Mauro Ferrari, the Italian scientist chosen by the United States of America to fight cancer
«The private events showed me a road and gave a sense of continuity of life, the imponderable mystery of existence. The miracles do exist but have to be viewed with eyes that can recognized the things that happen to us».
Yes, because it was fate pushing Mauro Ferrari to become the scientist that the whole world envies.
Ferrari Mauro, President and CEO of Methodist Hospital Research Institute in Houston, Texas, one of the leading medical research centers in the United States, is considered one of the world’s leading experts in nanotechnology applied to oncology and diabetes. The only Italian of the team of scientists convened by the U.S. government, with an invitation to direct the new program on Nanotechnology oncology of the National Cancer Institute of Bethesda, in Washington. With a budget of over a billion dollars for five years, the program seeks to increase the final defeat of cancer by the year 2015. Ferrari will bring all his knowledge in nanotechnology, to transform research results in a benefit of a large portion of the community. In Mauro Ferrari there is all the gratitude towards a country that welcomed him as “Italian brain drain” and that sees him now as the protagonist of scientific research. However, Ferrari consideres a privilege to be born in Italy and studying in Italy.
Born in Padua in 1959, Ferrari had in fact graduated in Mathematics in his hometown in 1985. Soon after he received the award of a scholarship and transferred himself at the University of California at Berkeley, where he earned a Master in 1987. There the brilliant mathematician took his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering and with the Ph.D. in his pocket, in 1989, he returned to Italy to fill the role of researcher. After only two years it would have been the same University of Berkeley, to call him as first assistant (1990-95) and then associate professor (1996-99) at the University of California at Berkeley in Materials Science and Engineering, and Civil Engineering. During the years 2000-2006 Ferrari was Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Internal Medicine, and director of the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Ohio State University. At the same time (2003-2005) he was Special Advisor Eminent Scholar at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, where he directed the program’s launch in U.S. federal nanotechnology applied to cancer. During the years 2006-2010 he was at the University of Texas as professor of internal medicine and director of the Department of Nanomedicine (School of Medicine, University of Texas Health Science Center – Houston, Professor of Experimental Therapy (University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center), and Adjunct Professor of Biomedical Engineering (University of Texas at Austin).
Mauro Ferrari published over 230 archival journals, with 26 covers (three Nature), and 7 books. Over 30 issued patents in US and internationally. The scientist has developed a biocapsula, BioMEMS for cellular transplants to prevent rejection of the immune system: “vehicles” of infinitesimal size antitumor built in silicon and able to detect the tumor carrying in the body the substances capable of attacking and destroying without damaging healthy organs. The entire production of his scientific nanomedicine laboratory uses nanotecnology for manufacturing of silicon, on which he has obtained dozens of patents. The BioMEMS themselves were born from the encounter between electronics and mechanical engineering, and therefore it is not a surprise that on the 3rd of October the Minister Francesco Profumo, signed the honorary degree in Electronic Engineering to Mauro Ferrari, on request of Patrizia Livreri, professor at University of Palermo. Ferrari will receive the Laurea Honoris Causa on the 13th of December of this year.
«As researchers, we have all the ethical and moral responsibility to do everything we can to defeat cancer and eradicate the human disease».
There is perhaps a hint of presumption in one of his famous phrase «Our goal is to change the future», but luckily for Italy and science, Super Mauro, as he is called by friends and colleagues, is really making a difference the future of the fight against cancer.