

Giuseppina Marilia Tantillo

STEM area: Clinical sciences and nutrition science

Competences: food safety, veterinary medicine

Keywords: apiculture, biomolecular analysis, chemical risk, commercial frauds, coronavirus, Covid-19, Covid-19: impact on the food packaging, Covid-19: persistence of the virus on the industries, food technology, nutritional quality, sanitary controls

Region: Apulia


Full professor at the Department of Veterinary Medicine, University of Bari and President of the School of Specialisation in Food Inspection.

Professional career

After graduating in Pharmacy from the University of Bari in 1984, he began teaching and researching at various Italian and foreign universities: University of Teramo, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore of Rome, University of Tirana and University of Western Brittany (France). In the three-year period 2003/2006 he held the position of president of the degree course in Animal Science and Food Health at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of the University of Bari and, at the same faculty, in the three-year period 2007/2010 he was president of the master degree course in Hygiene and Quality of Food of Animal Origin. From 2008 to 2014, she was President of the School of Specialisation in Hygiene and Technology of Milk and Milk Products and coordinator of the PhD course in Production, Quality and Safety of Food of Animal Origin from cycle XX to XXVI. She is currently President of the School of Specialisation in Inspection of Food of Animal Origin and is a member of the board of teachers of the PhD School in Animal Health and Zoonoses. In 2014 he was appointed to collaborate with the Department of Agri-food Resources, Agriculture, Food, Land Reform, Hunting and Fishing, Forestry of the Apulia Region for the drafting of the Regional Law on Beekeeping. Since 2017, she has been a member of the Regional Coordination and Monitoring Board for the Coordination and Cooperation between Administrations and Bodies involved in food safety and veterinary public health under the Regional Prevention Plan 2014-2018 (TCM) at the Department for Health Promotion, Social Wellbeing and Sport for All (Apulia Region).


Scientific results

Professor Tantillo is scientifically responsible for numerous national and international research projects, aimed at food hygiene control, ascertaining the nutritional and functional quality of food, developing technological innovations for food preservation, and uncovering health and commercial fraud using biomolecular techniques. Among its research activities are the control of the presence of pathogenic microorganisms in food matrices, chemical-physical analysis for the determination and assessment of chemical risk in food, DNA-based analysis for the identification of species in prepared or processed foods. 

Editorial work and publications

She is the author of the book La produzione igienica della carne. Gli stabilimenti di macellazione e i laboratori di sezionamento (Edagricole 2001), of 3 chapters of the text Igiene e tecnologia  degli alimenti di origine animale (edited by Giampaolo Colavita, Le Point Veterinaire Italie, 2012) and of the popular volume Carta d'identità dei prodotti tradizionali pugliesi (Infosei, 2007).

She is also author/co-author of numerous scientific publications, including:

[2018] Terio, Valentina, Bottaro, Marilisa, Di Pinto, Angela, Fusco, Giovanna, Barresi, Teodosio, Tantillo, Giuseppina, Martella, Vito (2018). Occurrence of Aichi virus in retail shellfish in Italy. FOOD MICROBIOLOGY, 74: 120-124.

[2017 ] Terio V, Bottaro M, Pavoni E, Losio M N, Serraino A, Giacometti F, Martella V, Mottola A, Di Pinto A, Tantillo G. Occurrence of hepatitis A and E and norovirus GI and GII in ready-to-eat vegetables in Italy. International Journal of Food Microbiology, 249:61-65, ISSN: 0168-1605, doi: 10.1016/j.ijfoodmicro. 2017.03.008.

[2017] Di Pinto A, Terio V, Marchetti P, Bottaro M, Mottola A, Bozzo G, Bonerba E, Ceci E, Tantillo G. DNA-based approach for species identification of goat-milk products, Food Chemistry, 229:93-97, ISSN: 0308-8146, doi: 10.1016/j.foodchem. 2017.02.067.

[2016] Sportelli M C, Picca R A, Ronco R, Bonerba E, Tantillo G, Pollini M, Sannino A, Valentini A, Cataldi T, Cioffi N. Investigation of industrial polyurethane foams modified with antimicrobial copper nanoparticles, Materials, 9, ISSN: 1996-1944, doi: 10.3390/ma9070544.

[2016] Calvano C D, Picca R A, Bonerba E, Tantillo G, Cioffi N, Palmisano F. MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry analysis of proteins and lipids in Escherichia coli exposed to copper ions and nanoparticles, Journal of Mass Spectometry. 828-840, ISSN: 1076-5174, doi: 10.1002/jms.3823.

[2016] Mottola A, Bonerba E, Bozzo G, Marchetti P, Celano G V, Colao V, Terio V, Tantillo G, Figueras M J, Di Pinto A. Occurrence of emerging food-borne pathogenic Arcobacter spp. isolated from pre-cut (ready-to-eat) vegetables. International Journal of Food Microbiology, 236:33-37, ISSN: 0168-1605, doi: 10.1016/j.ijfoodmicro. 2016.07.012.

[2016] Mottola A, Bonerba E, Figueras M J, Pérez-Cataluña A, Marchetti P, Serraino A, Bozzo G, Terio V, Tantillo G, Di Pinto A. Occurrence of potentially pathogenic arcobacters in shellfish, Food Microbiology, 57:23-27, ISSN: 0740-0020, doi: 10.1016/

[2015] Ditaranto N, Van der Werf I D, Picca R A, Sportelli M C, Giannossa L.C., Bonerba E, Tantillo G, Sabbatini L. Characterization and behaviour of ZnO-based nanocomposites designed for the control of biodeterioration of patrimonial stoneworks. New Journal of Chemistry, 39:6836-6843, ISSN: 1144-0546, doi: 10.1039/c5nj00527b.

[2015] Di Pinto A, Bottaro M, Bonerba E, Bozzo G, Ceci E., Marchetti P, Mottola A, Tantillo G. Occurrence of mislabeling in meat products using DNA-based assay, Journal of Food Science and Tecnology, 52:2479-2484, ISSN: 0022-1155, doi: 10.1007/s13197-014-1552-Y.

[2014] Bonerba E, Ceci E, Montemurro N, Tantillo G, Di Pinto A, Celano G, Bozzo G. Determinazione quantitativa in HPLC Uv-Vis di fitofarmaci nel miele mediante procedura estrattiva QuEChERS. Italian Journal of Food Safety, 3:85-91, ISSN: 2239-7132, doi: 10.4081/ijfs.2014.1647.

[2014] Di Pinto A, Bonerba E, Bozzo G, Ceci E, Terio V, Tantillo G. Occurence of potentially enterotoxigenic Bacillus cereus in infant milk powder. European Food Research and Technoogy, ISSN: 1438-2377, doi: Doi: 10.1007/s00217-013-1988-8.

Awards and prizes

The research group coordinated by Professor Tantillo of the Food Safety Section of the Department of Veterinary Medicine in Bari was ranked first in the national ranking of "Evaluation of Research Quality" in the period 2004/2010 (SSD VET/04). Giuseppina Tantillo is a member of the AIVI National Scientific Committee and, since 2013, as an external expert, of the RINA S.p.A. Certification Technical Committee. (Fisheries Sector, Ge).

Stefania Tarquini

STEM area: Engineering

Competences: Aerospace Engineering, spacecraft operations

Keywords: ESA (European Space Agency), space, Spacecraft

Region: ABROAD


LEO Spacecraft Operations Engineer in EUMETSAT, the European Meteorological Satellite Organization

Professional career

Stefania Tarquini graduated from Politecnico di Milano in Aerospace Engineering in 2010 and in 2012 she obtained a Master of Science is Space Engineering, including a study experience abroad to develop her Master thesis in the United States at the Pennsylvania State University.

During her studies, she worked in her free time for an extra-curricular project, the European Student Moon Orbiter (ESMO). The spacecraft ESMO was a project of the European Space Agency, managed in cooperation with the English company Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL), the first lunar spacecraft to be designed, built and operated by students across ESA Member States and ESA Cooperating States. Stefania Tarquini worked for one year as a technical engineer for the propulsion subsystem, before becoming in charge of the whole team of Politecnico di Milano, leading more than 10 students with engineering tasks for the propulsion sub-system and coordinating the activities with the industry.

Only four months after graduation, Stefania Tarquini is hired by Telespazio Vega Deutschland (Finmeccanica group) as Spacecraft Controller in Darmstadt, Germany, where she was executing routine and contingency operations for the GEO satellites Meteosat 7, 8, 9 and 10 and their relative ground stations.

During the two years as Spacecraft Controller, Stefania Tarquini was noticed for her technical and managerial skils and in 2015 she was hired directly by EUMETSAT as Spacecraft Operations Engineer for the Metop series of satellites, part of the EUMETSAT Polar System (EPS) program, which provides direct observations about ocean, land and atmospheric parameters to be used for weather forecast and climate monitoring.

In 2018 she had a leading role for the launch of Metop-C, the last satellite of the series. Stefania Tarquini was acting as Customer Representive and interface between EUMETSAT and the European Space Agency, which was in charge of the Launch and Early Operation Phase (LEOP) activities. She was also coordinating the activities of the team for the Spacecraft In-Orbit Verification (SIOV) phase, when all the satellite instruments are switched on, tested and operated for the first time.

After the Metop-C launch in November 2018, Stefania Tarquini now follows the routine operations of the Metop series of satellites as platform expert and she leads an End-Of-Life Technological Test project on the Metop-A satellite, which includes as well finding stable solutions to de-orbit the satellite in a “clean” way with no space debris.

In the following years Stefania Tarquini will participate as well to the operations preparation of the EPS-SG constellation, the second generation of more modern Metop satellites to be launched in 2023.

Scientific results

During the research experience in the United States to develop her Master thesis, Stefania Tarquini worked for the selection of a new superhydrophobic material with anti-icing properites to be used on helicopter rotor blades. The work included design of aerodynamic profiles and testing of the specimens on real rotor blades in an icing chamber at the “Penn State Vertical Lift Research Center of Excellence”, developing afterwards several publications on the topic.

Throuought the ESMO project she acquired an extensive knowledge of satellite propulsion subsystems, focusing especially on liquid propellants but not forgetting as well solid and hybrid combustion materials, the latter the main focus of the research for her Bachelor thesis about new materials for innovative hybrid propellants.

Nowadays ’s main area of expertise is in the field of Spacecraft Operations for a Low Earth Orbit satellite, with three-axis stabilization and with focus on Earth Observation. She specializes in satellite platforms, with focus on attitude and orbit control, power and thermal subsystems.

As Spacecraft Operations engineer, her strengths are also about quick problem solving and spacecraft anomaly handling: the Metop satellites have short windows of commandability and the team has to be able to react quickly in case of need.

As Metop Platfrom Team Leader for EUMETSAT, She is also in charge of coordination with the Industry Spacecraft Provider Airbus and aftr additional studies to obtain the PRINCE2 certification in Project Management, she is now the Project Manager for Metop-A End of Life. 

Editorial work and publications

[2018] S. Tarquini,”Planning an End-Of-Life Technology Test Campaign for the Metop-A satellite”, Proceeding of SpaceOps Conference 2018, Marseille.

[2014] S. Tarquini, C. Antonini, A. Amirfazli, M. Marengo & J. Palacios, “Investigation of Ice Shedding Properties of Superhydrophobic Coatings on Helicopter Blades”, Cold Regions Science&Technology, 100, 50–58.

[2013] S. Tarquini, Carlo Antonini, A. Amirfazli, J. Palacios, M. Marengo, “Assessing Icephobicity Of Superhydrophobic Surfaces As Passive Coating Icing Mitigation Strategy On Helicopter Blades”, Proceeding of ILASS 2013, Chania, Crete, 1-4 September 2013. 

[2012] S. Tarquini, L. Ferrario, A. Devereaux, L. Rossettini, “Design and Development of a Dual Mode Bipropellant Propulsion System for the European Student Moon Orbiter”, Proceeding of 3AF-ESA-CNES Space Propulsion 2012, Bordeaux, 7-10 May 2012.

Awards and prizes

Prize "PoMiLIA-61" for the most outstanding dissertation of 2012 in the topic of innovative solutions to save energy in the aerospace sector (Jul 2013).

Ines Testoni

STEM area: Psychology and neurosciences

Competences: dignity therapy, end-of-life education, phototherapy

Keywords: coronavirus, Covid-19, critical incidents in prison, death, living will, media communication, moral distress among physicians, mourning, palliative care, resilience and spirituality, social denial of death, suicide

Region: Veneto


Associate professor of Social Psychology and Director of the Master in Death Studies & The End of Life at University of Padua

Professional career

After graduating in Applied Psychology at University of Padua in 1989, she continued her studies for a Specialization in "Clinic and Theory of Systemic Therapy" at the "Gregory Bateson Center", Niguarda Ca' Granda Hospital in Milan. In 1995 she graduated in Theoretical Philosophy with Professor Emanuele Severino at Ca' Foscari University, in Venice. In 1996 she obtained the specialization in "Cultural and Social Anthropology" at the University of Padua. In 1991 she was appointed as assistant under command from the Ministry of Education to the chair of Social Psychology at University of Padua, where she became a researcher in 1999 and associate professor in 2003. In 2017 she obtained the national qualification as full professor.

During her activity she leaded countless national and international projects, among which two European ones. She was Visiting Professor at the Universidade De Caxias do Sul (UCS), at the Semmelweiss University of Budapest (Hungary).

At University of Padova, she has been teaching at the Doctoral School in "Social Sciences. Interactions, Communication, Cultural Constructions"; teaches "Psychology of group and system relations" and "Fundamentals of Social Psychology" at the SPGI Department, and "Psychology of end-of-life relationships, bereavement, loss and death" at the FISPPA department, where she created and has been leading the Master in “Death Studies and the End of Life”, continually since 2008. Since 2018 she has been a research fellow at the Emili Sagol Creative Arts Therapies Research Center, University of Haifa (Israel).

Scientific results

She is affiliated to numerous research organizations among which: the Italian Society of Palliative Care (SICP) and of the parallel European Association of Palliative Care (EACP), she is part of the Steering Group of the Bereavement Network in Europe (BNE); International Society for Research on Aggression (ISRA); Federation of European Psychodrama Training Organizations (FEPTO). Furthermore, she is a member of the National Conference of Masters in Palliative Care and Pain Therapy, established by the Ministry of University and Research (MIUR), and has been scientific director of about ten international conferences on the topics of death, dying and palliation.

Her research is centred on Severin's concept of "nihilism", in particular on the representations of death as annihilation, on which her fundamental themes are pivoted among which: psycho-thanatology, Death Education, grief processing and treatment, human death attitudes/behavior and pathological suffering (suicide, drug addiction, anorexia and suicide, gender-based violence); loss, grief and mourning; social construction of bio-political and bio-ethical management of death; Dignity Therapy; Informed consent; Mind-brain conceptualization and social representation of death; Self-determination and biological will; Death/spirituality/religiousness; Coping with death and dying; Terror Management Theory; Counselling and therapy;  Professional training; Psychodrama and photo-voice/photo-therapy for mourners; Death and "sociatry" in social violence (gender based violence and discrimination; mafia dynamics).

Editorial work and publications

Ines Testoni is the author of about ten volumes and curator of about as many texts, about a hundred articles and contributions to collective works of national and international importance, including:

(2019) Testoni, I., Piscitello, M., Ronconi, L., Zsák, É., Iacona, E., Zamperini, A. Death Education and the Management of Fear of Death Via Photo-Voice: An Experience Among Undergraduate Students, Journal of Loss and Trauma, doi: 10.1080/15325024.2018.1507469

(2019) Testoni, I., Ronconi, L. Noppe Cupit, I., et al.  The effect of death education on fear of death amongst Italian adolescents: A nonrandomized controlled study, Death Studies, doi: 10.1080/07481187.2018.1528056

(2018) Testoni I, Bisceglie D, Ronconi L, Pergher V, Facco E. Ambivalent trust and ontological representations of death as latent factors of religiosity. Cogent Psychology, 5(1). doi: 10.1080/23311908.

(2018)  Testoni I., Mariani C., Zamperini A. . Domestic Violence Between Childhood Incest and Re-victimization: A Study Among Anti-violence Centers in Italy, Frontiers in Psychology,  doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.02377

(2018) Testoni, I., Ronconi, L., Palazzo, L., Galgani, M., Stizzi, A., Kirk, K. Psychodrama and moviemaking in a death education course to work through a case of suicide among high school students in Italy. Frontiers in Psychology, doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00441

(2017) Testoni I, Facco E, Perelda F. Toward A New Eternalist Paradigm for Afterlife Studies: The Case of the Near-Death Experiences Argument. World Futures, 73(7):442-456. doi:10.1080/02604027.2017.1357935.

(2017) Solomon S, Testoni I, Bianco S. Clash of civilizations? Terror Management Theory and the role of the ontological representations of death in contemporary global crisis. TPM Testing Psychometric Methodology in Applied Psychology, 24(3):379-398. doi: 10.4473/TPM24.3.5.

(2017) Testoni I, De Cataldo L, Ronconi L, & Zamperini A.  Pet loss and representations of death, attachment, depression, and euthanasia.Anthrozoös, 30(1):135-148. doi:10.1080/08927936.2017.1270599.

(2017) Testoni I, Ghellar T, Rodelli M, De Cataldo L, Zamperini A. Representations of death among Italian vegetarians: An ethnographic research on environment, disgust and transcendence. Europe’s Journal of Psychology, 13(3):378-395. doi:10.5964/ejop.v13i3.1301.

(2017) Testoni I, Milo V, Ronconi L, Feltrin A, Zamperini A, Rodelli M, Cillo U, Germani G. Courage and representations of death in patients who are waiting for a liver transplantation. Cogent Psychology, eprint, 4(1).

(2016) Testoni I, Parise, G, Visintin EP, Zamperini A, Ronconi L. Literary plastination: From body's objectification to the ontological representation of death, differences between sick-literature and tales by amateur writers. TPM - Testing, Psychometrics, Methodology in Applied Psychology, 23(2):247-263. doi: 10.4473/TPM23.2.8.

(2016) Testoni I, Visintin EP, Capozza D, Carlucci MC. & Shams M. The implicit image of God: God as reality and psychological well-being. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 55(1):174-184. doi:10.1111/jssr.12252.

Luisa Torsi

STEM area: Chemistry

Competences: analytical chemistry, bioelectronics, diagnostics, materials science and technology

Keywords: analytical chemistry, bioelectronics, biosensors, coronavirus, Covid-19, environment, hiv, inventions, materials science, nanotechnologies, odor machine, sensors, virus detection, women and science

Region: Apulia


Full professor of Chemistry at the University of Bari (Italy) and adjunct professor at the Abo Academy University in Finland.

Professional career

She holds a degree in Physics and a PhD in Chemistry from UNIBA and was a post-doctoral fellow at Bell Labs in the USA. In 2010 Torsi was awarded the H.E. Merck Prize by the well-known multinational company, and to date she is still the only woman to have received this prestigious international award. In 2019, she was awarded the Distinguished Women Award by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry - IUPAC. She was also the only woman president of the European Material Research Society which, with more than 4000 members, is the largest of its kind in Europe. Torsi is the author of more than 200 papers, some of which have been published in high impact journals such as Science and Nature. Her work has garnered almost 13,000 citations, contributing to an h-index of 54 (google scholar). Research funding of more than €26 million includes several national and European projects, of which Torsi is often the coordinator. Luisa Torsi is also highly engaged as a role model for young female scientists. In a recent Bracco Foundation campaign, she starred in a TOPOLINO story as Louise Torduck, a successful scientist from the Calisota Valley.

Scientific results

Luisa Torsi's research focuses on bio-electronic transistor systems capable of detecting a single protein marker or a single virus in a real, non-pretreated sample of blood or saliva (10 zeptomolar concentration). The interface of the device, which responds in a few minutes and can be manufactured at low cost, is orders of magnitude larger than the single protein to be detected. This is a world record based on the Single-Molecule with a large Transistor -SiMoT technology patented by Torsi and his group in 2018. The prospect is the development of ultra-sensitive, fast, low-cost and high-reliability diagnostics for ultra-early screening of progressive diseases such as cancers and both viral and bacterial infections.

Editorial work and publications

Torsi has authored almost 200 ISI papers, including papers published in Science, Nature Materi-als, Nature Communications, PNAS and is co-inventor of several awarded international patents. Her works gathered almost 11.000 Google scholar citations resulting in an h-index of 50 (ISI h-index: 43).

(2020) Macchia E., Picca R.A., Manoli, K., Di Franco, C., Blasi, B., Sarcina, L., Ditaranto, N., Cioffi, N., Österbacka, R., Scamarcio, G., Torricelli, F., Torsi L.* About the amplification factors in organic bioelectronic sensors. Materials Horizons, 7, 999 – 1013. 2020 Materials Horizons most popular article.

(2019) Macchia, E., Tiwari, A., Manoli, K., Holzer, B., Ditaranto, N., Picca, R.A., Cioffi, N., Di Franco, C., Scamarcio, G., Palazzo, G., Torsi, L.*Label-free and selective single-molecule bioelectronic sensing with a millimeter-wide self-assembled monolayer of anti-immunoglobulins. Chemistry of Materials, 31, 6476-6483.

(2018) Macchia, E., Manoli, K., Holzer, B., Di Franco, C., Ghittorelli, M., Torricelli, F., Alberga, D., Mangiatordi, G.F., Palazzo, G., Scamarcio, G., Torsi, L.* Single mo-lecule detection with a millimetre-sized transistor. Nature Communications, 9, 3223; Highlighted in Nature:

(2017) Holzer., B., Manoli, K., Ditaranto, N., Macchia, E., Tiwari, A., Di Franco, C., Scamarcio, G., Palazzo, G., Torsi, L. Characterization of Covalently Bound Anti-human Immunoglobulins on Self-assembled Monolayer Modified Gold Elec-trodes. Advanced Biosystem, 1, 1700055.

(2016) Macchia E, Alberga D, Manoli K, Torsi L, et al. Organic bioelectronics probing conformational changes in surface confined proteins. Scientific Reports, 6, 28085

(2015) Macchia E, Giordano F, Magliulo M, Torsi L, et al. An analytical model for bio-electronic organic field-effect transistor sensors.Applied Physics Letters, 106(2). 

(2015) Afzal A, Di Franco C, Mesto E, Torsi L, et al. Au/In2O3 and Au/ZrO2 composite nanoparticles via in situ sacrificial gold electrolysis.  Materials Express, 5(3):171-179

(2015) Mulla M Y, Tuccori E, Magliulo M, Torsi L, et al. Capacitance-modulated transistor detects odorant binding protein chiral interactions, Nature Communications, 6,6010

(2015) Palazzo G, De Tullio D, Magliulo M, Torsi L, et al. Detection Beyond Debye's Length with an Electrolyte-Gated Organic Field-Effect Transistor. Advanced Materials, 27(5):911-916. 

(2013) Torsi L et al. Organic field-effect transistor sensors: a tutorial review. Chemical Society Reviews, 42(22):8612-8628. 

(2008) Torsi L, et al. A sensitivity-enhanced field-effect chiral sensor. Nature Materials, 7(5): 412-417. 

(1995) Dodabalapur A, Katz EH, Torsi L, et al. Organic Heterostructure Filed-Effect Transistors.Science, 269 (5230):1560-1562. 

(1995) Dodabalapur A, Torsi L, Katz EH. Organic Transistors - 2 dimensional transport and improved electrical characteristics. Science, 268 (5208):270-271.

Awards and prizes

In 2010, she was the first Italian and the first woman to win the Henrick Emmanuel Merck Prize for Analytical Sciences, an international award given to scientists who have invented a method of analysis capable of improving the quality of life of citizens. She received it for the invention of the bio-electronic sensor that can be printed on plastic or paper.

In 2013 she was awarded the itwiin prize as "Best Italian inventor of 2013" by the Italian Association of Women Inventors and Innovators.

In 2015 Euwiin International 2015 (European Union WomenInventors&Innovators Awards) awarded her the title of Best European Inventor in the "Inventor" section (first place overall).

In 2015 she was the President of the European Material Research Society, the first woman to hold this position.

In 2021, it was awarded the Wilhelm Exner Medal, a prestigious award conferred since 1921 in the presence of the Austrian President by the Austrian Association of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises to celebrate excellence in research and science.



Daniela Trabattoni

STEM area: Biomedical sciences and biotechnology

Competences: clinical cardiology, invasive cardiology

Keywords: coronavirus, Covid-19, Covid-19: acute coronary syndromes, Covid-19: gender medicine, gender-specific medicine, preventive medicine

Region: Lombardy


Chief of the Operative Unit Invasive Cardiology and Director of the "Monzino Women"  at the Centro Cardiologico Monzino, IRCCS, Milan 

Professional career

Graduation in Medicine at the University of Milan in 1992; board in Cardiology at the University of Milan in 1997.

Visiting fellow in the Intravascular Ultrasound Laboratory, Catheterization Lab, Washington Hospital Center (1997-1998).

In 1998 she becomes staff member of the Cath Lab at the Centro Cardiologico Monzino and Assistant Director in 2014. She is elected Chief of the Invasive Cardiology Unit at the same Institute in October 2017 and Director of the Women Heart Center, she founded in 2017, focused on cardiovascular prevention in women. 

Teaching clinical cardiology at the postgraduate cardiology school, University of Milan.

She is elected committee member of the National Superior Institute of Health (ISS) for cardiovascular devices evaluation in 2011 and member of the ISS committee for a ministerial consensus document on gender-based medicine.

Scientific results

Daniela Trabattoni focuses her research interests in interventional cardiology section, evaluating factors possibly affecting PCI outcomes, according to different coronary devices use. She has studied cardioprotective tools adopted during primary angioplasty as adjunctive therapy for a faster left ventricle function recovery, after acute myocardial infarction. She has studied potential correlations between patent foramen ovale and migraine and compared different occluder devices in PFO closure. She actively contributed to the writing of the national consensus document on antiplatelet treatment management in patients with previous coronary stenting addressed to any surgery, by the GISE (Italian Society of Invasive Cardiology). She has studied safety and efficacy of short-term antiplatelet therapy after drug-eluting and drug-coated stents in high-bleeding risk patients.

Editorial work and publications

Daniela Trabattoni is reviewer for several international and national cardiology journals: Giornale italiano di CardiologiaJournal of Cardiovascular MedicineInternational Jorunal of CardiologyCatheterization & Cardiovascular InterventionsCephalalgiaCirculation Cardiovasc Interventions.

She has served on the editorial board of the Journal of Endovascular Therapy (2010-2013) and is currently on the editorial board of the Journal of Hypertension and Immunotherapy.

She has signed numerous scientific publications.

Awards and prizes

Since 1995 he has been a member of the Italian Society of Cardiology.

Since 2001 she has been a member of the European Society of Cardiology and a member of the Italian Group of Invasive Cardiology.

Since 2005 she is a member of the American College of Cardiology.

Since 2007s he is a member of the European Association of Percutaneous Cardiovascular Interventions (EAPCI).

In 2007 she received the "Rosa Camuna" award from the Lombardy Region.

Clara Troncon

STEM area: Physics

Competences: nuclear physics, particle physics

Keywords: CERN, higgs boson, nuclear physics, standard model

Region: Lombardy


Senior researcher at the Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare (INFN), Milano section.

Professional career

After graduating in Physics at the University of Trieste in 1977 she continued her education first as a Summer Student in 1978 at CERN and then attending the Postgraduate School in Physics in Trieste, as a fellow of the Consortium for the Increase of Studies and Research of the Physics Departments of the University of Trieste. In 1983 she joined the National Institute of Nuclear Physics, Trieste section, as a researcher and later the section of Milan. She has been a scientific associate at CERN in Geneva since 1978.

Scientific results

Clara Troncon's two main research strands are the study of elementary particle physics with accelerators and, specifically, measurements of the properties of Heavy Flavours, precision verifications of the Standard Model, including the search for and then discovery of the Higgs boson, and the search for evidence of new physics beyond the Standard Model. The second strand includes the development, design and implementation of microstrip and pixel silicon sensors and the development, design, implementation, commissioning and operation of vertex detectors. Her research activity began at CERN, where from 1979 to 1986 he devoted herself to the study of quark charm with the EHS (European Hybrid Spectrometer) experiments at the SPS (SuperProtoSynchrotron) accelerator. From 1986 to 2000 she took part in the DELPHI experiment at the LEP accelerator at CERN, where she contributed to the precision measurements of the neutral Z0 and W bosons, the verification of the Standard Model and the search for the Higgs boson. Her group collaborated in the construction of the DELPHI silicon vertex detector. In 1997, she began participating in the ATLAS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN, where she played an important role in the construction of the pixel detector. After the installation of this detector in 2008, she devoted herself to the search and study of the Higgs boson and the search for supersymmetric particles and signals of a new physics at the TeV(teraelettronvolt) scale. She was also involved from 1996 to 2000 in study activities for future Linear Colliders through the Conceptual Design of the Next Linear Collider and the feasibility study for the search for the Higgs boson. From 2001 to 2006, through the RD50 collaboration, she was involved in the research and development of radiation-resistant semiconductor detectors for very high luminosity colliders.

Editorial work and publications

She has signed over than 1.100 scientific publications, including: 

(2016) ATLAS Collaboration, Aad G, Troncon C, et al. Search for dark matter produced in association with a Higgs boson decaying to two bottom quarks in pp collisions at √s=8 TeV with the ATLAS detector. Physical Review D, 93: 7, 072007.

(2016) ATLAS Collaboration, Aad G, Troncon C, et al. Search for magnetic monopoles and stable particles with high electric charges in 8 TeV pp collisions with the ATLAS detector. Physical Review D, 93:5, 05200.

(2013) ATLAS Collaboration, Aad G, Troncon C, et al. Evidence for the spin-0 nature of the Higgs boson using ATLAS data. Physical Review Letters B, 726, 120-144.

(2012) ATLAS Collaboration, Aad G, Troncon C, et al. Search for squarks and gluinos using final states with jets and missing transverse momentum with the ATLAS detector in √s=7 TeV proton-proton collisions. Physical Letters B, 710, 67-85.

(2012) ATLAS Collaboration, Aad G, Troncon C, et al. Observation of a new particle in the search for the Standard Model Higgs boson with the ATLAS detector at the LHC. Physical Review Letters B, 716, 1-29.

(2011) ATLAS Collaboration, Aad G, Troncon C, et al. Measurement of the top quark-pair production cross section with ATLAS in pp collisions at √s=7 TeV. The European Physical Journal A, C71, 1577.

(2010) ATLAS Collaboration, Aad G, Troncon C, et al. Observation of a Centrality-Dependent Dijet Asymmetry in Lead-Lead Collisions at √sNN=2.77 TeV with the ATLAS Detector at the LHC. Physical Review Letters, 105, 252303.

(2008) ATLAS Collaboration, Aad G, Troncon C, et al. The ATLAS Experiment at the CERN Large Hadron Collider. JINST 3: S08003.

(1998) Accomando E, Troncon C, et al. Physics with e+ e- colliders. Physics Report C, 299, 1. Amsterdam (Olanda).

(1996) DELPHI Collaboration, Abreu P, Troncon C, et al. Performance of the DELPHI Detector. Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research A, 378, 57.

Awards and prizes

From 2006 to 2012 she was an elected member of the INFN CSN1 (National Scientific Commission 1, Particle Physics with Accelerators) and referee for the Babar experiment in CSN1. From 2011 to 2014 she was a member of ANVUR (National Agency for the Evaluation of Research Quality), MIUR and coordinator of subGEV02 (Experimental, Particle and Nuclear Physics).

From 2012 to present Clara Troncon is part of the INFN Evaluation Working Group (VQR final phase) and head of the delegation for CSN1. Since 2013, upon designation by the INFN President, she has been appointed by the Director General of CERN as Italian delegate in the CERN ACCU (Advisory Committee of CERN Users), a position subsequently renewed. In 2015 she is designated by ACCU as ACCU Representative in the CERN Scientific Information Policy Board. In the same year she became a member of GEV02 (Expert Group for the Evaluation of Physical Sciences for the VQR (Evaluation of Research Quality 2015-2017, for ANVUR-MIUR and coordinator of subGEV02_I (Experimental, Particle and Nuclear Physics), a position she still holds today.

Katia Varani

STEM area: Biomedical sciences and biotechnology

Competences: cellular pharmacology

Keywords: anxiety, cancer, chronic diseases on an inflammatory basis, chronic pain, Huntington's korea, multiple sclerosis

Region: Emilia-Romagna


Full professor of Pharmacology,Department of Medical Sciences and University Center for Studies on Gender Medicine, University of Ferrara

Professional career

After graduating in Biological Sciences at the University of Ferrara in 1988, she continued her studies obtaining a Ph.D. in Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology in 1996. After that, she became Assistant Researcher in Pharmacology and from 2009 to date is Associate Professor in Pharmacology, Department of Medical Sciences, University Center for Studies on Gender Medicine, University of Ferrara.

Scientific results

The research themes of Katia Varani and her group are well represented by the pharmacological, biochemical and molecular study of adenosine receptors that have an important role in the central nervous system, the cardiovascular system and the immune response. The interaction of adenosine receptors is studied in neurodegenerative diseases (Huntington's chorea, Parkinson's disease and Multiple Sclerosis), in chronic and neuropathic pain, in cardiovascular disorders such as hypertension and heart failure, inflammatory diseases and cancer. Some studies show that A3 adenosine receptors represent a possible therapeutic target for preventing the development of mesothelial pleural tumors after exposure to asbestos. Other studies have shown that stimulated A2A adenosine receptors have an anti-inflammatory role in chronic inflammatory diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis. Recently, preclinical studies have shown that allosteric modulators of A1 adenosine receptors are endowed of analgesic and anxiolytic properties. The development of new potential drugs acting on adenosine receptors could constitute a valid and innovative pharmacological tool that could be very useful in clinical therapy.

Editorial work and publications

Katia Varani has authored more than 200 scientific papers in international journalis, including:

(2018) Borea PA, Gessi S, Merighi S, Vincenzi F, Varani K. Pharmacology of Adenosine Receptors: The State of the Art. Physiology Review, 98(3):1591-1625.

(2017) Borea PA, Gessi S, Merighi S, Vincenzi F, Varani K. Pathologic overproduction: the bad side of adenosine. British J Pharmacology, 174:1945-1960.

(2016) Tabrizi M, Baraldi PG, Borea PA, Varani K (2016). Medicinal chemistry, pharmacology, and potential therapeutic benefits of cannabinoid CBreceptor agonists. Chemical Reviews, 116:519-560.

(2016) Borea PA, Gessi S, Merighi S, Varani K. Adenosine as a multi-signalling guardian angel in human diseases: when, where and how does it exert its protective effects?. Trends in Pharmacological Sciences, S0165-6147(16)00041-9. 

(2015) Preti D, Baraldi PG, Moorman AR, Borea PA, Varani K. History and perspectives of A2A adenosine receptor antagonists as potential therapeutic agents. Medicinal Research Reviews, 35(4):790-848. 

Ersilia Vaudo Scarpetta

STEM area: Physics

Competences: astrophysics, cosmology, International Relations, strategy

Keywords: diversity and inclusion, ESA (European Space Agency), international relations, space programs, strategy, women and science, Women in STEM

Region: ABROAD


Chief Diversity Officer, European Space Agency

Professional career

Ersilia Vaudo Scarpetta has a degree in physics from Università La Sapienza in Rome, where she started working at the Department of Cosmology on experiments on the measurement of anisotropy in the cosmic background radiation. Since 1991 she has been working at the European Space Agency, in Paris, and she is currently Chief Diversity Officer. 

During her career at ESA, she held several positions i.a. in international relations, elaboration of high level strategies, preparation of decisions at Member States’ ministerial meetings, network with think tanks. She supported the creation of the European Space Policy Institute in Vienna. She participated to the formulation of the first ESA Exploration programme, worked as coordinator of Science and Human Spaceflight activities and had the responsibility as Executive Secretary of the Science and Technology Advisory Group on Exploration in charge of selecting experiments for exploration missions, including ExoMars. She spent four years at the ESA Washington Office ensuring relations with NASA and US stakeholders, and was Member of the Board of Directors of Women in Aerospace USA. Currently she is member of the International Women’s Forum, of the Women’s Forum for the Economy and Society Daring Circle, and of Women in Aerospace – Europe.

Scientific results

Ersilia Vaudo has a long experience in space programmes, in particular in science and explorations, European space strategy, relationships with NASA. In addition, she works to encourage the advancement of girls and women in STEM education and careers and to promote the values of diversity and inclusiveness.

She has given several TEDx Talks, including:

TEDX Bari, 2015: L’Universo e’ resiliente?

TEDX Roncade, 2015: La sfida della conoscenza

TEDX Matera, 2018: Donne, Spazio e Superpoteri

TEDX THBrandenburg: A journey through Space. Stretching the limits

Editorial work and publications

(2019) Piu' donne di scienza per vincere la sfida della competitività, Il Sole 24 Ore 

(2018) Simply into science, how to tear down the STEM gender, 

(2018) La Scienza delle Donne, Wired

(2018) Why women in space are developing science ‘superpowers’, becoming smarter and shooting higher,

(2017) Lunar glow: what is driving the new space race to the Moon, 

(2016) Space and its Links to Economic Theory and Public Support, in "Theorizing European Space Policy" (a cura di Thomas C. Hoerber e Emmanuel Sigalas), Washington DC: Rowman & Littlefield 

(2016) Il futuro del lavoro ai tempi del determinismo tecnologico, Il Menabo’ di Etica ed Economia 

(2015) The role of space in support of the common objectives of the European Nordic countries, 66th International Astronautical Congress, Jerusalem, Israel

(2014) Rosetta, the comet Hunter, Il Menabo’ di Etica ed Economia 

(2002) Assessing ESA’s Current Voting Rules and Practice and Potential Weighted Voting Systems in the Perspective of Enlargement, ESA Bulletin.

Awards and prizes

Ersilia Vaudo Scarpetta has received numerous prizes and awards.

In 1983, she received the "Enrico Persico" Fellowship from the Accademia dei Lincei

In 1986, the "Amelia Earhart" Fellowship for Distinguished Merit in Astrophysics Studies

In 2016, she won the "Cajeta Prize" in the category "Science and Scientific Research".

In 2019 she was nominated for the "European Diversity Awards" in the "Head of Diversity of the Year " category and included in StartupItalia's "Unstoppable Women" list, which recognises the commitment of women to innovation in Italy. In the same year she was invited to give the Lectio Magistralis for the Inauguration of the 157th Academic Year at the Politecnico di Milano.

In September 2021 she was named one of the 50 most inspiring Italian women in the world of technology with the InspiringFifty for Italy award.

Marinela Vavla

STEM area: Psychology and neurosciences

Competences: clinical neurology, neuroimaging in neurodenegeration

Keywords: cerebellar ataxia, cerebral palsy in children, clinical assessment, clinical trial conduction, Friedreich's Ataxia, glycogen storage disorders, Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia, motor control, motor rehabilitation, movement disorders, neuromodulation, rare neurodegenerative disorders

Region: Apulia


Lecturer at MSc Neuroscience at King’s College, University of London. Resident in Respiratory Medicine at the University of Foggia.

Professional career

After graduating in Medicine and Surgery in 2007 from the University of Florence, she undertook a scientific training path with a Master of Science in Neuroscience at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience of the King's College, University of London. In the years 2012-2015 she obtains a PhD in Developmental Medicine and Programming Sciences at the University of Padua and works at the IRCCS "Eugenio Medea" in Conegliano Veneto. In 2019-2020 she completes a Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the University of Padua. In 2021 she begin her residency training in Respiratory Medicine at the University of Foggia. Since 2010 she has been a lecturer for the Master of Neuroscience programme at IOPPN of King's College in London.

Scientific results

Since the beginning of her research in the neuroscience field, she has approached the study of the neurological disorders, starting with Multiple Sclerosis and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis with clinical and laboratory approaches. While carrying out a project on SOD-1 toxicity in experimental models and acquiring laboratory technical skills, she also developed a particular interest in movement disorders.

The main research project that she has explored is the study of cerebellar ataxias, and in particular of Friedreich's ataxia. She has explored the clinical aspects and also the brain volume, diffusion and cerebral-cerebellar activation characteristics in this pathology with advanced neuroimaging techniques. This research was followed by an important clinical and neuroradiological follow-up which also generated an international collaboration for rare cerebellar diseases (ENIGMA-Ataxia).

Furthermore, she has been interested into exploring and developing treatment proposals, such as experimental clinical studies and their design, application of neuromodulation and rehabilitation strategies in Friedreich’s Ataxia.

She is engaged in postgraduate teaching and in the supervision of graduate students within health professional areas.

The results of her research have been published in international scientific journals and have been presented as contributions in national and international conferences.

Editorial work and publications

[2020] Vavla M, Arrigoni F, Toschi F, Peruzzo D, Maria Grazia D'angelo MG, Gandossini S, Russo A, Diella E, Tirelli S, Salati R, Rufini A, Condo I, Testi R, Martinuzzi A. Sensitivity of neuroimaging indicators in monitoring the effects of interferon gamma treatment in Friedreich’s Ataxia. Front. Neurosci. doi: 10.3389/fnins.2020.00872.

[2021] Pizzighello S, Vavla M, Minicuci N, Pellegri A, Martinuzzi A. Trends observed in bilateral cerebral palsy during a thirty-year period: A cohort study with an ICF-based overview. Pediatr Neonatol. Feb 5:S1875-9572(21)00018-8. doi: 10.1016/j.pedneo.2021.01.016. Online ahead of print. PMID: 33663988

[2020] Scalco RS, Lucia A, Santalla A, Martinuzzi A, Vavla M, Reni G, Toscano A, Musumeci O, Voermans NC, Kouwenberg CV, Laforêt P, San-Millán B, Vieitez I, Siciliano G, Kühnle E, Trost R, Sacconi S, Stemmerik MG, Durmus H, Kierdaszuk B, Wakelin A, Andreu AL, Pinós T, Marti R, Quinlivan R, Vissing J; EUROMAC Consortium. Data from the European registry for patients with McArdle disease and other muscle glycogenoses (EUROMAC). Orphanet J Rare Dis. Nov 24;15(1):330. doi: 10.1186/s13023-020-01562-x. PMID: 33234167

[2020] Vavla M, Montanaro D, Pizzighello S, Frijia F, Arrigoni F, Baratto A, Piccoli G, Paparella G, Martinuzzi A. Brain Magnetic Spectroscopy Imaging and Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia: A focused Systematic Review on Current Landmarks and Future Perspectives. Front Neurol. Jul 14;11:515. doi: 10.3389/fneur.2020.00515. eCollection 2020. PMID: 32765386

[2020] Montanaro D, Vavla M, Frijia F, Aghakhanyan G, Baratto A, Coi A, Stefan C, Girardi G, Paparella G, De Cori S, Totaro P, Lombardo F, Piccoli G, Martinuzzi A. Multimodal MRI longitudinal assessment of White and Grey Matter in different SPG types of Hereditary Spastic Paraparesis Front Neurosci. Jun 4;14:325. doi: 10.3389/fnins.2020.00325. eCollection 2020. PMID: 32581663

[2020] Paparella G, Vavla M, Bernardi L, Girardi G, Stefan C, Martinuzzi A. Efficacy of a combined treatment of botulinum toxin and intensive physiotherapy in Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia. Front. Neurosci. Doi: 10.3389/fnins.2020.00111

[2020] Vavla M, D'Angelo MG, Arrigoni F, Toschi N, Peruzzo D, Gandossini S, Russo A, Diella E, Tirelli S, Salati R, Scarpazza P, Luffarelli R, Fortuni S, Rufini A, Condò I, Testi R, Martinuzzi A. Safety and efficacy of interferon γ in friedreich's ataxia. Mov Disord. 35(2):370-371. doi: 10.1002/mds.27979. Epub 2020 Jan 13. PMID: 31930551

[2020] Vavla M, Paparella G, Papayannis A, Pascuzzo R, Girardi G, Pellegrini F, Capello G, Prosdocimo G, Martinuzzi A. Optical Coherence Tomography in a cohort of genetically defined Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia: A brief research report. Front. Neurol. | doi: 10.3389/fneur.2019.01193

[2019] Vavla M, Paparella G, Merotto V, Comiotto J, Piai J, Martinuzzi A. Combining Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation and Intensive Physiotherapy in Patients with Friedreich’s Ataxia: A Pilot Study. Acta Scientific Neurology 2.1: 03-10.

[2018] Vavla M, Arrigoni F, Nordio A, De Luca A, Pizzighello S, Petacchi E, Paparella G, D'Angelo MG, Brighina E, Russo E, Fantin M, Colombo P, Martinuzzi A. Functional and Structural Brain Damage in Friedreich's Ataxia. Front Neurol. Sep 6;9:747. doi: 10.3389/fneur.2018.00747. ECollection 2018. PMID: 30237783.

[2016] Martinuzzi A, Montanaro D, Vavla M, Paparella G, Bonanni P, Musumeci O, Brighina E, Hlavata H, Rossi G, Aghakhanyan G, Martino N, Baratto A, D'Angelo MG, Peruch F, Fantin M, Arnoldi A, Citterio A, Vantaggiato C, Rizzo V, Toscano A, Bresolin N, Bassi MT. Clinical and Paraclinical Indicators of Motor System Impairment in Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia: A Pilot Study. PLoS One. Apr 14;11(4): e0153283. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0153283.

[2014] Aghakhanyan G, Martinuzzi A, Frijia F, Vavla M, Hlavata H, Baratto A, Martino N, Paparella G, Montanaro D. Brain White Matter Involvement in Hereditary Spastic Paraplegias: Analysis with Multiple Diffusion Tensor Indices.AJNR Am J Neuroradiol. Aug;35(8):1533-8. doi: 10.3174/ajnr.A3897.

Awards and prizes

In 2011 Marinela Vavla won a PhD scholarship and in 2019 another Post-Doctoral research scholarship, both at the University of Padua. During 2015-2020 she received research fundings from the Association Ogni Giorno per Emma to carry out research in the field of cerebellar ataxias and Friedreich's Ataxia.


Paola Velardi

STEM area: Computer science

Competences: computer technology, electronic engineering

Keywords: artificial intelligence, coronavirus, machine learning, mathematical models, natural language, social networks, web, web semantics, women and science

Region: Lazio


President of the Degree Course and Professor of Computer Science at the “Sapienza” University of Rome.

Professional career

After graduating in Electronic Engineering at the “Sapienza” University of Rome in 1978, she worked as a researcher at the Ugo Bordoni Foundation until 1982. In 1983 she was a visiting scholar at Stanford University and, from 1984 to 1986, was a researcher at the IBM science centre in Rome. From 1986 to 1996 she is associate professor at the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Ancona. Since 1996 she is a professor at the Computer Science Department of the S.MM.FF.NN faculty of the “Sapienza” University of Rome. In 2001 she won a first class competition and became a full professor at the same university, where from 2011 to 2013 she was President of the Degree Course in Computer Science, a position she took on again in November 2016. Since 2013 she has been responsible for the Master’s degree course in Computer Science, distance learning. She teaches Machine Learning and Web and Social Information Extraction at the Master’s degree in Computer Science (in English), and from 2017, also the Business Intelligence course in Management Master's Degree taught in English. She is involved in gender issues, and she has been coordinating the NERD orientation project for six years in order to increase the number of girls enrolled in computer courses.

Scientific results

In the first years of scientific activity, Paola Velardi was involved in Computer Architecture and Reliability to then address her studies to Artificial Intelligence. Later, her main research interests concerned natural language processing, machine learning, semantic modeling and semantic web, i.e. the transformation of the web into an environment where published documents are associated with information and data which specify the semantic context in a format suitable for interrogation and interpretation (for example, through search engines) and, more generally, for automatic word processing. More recently, she has been involved in the analysis of social networks, applying her studies to user profiling, the detection of trending topics (topics of discussion that become popular among users of social networks), and the study of female leadership in social networks companies, epidemiological surveillance and e-health.

Editorial work and publications

She is author of over 150 national and international publications, including:

(2021) Aragona D, Podo L, Prenkaj B, Velardi P. CoRoNNa: A Deep Sequential Framework to Predict Epidemic Spread. SAC '21 Proceedings of the 36th Annual ACM Symposium on Applied Computing. 3.

(2016) Stilo G, Velardi P. Hashtag Sense Clustering based on Temporal Similarity. Computational Linguistics, 43-1. 

(2016) Stilo G, Velardi P. Efficient Temporal Mining of Micro-blog Texts and its application to Event Discovery. Data Mining and Knowledge Discovery, 30(2):372-402.

(2015) Faralli S, Stilo G, Velardi P. Recommendation of micro-blog users based on hierarchical interest profiles. Social Network Analysis and Mining, 5, 25. 

(2015) Gesualdo F, Stilo G, D’Ambrosio A, Carloni E, Pandolfi E, Velardi P, et al. Can Twitter be a source of information on allergy? Correlation of pollen counts with tweets reporting symptoms of allergic rhinoconjunctivitis and names of antihistamine drugs. PloS One, 10(7):e0133706 

(2015) Faralli S, Stilo G, Velardi P. Large Scale Homophily Analysis in Twitter using a Twixonomy. Proceedings of International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI 2015) Buenos Aires. 

(2015) Faralli S, Stilo G, Velardi P. What Women Like: A Gendered Analysis of Twitter Users' Interests based on a Twixonomy. Ninth International AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media Workshop: Wikipedia, a Social Pedia: Research Challenges and Opportunities, Oxford. 

(2015) Di Tommaso G, Stilo G, Velardi P. Women leadership in enterprise social networks: A SNA toolkit to foster the emergence of informal leaders in organizations. International Conference on Information Society (i-Society 2015), IEEE, London. 

(2014) P. Velardi P, G. Stilo G, E. Tozzi E, Gesualdo F. Twitter mining for fine-grained syndromic surveillance. Artificial Intelligence in Medicine, 61(3):153-63. 

(2013) Velardi P, S. Faralli S, Navigli R. OntoLearn Reloaded: A Graph-based Algorithm for Taxonomy Induction. Computational Linguistics, 39(3), MIT Press.

(2013) Gesualdo F, Stilo G, Agricola E, Gonfiantini MV, Pandolfi E, Velardi P, Tozzi AE. Influenza-like illness surveillance on Twitter through automated learning of naïve language. PLoS One, 8(12):e82489.

Awards and prizes

She participated as a partner, associate partner or coordinator in various national and European projects. Among others, the national projects (MIUR law 297) CHAT, on multimodality topics, and LC3, a public-private research laboratory on the topic of communication of cultural knowledge; the SimiTur 2.0 (POR FESR 2007/2013 - CO-RESEARCH) regional projects on the theme of tourism; PARTICIPATE (Research Projects presented by Research Institutes LR 13/2008) on topics of e-collaboration and participatory interfaces in the tourist / cultural field; HomeCare4All (POR FERS Lazio 2007/2013) on issues of public health and multilingual interaction with users; and finally Fiordaliso (POR FERS Lazio 2007/2013) on the topic of analysis of female leadership in corporate social networks. She was a member of the governing committee of the European INTEROP Network of Excellence (2003-2007), on enterprise interoperability issues and the scientific committee of the "EU Virtual Laboratory for Enterprise Interoperability", an European research institute legally established in Belgium in 2007. She is a reviewer of the European community, reviewer and member of the most important conferences and journals on the topics of interest (ACL, EACL, EMNLP, ESWC, IJCAI, ICWSM, TKDD, TKDE, CL, AIIM, BIBM, WWW, etc.). She is Associate Editor of Knowledge and Information Systems.



Margherita Venturi

STEM area: Chemistry

Competences: supermolecular electrochemistry, supermolecular photochemistry

Keywords: chemical computers, disclosure, energetic conversion, energy, molecular machines, nanosciences, nanotechnologies, shows

Region: Emilia-Romagna


Full professor of General Chemistru at University of Bologna

Professional career

After graduating in Chemistry at the University of Bologna in 1971, she continued her education first as a fellow, then a contractor and finally a researcher at the Faculty of Pharmacy at the University of Bologna until 1992. In the same year she became associate professor in the faculty of Mathematical Sciences , Physics and Natural of the same university, and is confirmed again in 1995. Since 2005 she is full professor of General Chemistry of the University of Bologna.

Scientific results

From 1972 to 1991 she worked at National Research Council of Bologna where her main research activity was focused on the field of Radiation Chemistry. In particular, she studied the electron-transfer processes involved in model systems for the conversion of solar energy in chemical energy. Her present research activity is in the field of Supramolecular Photochemistry and Electrochemistry; specifically she is involved in the realization of systems made by two or more molecules capable of performing useful functions. The aims of the research are the following. 1. The desing and construction of chemical systems where the molecular components display changes in their relative positions as a result of some external stimulus, that can be photochemical, chemical and electrochemical in nature. Such systems are called molecular machines and their importance is testified by the fact that this research topic was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2016. 2. The design and construction of systems capable of transferring, switching, collecting, storing, and elaborating photochemical, chemical and electrochemical signals. Up to now several systems of this kind have been obtained, like molecular antennae, wires, plug/socket and extension devices. The results of her research are of great importance in the fields of nanosceince and nanotechnology; for example the developed systems can lead to the construction of molecular devices able to convert solar energy in chemical energy and to elaborate information (chemical computer); they can also find applications in the field of medicine, for example, to develop drug delivering systems that can open new perspectives to treat tumors.

Editorial work and publications

Margherita Venturi is author of two books (with Vincenzo Balzani) Chimica! Leggere e scrivere il libro della nature(Scienza Express Edizioni, 2012) and Energia, Risorse, Ambiente (Zanichelli, 2014).

She is co-author of more than 250 scientific papers, including several reviews, published in the most relevant international journals. Five of them are listed below.

(2015) D’Agostino S, Bergamini G, Ceroni P, Comotti A, Sozzani P, Bassanetti I, Grepioni F, Hernandez TM, Silvi S, Venturi M, Credi A. Photoinduced reversible switching of porosity in molecular crystals based on star-shaped azobenzene tetramers. Nature Chemistry, 7:634-640.

(2015) Ragazzon G, Baroncini M, Silvi S, Venturi M, Credi A. Light-powered autonomous and directional molecular motion of a dissipative self-assembling system. Nature Nanotechnology, 10:70-75.

(2008) Balzani V, Credi A, Venturi M. Photochemical conversion of solar Energy. ChemSusChem, 1:26-58.

(2008) Balzani V, Credi A, Venturi M. Molecular Devices and Machines – Concepts and Perspectives for the Nanoworld. Wiley-VCH: Weinheim, 1-546.

(2006) Balzani V, Clemente-León M, Credi A, Ferrer B, Venturi M, Flood A H, Stoddart J F. Autonomous artificial nanomotor powered by sunlight. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 103:1178-1183.

Awards and prizes

In 2014 she received the Gold Medal Gabriello Illuminati from the Italian Chemical Society because of her contribution and involvement in teaching and spreading Chemistry as author of articles and books, as coordinator and partner of national and European projects, and as organizer of seminars, scientific exhibits, and teacher training courses. In addition, the medal recognized the fact that in 2000 she began to organize at the Department of Chemistry “Giacomo Ciamician” a show entitled Sounds, Lights, Colors and Other Special Effectsduring which the attending students (from primary to high schools) and citizens can see chemical demonstrations and understand the importance, utility, and beauty of Chemistry.

Antonella Viola

STEM area: Biomedical sciences and biotechnology

Competences: biology, immunology

Keywords: cancer cure, coronavirus, Covid-19, immune system, immunology, immunotherapy, inflammation, stamina cells

Region: Veneto


Full Professor of General Pathology at the University of Padua and Scientific Director at Istituto di Ricerca Pediatrica (IRP) Foundation

Professional career

After graduating in Biological Sciences at the University of Padua in 1991, prof. Viola continued her education with a PhD in Evolutionary Biology, which she obtained in 1995 at the same university. She then joined the scientific community of the Basel Institute of Immunology (BII), first as visiting scientist and then as BII scientific member. In 2001 she went back to Padua as assistant professor and head of the Immunology Laboratory at the Venetian Institute of Molecular Medicine (VIMM). In 2007, she moved to Milan to direct the Adaptive Immunity Laboratory at the Humanitas Research Center. In 2014 she became full professor of General Pathology at the University of Padua and in 2017 scientific director of the Pediatric Research Institute (IRP). She has been a member of the scientific committee of the Italian Association for Cancer Research (AIRC) and a reviewer for the European Commission (FP7 and ERC). She has coordinated international (Prostate Cancer Research Program), European (E-rare) and national projects (AIRC, Telethon, MIUR, Ministry of Health) and has been partner of two ambitious projects of the European community, SYBILLA and MERLIN.

Scientific results

After the studies on T lymphocytes (capable of killing virus-infected cells or helping B cells in the production of antibodies), prof. Viola has expanded her research in the field of tumor immunology and, subsequently, of mesenchymal stromal cells. More recently, she decided to focus on the study of macrophages (cells responsible for phagocytizing pathogens and involved in all inflammatory processes) and she proposed to the European Commission the project “STePS”, which was awarded the ERC Advanced Grant. The results of her research are of great importance in basic research but also in other areas, from cancer immunotherapy (ability to exploit our own immune system to directly and focused treat certain diseases) to autoimmune diseases (diseases caused by improper activation of our immune system).

Editorial work and publications

Author of numerous scientific publications, including:

(2011) Molon B, Ugel S, Del Pozzo F, Soldani C, Zilio S, Avella D, De Palma A, Mauri PL, Monegal A, Rescigno M, Savino B, Colombo P, Jonjic N, Pecanic S, Lazzarato L, Fruttero R, Gasco A, Bronte V, Viola A. Chemokine nitration prevents intratumoral infiltration of antigen-specific T cells. The Journal of Experimental Medicine,208(10):1949-62.

(2010) Contento RL, Campello S, Trovato AE, Magrini E, Anselmi F and Viola A. Adhesion shapes T cells for prompt and sustained T cell receptor signaling. EMBO Journal, 29:4035-47.

(2008) Viola A & Luster AD. Chemokines and Their Receptors: Drug Targets in Immunity and Inflammation. Annual Review of Pharmacology and Toxicology, 48:171-197.

(2007) Viola A & Gupta N. Tether and Trap: Regulation of membrane rafts by actin-binding proteins. Nature Reviews Immunology, 7:889-96.

(2006) Campello S, Lacalle RA, Bettella M, Manes S, Scorrano L & Viola A. Orchestration of leukocyte chemotaxis by mitochondrial dynamycs. The Journal of Experimental Medicine, 203:2879-2886.

(2006) Tavano R, Contento RL, Baranda SJ, Soligo M, Tuosto L, Manes S & Viola A. CD28 interaction with filamin-A controls lipid raft accumulation at the T cell immunological synapse. Nature Cell Biology, 8:1270-1276.

(2005) Molon, Gri G, Bettella M, Goumez-Mouton C, Lanzavechia A, Martinez-A C, Manes S & Viola A. T cell costimulation by chemokine receptors. Nature Immunology, 6:465-71.

(2005) Bronte V, Kasic T, Gri G, Gallana K, Borsellino G, Marigo I, Battistini L, Iafrate M, Prayer-Galetti T, Pagano F & Viola A. Boosting anti-tumor responses of T lymphocytes infiltrating human prostate cancers. The Journal of Experimental Medicine, 201:1257-68.

(1999) Viola A, Schroeder S, Sakakibara Y & Lanzavecchia A. T lymphocyte costimulation mediated by reorganization of membrane microdomains. Science, 283:680-2.

(1996) Viola A & Lanzavecchia A. T cell activation determined by T cell receptor number and tunable thresholds. Science, 273:104-6.

Awards and prizes

In 2010 she won the Cancer Reseach Institute Investigator Award (CRI, New York) and in 2008 the "Donne Eccellenti" award and the prestigious "Chiara D'Onofrio" award. In 2013 Antonella Viola received the ERC Advanced Grant and a € 2.5 million financing to continue her STEPS project. In 2016 she was elected member of the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO), a prestigious recognition that was preceded in 2006 by the appointment as EMBO Young Investigator.

Lucia Votano

STEM area: Physics

Competences: experimental physics of astroparticlesm, experimental physics of particles

Keywords: astroparticles, gran sasso workshops, infn, juno, neutrinos, nuclear physics, particle physics, particles, work

Region: Lazio


Research Director, associate to Frascati National Laboratory of INFN (Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare)

Professional career

She graduated in Physics at the University La Sapienza of Rome in 1971, continuing her training at the Frascati National Laboratories of the National Institute of Nuclear Physics (INFN), where she became a permanent researcher in 1975. During her experimental research in particle physics she also worked at CERN in Geneva and at the DESY laboratory in Hamburg. Since the end of the '80s she has devoted herself mainly to astro-particle physics conducting experiments at the INFN Laboratory of Gran Sasso, the largest and most important underground laboratory dedicated to astro-particle physics in the world in terms of number of experiments and complexity of technological and security infrastructures. In 2009 she became director of the Gran Sasso Laboratory, the first woman to hold this position, until 2012.

Scientific results

Lucia Votano carries out her basic research in the field of experimental physics of high-energy elementary particles and in the field of astro-particle physics, a field that links astrophysics, cosmology and the study of fundamental interactions of elementary particles. His main interests have for many years been in the study of neutrinos, an elementary particle of which there are three types with different "flavours". Along with photons, neutrinos are the most numerous particles in the universe of ordinary matter. They interact very little with ordinary matter and are therefore able to pass through large celestial bodies undisturbed, bringing us information from the far corners of the universe. With the international OPERA project at the Gran Sasso Laboratory, Lucia Votano and her team were able to measure directly for the first time in the world the oscillation (transformation) of muon-flavoured neutrinos into tau-type neutrinos. OPERA used the neutrino beam produced at CERN in Geneva and sent to the Gran Sasso laboratory on a journey 730 km long under the Earth's crust and about 2.4 milliseconds in duration. The oscillation showed that neutrinos have mass, albeit very small: a sign of new physics beyond the Standard Model of elementary particles and fundamental interactions. Since 2015 Lucia Votano has been working with other colleagues on the international JUNO (Jiangmen Underground Neutrino Observatory) experiment, which will be set up in southern China by 2020. This is a gigantic underground detector of the latest generation for neutrinos, which will be used to further investigate their nature through the phenomenon of oscillation, which allows them to change from one type (of flavour) to another.

Editorial work and publications

The research activities have resulted in about 300 papers on international scientific journals and in presentations at international conferences. Among them:

(2018) M. Reguzzoni et al., GIGJ: a crustal gravity model of the Guangdong Province for predicting the geoneutrino signal at the JUNO experiment.
arXiv:1901.01945 [physics.geo-ph].

(2018) N. Agafonova et al. Final Results of the OPERA Experiment on ντ appearance in the CNGS Neutrino Beam. Phys. Rev. Lett. 120, 211801.

(2018) N. Agafonova et al. Final results of the search for νμ→νe oscillations with the OPERA detector in the CNGS beam. JHEP 1806, 151.

(2018) N. Agafonova et al. Measurement of the cosmic ray muon flux seasonal variation with the OPERA detector. arXiv:1810.10783 [hep-ex].

(2018) F. Riggi et al. Time and orientation long-distance correlations between extensive air showers detected by the MRPC telescopes of the EEE Project Nuovo Cim. C40, 6, 196.

(2018) M. Grassi et al. Charge reconstruction in large-area photomultipliers
JINST 13 (02): P02008.

(2018) A. Paoloni, A. Mengucci, M. Spinetti, M. Ventura, L. Votano. Streamer studies in Resistive Plate Chambers, arXiv:1806.03443 [physics.ins-det].

(2016) Agafonova A, Aleksandrov A, Votano L, et al. Determination of the muon charge sign with the dipolar spectrometers of the OPERA experiment. Journal of Instrumentation, 11, 07.

(2016) Berra A, Cecchini S, Cindolo F, Votano L, et al. Longitudinally segmented shashlik calorimeters with SiPM readout. Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section A Accelerators Spectrometers Detectors and Associated Equipment. 

(2016) Abbrescia M, Avanzini C, Baldini L, Votano L, et al. A study of upward going particles with the Extreme Energy Events telescopes Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research A. Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section A Accelerators Spectrometers Detectors and Associated Equipment, 816.

Lucia Votano has also published two scientific books for general public: Il fantasma dell’universo. Che cos’è il neutrino (Carocci, 2015) and La via della seta. La fisica da Enrico Fermi alla Cina (Di Renzo, 2017).

Awards and prizes

Lucia Votano was awarded the title of "Commendatore Ordine al Merito" by the Presidency of the Italian Republic in 2010.

She has also received numerous prizes and awards for scientific merit, including the "Guido Dorso" prize, the "Minerva, Roma Capitale delle Donne 2013" prize, the "L'Altra Italia" international prize, the "NordSud" international prize for exact and natural sciences, and the "Life Gates" prize.

Ann Zeuner

STEM area: Biomedical sciences and biotechnology

Competences: cellular biology, molecular biology

Keywords: cancer, cancer stem cells, chemotherapy, disclosure, school, stamina cells

Region: Lazio


Biotechnology Group Leader, Department of Oncology and Molecular Medicine, Istituto Superiore di Sanità (National Institute of Health), Rome, Italy

Professional career

After graduating in Biological Sciences from the University La Sapienza of Rome in 1994, he continued his academic training at the same university with a PhD in Immunological Sciences, which he obtained in 1998. In the meantime, he began his research activities at the Immunology Laboratory of the Institute of General Pathology of the Tor Vergata University of Rome and the Immunology Laboratory of the CNR in Rome. In 1997 she was appointed to a research post at the Department of Haematology, Oncology and Molecular Medicine of the Istituto Superiore di Sanità, where in 2005 she became First Researcher. In 2009 she obtained a Master in Science Communication at the Scuola Internazionale Superiore di Studi Avanzati (SISSA) in Trieste. From 2008 to 2017 she is Director of the Department of Hematological and Oncological Biotechnology, Department of Oncology and Molecular Medicine. She has been coordinating for many years projects funded by AIRC (Italian Association for Cancer Research) and the Ministry of Health including the COLOMED project (COLOrectal cancer in MEDiterranean countries, for the creation of an inter-Mediterranean coordination against colon cancer. 

Scientific results

Ann Zeuner is a biomedical researcher specialising in cancer stem cell biology and the development of new cancer therapies. She has patented important new technologies applied to the treatment of cancer patients, including a method to alleviate chemotherapy toxicity and a new anti-cancer drug that is cheap, effective and has minimal side effects. She is constantly involved in science education for schools, and is the author of a textbook for high schools (Le cellule staminali, ed. Istituto Superiore di Sanità); she gives lectures and seminars in schools of all levels and training courses for teachers. He has collaborated with the Accademia dei Lincei in the programme "I Lincei per una nuova didattica nella scuola: una rete nazionale" (The Lincei for a new didactics in the school: a national network) and she leads within the ISS an operative unit for the training of students within the programme "Alternanza Scuola Lavoro" of the MIUR. Finally, it promotes important initiatives in favour of international cooperation among scientists as well as training and resource exchange activities in the Mediterranean area.

Editorial work and publications

Ann Zeuner sits on the editorial board of Frontiers in Molecular Targets and Therapeutics and of the Istituto Superiore di Sanità Newsletter. She has published numerous articles in international scientific journals, including the most authoritative ones in the scientific field such as Science, Nature, Stem Cell, Blood, Cancer Research. 

(2017) Colace L, Boccia S, De Maria R, Zeuner A. Colorectal cancer: towards new challenges and concepts of preventive healthcare. Ecancer medical science. 2017 Nov 28;11:ed74. doi: 10.3332/ecancer.2017.ed74. eCollection 2017.

[2017]  Manic G, Signore M, Sistigu A, Russo G, Corradi F, Siteni S, Musella M, Vitale S, De Angelis ML, Pallocca M, Amoreo CA, Sperati F, Di Franco S, Barresi S, Policicchio E, De Luca G, De Nicola F, Mottolese M, Zeuner A, Fanciulli M, Stassi G, Maugeri-Saccà M, Baiocchi M, Tartaglia M, Vitale I, De Maria R. CHK1-targeted therapy to deplete DNA replication-stressed, p53-deficient, hyperdiploid colorectal cancer stem cells. Gut. 2017 Apr 7 (Epub ahead of print).

[2015] Francescangeli F, Contavalli P, Gambara G, De Angelis ML, Baiocchi M, Pagliuca A, Fiorenzano A, Prezioso C, Boe A, Todaro M, Stassi G, Castro NP, Watanabe K, Salomon DS, De Maria R, Minchiotti GZeuner A. Dynamic regulation of the cancer stem cell compartment by Cripto-1 in colorectal cancer. Cell Death & Differentiation, 22(10):1700-13.

[2014] Zeuner A, Todaro M, Stassi G, De Maria R. Colorectal Cancer Stem Cells: From the Crypt to the Clinic. Cell Stem Cell. 2014 Dec 4;15(6):692-705.

[2014] Zeuner A, Francescangeli F, Contavalli P, Zapparelli G, Apuzzo T, Eramo A, Baiocchi M, De Angelis ML, Biffoni M, Sette G, Todaro M, Stassi G, De Maria R. Elimination of quiescent/slow-proliferating cancer stem cells by Bcl-XL inhibition in non-small cell lung cancer. Cell Death & Differentiation, 105.

[2013] Todaro M, Turdo A, Bartucci M, Iovino F, Dattilo R, Biffoni M, Stassi G, Federici G, De Maria R, Zeuner A. Erythropoietin activates cell survival pathways in breast cancer stem-like cells to protect them from chemotherapy. Cancer Research, 73(21):6393-400.

[2012] Francescangeli F, Patrizii M, Signore M, Federici G, Di Franco S, Pagliuca A, Baiocchi M, Biffoni M, Vitiani LR, Todaro M, De Maria R, Zeuner A. Proliferation State and Polo-like Kinase1 Dependence of Tumorigenic Colon Cancer Cells. Stem Cells, 30(9):1819-30.

[2011] Bartucci M, Dattilo R, Martinetti D, Todaro M, Zapparelli G, Di Virgilio A, Biffoni M, De Maria R, Zeuner A. Prevention of chemotherapy-induced anemia and thrombocytopenia by constant administration of stem cell factor. Clinical Cancer Research, 17(19):6185-91.

[2009] Zeuner A, Pedini F, Francescangeli F, Signore M, Girelli G, Tafuri A, De Maria R. Activity of the BH3 mimetic ABT-737 on polycythemia vera erythroid precursorcells Blood, 113:1522-5.

[2007] Zeuner A, Signore M, Martinetti D, Bartucci M., Peschle C., De Maria R. Chemotherapy-induced thrombocytopenia derives from the selective death of megakaryocyte progenitors and can be rescued by Stem Cell Factor. Cancer Research, 67:4767-4773.

[1999] De Maria R, Zeuner A, Eramo A, Domenichelli C, Bonci D, Grignani F, Srinivasula SM, Alnemri ES, Testa U, Peschle C. Negative regulation of erythropoiesis by caspase-mediated cleavage of GATA-1. Nature, 401:489-493. 

Monica Zoppé

STEM area: Biomedical sciences and biotechnology

Competences: grafical representation of cellular, molecular and structural biology, interdisciplinary research, molecular biology, structural biology, women and science

Keywords: 3D Computer Graphic, gender and science, molecular animation, structural biology

Region: Lombardy


Researcher at Institute of BioPhysics of the Italian National Council of Research, Milan

Professional career

After graduating in Biology, in 1987 in Milan, she moves for a series of post-docs in different laboratories in Italy (CNR, ICGEB of Trieste) and abroad (UK, Biochemistry Department at the University of Birmingham, and USA, at the Salk Institute, in the laboratory of Inder Verma).

After 15 years in several laboratories, she gets a position as a researcher at the Institute of Clinical Physiology (IFC) of the Italian National Research Council (CNR) of Pisa. Here after a short period, following a serious accident, of which she is not responsible, she is forced to leave the laboratory.

She then embarks on a new phase of her scientific career, dedicating to Biological Representation, with the idea of virtually recreating the cellular world using the techniques developed in the field of Computer Graphics (film, video and video games). Today the discipline is recognized as 'Molecular Graphics'. In 2006 she founded the Scientific Visualization Unit at IFC, and obtained the first funding, with which she obtained the scientific results listed below. In 2019 she moves to Milan at the Institute of BioPhysics of the CNR. In this period, she starts a collaboration with groups of Cuban computer scientists, bioinformaticians and biologists, with whom she has active and funded projects, always related to the visualization, in this case of the Dengue virus.

Today Monica Zoppé is considered a pioneer of the 'Art and Science of Scientific Visualization', and is recognized as one of the major theorists of the field, often invited to mostly international conferences and meetings.

In parallel, she also actively participates in the Donne e Scienza (Women and Science) association, she is a member of the board since few years. It is in the context of this activity that she contributed substantially to the organization of the European #WeTooInScience congress, held in Pisa in 2018.

Scientific results

The results obtained in the experimental biology field are documented in the publications available online on the ORCID website.

For the works in the 'Molecular Graphics' field, the main result is the transposition into a graphic system, therefore visible, of the molecular world which is a very rich world, indeed in cells operate specific and different forces: for example, gravity does not count while thermal vibration counts, and many of the forces at play can be calculated as potentials (electrical, lipophilic, osmotic and thermodynamic flows), for which we have no visual perception. 

In detail, the main results obtained in this area can be summarized as follows:

  • development of the theoretical and operative bases of the new discipline, scientific visualization, dedicated to the narrative of the cellular and molecular biology
  • foundation of the interdisciplinary working group Scientific Visualization:;
  • development and release of multiple versions of BioBlender, a tool that allows one to introduce rigorous scientific data in Blender, one of the most advanced Computer Graphics tools, and the only completely Open Source, developed for cinema and video games;
  • Production of a series of short cellular animations, all freely available on the website and on the major channels, which have obtained important awards both in the scientific, cinematographic and technical fields (see list);
  • introduction to the concept of a visual code with which to represent invisible, not unknown, elements.

Editorial work and publications

[2019] Zoppè, Monica G. Improving Gender Diversity in ScienceIn #WeTooInScience - Sexual Harassment in Higher Education Institutions and Research Organizations, CNR-IRPPS e-Publishing 235–41. Rome, Italy.

[2019] Zoppè, M., Loni,T., Carlone,I., Cianchetta,S.. Making of The Dark Anim: Technical and Scientific Notes. In 2019 International Conference on Cyberworlds (CW), 45–52. Kyoto, Japan: IEEE, 2019

[2018]  Caudai, C., Salerno, E., Zoppè, M. and Tonazzini, A.  ChromStruct 4: A Python Code to Estimate the Chromatin Structure from Hi-C Data. IEEE/ACM Transactions on Computational Biology and Bioinformatics. 

[2017] Zoppè, M  Towards a perceptive understanding of cellular biology.  Nat Meth 14(7): 662-665 .

[2015] Zoppè, M  La sindrome dell’impostore: Non sono davvero brava come sembra. In: Scienza, genere e società. Prospettive di genere in una società che si evolve. S. Avveduto, M. L. Paciello, T. Arrigoni, C. Mangia, L. Martinelli (eds.). Roma: CNR-IRPPS e-Publishing. 

[2015] Zoppè, M. and Loni, T. The Representation of Electrostatics for Biological Molecules. In: W. Rocchia and M. Spagnuolo (eds.), Computational Electrostatics for Biological Applications, Springer International, Switzerland. 215-225.

[2014] Zoppè, M. Comunicare l’invisibile. La rappresentazione visiva di concetti biofisici / Communicating the Invisible. The Visual Representation of Biophysical Concepts. In: Scrittura e immagini nel dominio della scienza / Text and Image in the sicentific realm. A cura di/Edited by: R. Falcinelli, A. Filippini, G. Liberti, L. Perondi e L. Romei. Progetto Grafico, 25:50 

[2012] Andrei, R., Callieri, M., Zini, M.F., Loni, T., Maraziti, G. and Zoppè, M. Intuitive representation of surface properties of proteins using BioBlender. BMC Bioinformatics, 13(Suppl 4):S16

[2011] Zoppè, M. Vedere l'invisibile. Le Scienze – Italian version of Scientific American. Roma, 515: p. 64-9. 

Selection of VIDEO

[2015] The Dark Anim, (5', 23''). A description of the serotoninergic synapse, and its activity in the healthy and depressed states. With subtitles in English, French and Italian.

[2012] TSH receptor on Red Blood cells, 2011 (3', 48''). Thyrotropin is a hormone that elicit response from thyroid gland. However, its receptor is also found on the surface of red blood cells. After binding, the dimeric receptor splits into two subunits, each of which leaves the lipid raft to associate with other proteins of the cellular surface. 

[2010] PROTEIN EXPRESSIONS - Study N.3 (5', 01''). The video, also produced in 3D, is the final one in a series of tests in the development of BioBlender. It shows several moments of cellular life, from the surface to the cytoplasm and back to cell periphery and out. Watched >70.000 times (Vimeo statistics).

Awards and prizes

The video PROTEIN EXPRESSIONS- Study n.3  has been awarded in several occasions:

[2009] Suzanne Award of the  Blender Foundation, Amsterdam 2009

[2010] Prize of the Jury, at Melzo Film Festival, Milan. Italy. 2010

[2011] Selected as finalist at DogVille-Viladecan Film Festival, Barcelona, Spain. 2011

[2012], First prize.  NANOPLANET was awarded the First Prize in the  ‘Art&Science contest’ at BioPhysical Society meeting, San Francisco (CA. USA).

[2013]  The video The Challenge of HIV Research, reached the Fourth classification in the 'AutoPACK visualization contest’ by the Computer Graphics Society – Autodesk.

[2018] Invitation to the restricted Shonan Meeting on ‘Web Molecular Graphics: Emerging

Technologies & Standards’, Japan. 

Francesca Zoratto

STEM area: Biomedical sciences and biotechnology

Competences: behavioural neuroscience, ethology

Keywords: animal behaviour, basic research, collective anti-predator behaviours, gamble, human behaviour, preclinical research, predation, risk appetite

Region: Lazio


Research Scientist at the Centre for Behavioural Sciences and Mental Health, Istituto Superiore di Sanità (ISS), Rome 

Professional career

After graduating in Ecological Biology from the University of Parma in 2005, she continued her studies and in 2008 obtained a Master's degree in Ecology with a focus on Animal Behaviour at the same university. In 2013 she obtained a PhD in Ethology, Animal Ecology and Anthropology at the University of Florence. In 2014 she has a 14-month project research contract at the Ospedale Pediatrico Bambino Gesù (RM), research area "Multifactorial diseases and complex phenotypes", the following year she wins a Noopolis Foundation scholarship to work at the Department of Behavioural Neuroscience of the Department of Cell Biology and Neuroscience of the Istituto Superiore di Sanità, the same Department hosts her also the following year. In 2016 she won the "L'Oréal-UNESCO Prize for Women and Science", thanks to which she carried out research at the Institute of Cognitive Science and Technology of the CNR. Today she is a Researcher at the Reference Centre for Behavioural Sciences and Mental Health of the Istituto Superiore di Sanità (ISS).

Scientific results

Francesca Zoratto's research interests range from ethology, the study of animal behaviour, to understanding human behaviour. Her latest research project at the Cognitive Primatology Unit of the Institute of Cognitive Science and Technology (ISTC) of the CNR tests the social modulation of risk-taking in two different animal species, monkeys and rats. The main aim of this and other studies is to apply the findings in the field of ethology to human behaviour, specifically to the world of pathological gambling. Risk-taking is not unique to humans, and studying animal behaviour under the same conditions can help to better understand the psycho-biological mechanisms that underlie our addictions. Increasing knowledge in the field of human behaviour is intended to provide more insight to the medical community, but also to develop proposals for policy makers to devise more effective strategies in the prevention and treatment of pathological gambling.

Editorial work and publications

Francesca Zoratto has authored numerous papers in international peer-reviewed scientific journals.

Here below, a selection:

(2018)  Zoratto F., Sbriccoli M., Martinelli A., Glennon J.C., Macrì S., Laviola G. Intranasal oxytocin administration promotes emotional contagion and reduces aggression in a mouse model of callousness. Neuropharmacology, 143:250-267

(2018) Zoratto F., Oddi G., Gori E., Micucci A., De Petrillo F., Paglieri F., Adriani W., Laviola G, Addessi E. 2018. Social modulation of risky decision-making in rats (Rattus norvegicus) and tufted capuchin monkeys (Sapajus spp.). Behavioural Brain Research, 347:37-48.

(2018) Zoratto F., Cordeschi G., Grignani G., Bonanni R., Alleva E., Nascetti G., Mather J.A., Carere C. 2018. Variability in the “stereotyped” prey capture sequence of male cuttlefish (Sepia officinalis) could relate to personality differences. Animal Cognition, 21(6):773-785.

(2017) Zoratto F., Romano E., Pascale E., Pucci M., Falconi A., Dell’Osso B., Maccarrone M., Laviola G., D’Addario C., Adriani W. 2017. Down-regulation of serotonin and dopamine transporter genes in individual rats expressing a gambling-prone profile: a possible role for epigenetic mechanisms. Neuroscience, 340:101-116.

(2015) Canese R., Zoratto F., Altabella L., Porcari P., Mercurio L., De Pasquale F., Butti E., Martino G., Lacivita E., Leopoldo M., Laviola G., Adriani W. 2015. Persistent modification of forebrain networks and metabolism in rats following adolescent exposure to a 5-HT7 receptor agonist. Psychopharmacology, 232(1):75-89.

(2013) Zoratto F., Laviola G., Adriani W. 2013. Gambling proneness in rats during the transition from adolescence to young adulthood: a home-cage method. Neuropharmacology, 67:444-454.

(2012) Koot S., Zoratto F., Cassano T., Colangeli R., Laviola G., van den Bos R., Adriani W. 2012. Compromised decision-making and increased gambling proneness following dietary serotonin depletion in rats. Neuropharmacology, 62(4):1640-1650. 

(2010) Zoratto F., Carere C., Chiarotti F., Santucci D., Alleva E. 2010. Aerial hunting behaviour and predation success by peregrine falcons Falco peregrinus on starling flocks Sturnus vulgaris. Journal of Avian Biology, 41(4):427-433.

Awards and prizes

Francesca Zoratto has received numerous awards and recognitions for her academic career. In 2016 she received a L’ORÉAL-UNESCO For Women in Science 2016 Award from the “Fondation L’ORÉAL” in collaboration with L’ORÉAL Italia and the Italian National Commission for UNESCO.