Ambasciata d'Italia - Washington D.C., STATI UNITI D'AMERICA

11/29/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 11/30/2021 09:57


On December 9, ISSNAF's annual virtual event will assign awards in five categories


This year, the focus is on "green" topics, as well as on a new award for innovation in the study of Italian culture. The Lifetime Achievement Award goes to Silvio Micali, professor at Boston's MIT and among the world's leading experts in cryptography and blockchains.

They develop artificial intelligence systems to fight climate change, build robots for the next NASA missions and look for new ways to cure leukemia. Furthermore, they create infrastructures to bring the Internet to the most disadvantaged communities, and convey, from original and innovative perspectives, Italy's culture, language, literature and cinema, to young people overseas. These are the 15 finalists of the eleventh edition of the Young Investigator Awards assigned by ISSNAF, the foundation that brings together thousands of Italian scientists and academics working in laboratories, universities and research centers in North America.

The winners will be announced during ISSNAF's annual event, which will be held on December 9, 2021, in a virtual format (registration link), in collaboration with the Embassy of Italy in Washington, and under the High Patronage of the President of the Republic. This edition's new features include a focus on global sustainability matters, the subject of the Embassy of Italy award which will be discussed at a dedicated round table, as well as the introduction of a new category on excellence in research on Italian culture, created in partnership with RnB4Culture, a Milanese startup active in the Art Tech sector. The awards are thus now five: the Embassy of Italy Award for researchers working on issues related to sustainability in the field of materials, energy and industrial processes; the Paola Campese Award for research on leukemia; the Franco Strazzabosco Award for engineering, the Mario Gerla Award for research in computer science and the RnB4Culture Award for innovation in studies on Italian culture. The 2021 Lifetime Achievement awardee is Silvio Micali, professor of computer science at the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) at Boston's MIT, founder of Algorand and one of the world's leading experts in cryptography and blockchains.

"The five finalists for the Italian Scientists and Scholars in North America Foundation (ISSNAF) awards are young Italian researchers and scientists who stand out in the United States for their courage, commitment, and ability to innovate: we are proud of all of them and grateful to ISSNAF for recognizing their work," said the Italian Ambassador to the United States Mariangela Zappia. "It is particularly significant that the awards are dedicated to sustainability, health, engineering, computer science and culture, because these are areas in which Italy excels in the U.S., and indeed the rest of the world," she added.

The awards to young researchers and the annual event are the capstone of a year of ISSNAF strengthening and growth. In 2021, the Foundation reinforced ties with Italy via a series of agreements (including with the University of Pisa, the Collegio Ghislieri of Pavia and the Polytechnic of Turin) on mentoring and work/study experiences for young Italian researchers and students at research centers in North America, starting in 2022.

"This year, the level of the projects presented by our award candidates was once again outstanding," commented ISSNAF President Cinzia Zuffada. "In recent weeks, finalists presented their work to juries composed of leading figures from American and Italian academia in a series of virtual symposia open to the public, which were also attended by award sponsors in order to meet, in person, the young researchers whose work embodies the spirit of their philanthropic choice as well as ISSNAF's mission. It is interesting to see," she added, "that some of the finalists come from research groups led by previous finalists and awardees, which speaks clearly to the value of our network."

"The connection between industry and research, wherever it is in the world, is key, and it is particularly so in the United States, a country of absolute excellence in all these areas," declared the president and RnB4Culture CEO of Fabrizio Renzi. "In my case, after working for 29 years in one of the leading American multinationals, I decided to found a group whose name bears the exact reference to this link: RnB - "Research and Business". We are honored to collaborate with ISSNAF over this unprecedented award dedicated to the world of culture, the driving engine, for a country like Italy, of economic and social development. In light of this, the role of young people and the crucial contribution they provide, both in Italy and in the USA, is of pivotal importance".

Young Investigator Awards: the finalists

Embassy of Italy Award

Marco Giometto, from Vicenza, Italy, is the Director of the Environmental Fluid Dynamics Laboratory at Columbia University, where he works to create predictive models for the cities of the future, focusing on green urban planning. Matteo Muratori, from Milan, works at the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) in Golden (Colorado) and is Chief Analyst for Sustainable Transportation at the Department of Energy. He studies the best technologies and solutions to achieve a sustainable energy transition in the transport sector, and to predict its impact on the rest of the global energy system. Marco Pritoni, originally from Carpi (Mo), works at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory: his research aims to find ways to make buildings capable of intelligently managing energy resources.

RnB4Culture Award

Laura Di Bianco, a Roman professor at Johns Hopkins University, investigates the cinema of contemporary Italian women directors and relates it to the landscape and environmental crises in today's cities. Giulia Riccò, originally from Vignola in the province of Modena, is an Italianist and lecturer at the University of Michigan, where she studies the birth of Italian identity in the communities that emigrated to Latin America. Ilaria Tabusso Marcyan, from Rome, is a visiting assistant professor at Miami University in Oxford (Ohio), where she studies Italian food and farming culture as a model for sustainable development.

Paola Campese Award

Christian Marinaccio, originally from Bari, is a post-doctoral fellow at Harvard Medical School investigating the genetic causes of myeloproliferative diseases that progress to acute myeloid leukemia. Daniele Simoneschi, from Rome, is a Research Assistant Professor at the NYU Grossman School of Medicine, where he studies an enzyme that can prevent the hyper-proliferation of cells that leads to tumor formation. Luca Tottone from Teramo, Italy, works at the Rutgers Cancer Institute in New Jersey where he investigates the role of so-called "junk DNA" in the birth and proliferation of blood cancers.

Mario Gerla Award

Ferdinando Fioretto, originally from San Severo in Puglia, Italy, is a professor at Syracuse University, where he applies artificial intelligence to improve large-scale infrastructures, such as those for electricity distribution, to avoid waste and reduce environmental impact. Filippo Malandra, from Chieti, is a Research Assistant Professor at the University at Buffalo, where he works on a federal project to build a low-cost infrastructure that conveys high-speed Internet to disadvantaged communities. Sara Rampazzi, from Pavia, studies the security of cyber-physical systems, as well as the modeling and simulation of security applications for healthcare and the automotive sector (such as self-driving vehicles) at the University of Florida.

Franco Strazzabosco Award

Francesco Monticone, from Novara, is an electronic engineer and professor at Cornell University and studies photons and metamaterials, those materials that do not exist in nature but can be designed on a micro- and nano-scale. Federico Rossi, born in Cardano al Campo (near Varese) is a researcher at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena where he designs new robots that can work in teams and will be used in the next NASA missions. Bartolomeo Stellato, from Cremona, works on mathematical optimization applied to intelligent systems, such as transportation networks, financial markets and robots at Princeton University.

ISSNAF Annual Event: the program

The ISSNAF Annual Event, which this year will be once again held online, will open at 12:00 EST (6:00 PM in Italy) with a welcome address by Ambassador Mariangela Zappia and ISSNAF President Cinzia Zuffada. Alberto Salleo, Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at Stanford and member of the ISSNAF Board, will present the Lifetime Achievement Award to Prof. Silvio Micali, who will deliver a short lecture. After this, the Young Investigator Awards will be presented, and winners announced. The respective Award Chairs and ISSNAF Scientific Council members will present each award, namely Professors: Riccardo Dalla-Favera (Columbia), for the Paola Campese Award; Marcello Romano (Naval Postgraduate School), for the Franco Strazzabosco Award; Elisa Bertino (Purdue University), for the Mario Gerla Award; Daniela Barile (University of California at Davis), for the Embassy of Italy Award; and Claudio Fogu (University of California at Santa Barbara) for the Rnb4Culture Award.

The second part of the program will follow a brief break, and include a round table on "Food System Transformation for Global Sustainability", to be chaired by Prof. Fiorenza Micheli (Stanford), Prof. Amilcare Porporato (Princeton) and Sara Roversi (Future Foods) and moderated by Federico Rampini (reporter for the Corriere della Sera).

ISSNAF - Italian Scientists and Scholars in North America Foundation

Founded in 2007 under the auspices of the Italian Embassy in Washington DC by 36 prominent Italian scientists and scholars in North America, among them four Nobel Prize recipients, ISSNAF is a non-profit organization that promotes cooperation in science, academia and technology between Italian researchers and scholars working in North America and the world of pure and applied research in Italy. With over 3,000 affiliates, ISSNAF represents the Italian intellectual diaspora in North America, and is as a bridge connecting the two sides of the Atlantic, enabling the sharing and enhancement of a priceless heritage of knowledge and identity. In its activities, ISSNAF collaborates with other organizations and foundations, institutions and government agencies, including the Italian Embassy, the Consular network and the Italian Cultural Institutes in the United States and Canada.

ISSNAF annual event registration link

Full details at:www.issnaf.orgSSNAF

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