Mauro Ferrari

Mauro Ferrari
Born (1959-07-07) 7 July 1959 (age 64)
Padova, Italy
NationalityItaly, United States
Alma mater
Known for
Spouse
Paola Ferrari
(m. 1995)
Childrenfive
Awards
Scientific career
FieldsNanomedicine
Institutions
Websitewww.houstonmethodist.org/research/our-faculty/labs/ferrari-lab/

Mauro Ferrari (born 7 July 1959) is a nanoscientist and leader in the field of nanomedicine. He served as special expert on nanotechnology for the National Cancer Institute (2003-2005) and was instrumental in establishing the Alliance for Nanotechnology in Cancer in 2004. On 1 January 2020, Ferrari was made president of the European Research Council (ERC). Following a vote of no confidence, on 27 March 2020, "all 19 active members of the ERC’s Scientific Council individually and unanimously requested that Mauro Ferrari resign from his position as ERC’s President", due to poor conduct in office, exploiting the position to further his own projects, and for consistently failing to represent the interests of the ERC. On 7 April 2020, Ferrari officially resigned, stating to the media that he was "extremely disappointed by the European response” to the pandemic and expressing frustration over opposition to his efforts to launch a scientific program to combat the virus.

Early life and education

Ferrari was born in Padova, Italy in 1959. He spent his early years in Udine and Florence before attending the University of Padova and earning his Laurea in Mathematics in 1985. He moved to Berkeley, California where he earned his master's and doctorate in mechanical engineering from the University of California Berkeley.

Career

Professor of Engineering

Ferrari became an associate professor of engineering at Berkeley, then moved to the Ohio State University as professor of bioengineering, internal medicine, and mechanical engineering. He studied medicine at the Ohio State University concurrent with his faculty appointment from 2002-2004.

Cancer research

He moved to the MD Anderson Cancer Center and University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, TX to become the chair of the department of nanomedicine and biomedical engineering, and then in 2010 accepted the position of president and CEO of the Houston Methodist Research Institute in Houston, TX. Ferrari was appointed as Chief Commercialization Officer of Houston Methodist in 2018, and retired in 2019.[citation needed]

ERC President (2020)

In 2019, the European Commission appointed Ferrari as the next President of the European Research Council (ERC), succeeding Jean-Pierre Bourguignon; he was selected by a search committee chaired by Mario Monti. He took the post on 1 January 2020.

Ferrari resigned in 7 April 2020, citing his disappointment at the lack of coordinated EU action to address the COVID-19 pandemic. Ferrari was not alone in his criticism of the EU response to COVID-19. The ERC countered that calling for specific research was contrary to their mandate. According to Science Magazine, "ERC, set up to reward bottom-up basic research ideas, does not designate money for specific research areas....Other EU organ[ization]s can and do pay for research in particular fields, including COVID-19, but ERC is designed to protect science from politics. Ferrari writes that 'the expected burden of death, suffering, societal transformation, and economic devastation' of the pandemic justifies breaking this rule." The ERC responded on 8 April 2020: "...we regret Professor Ferrari's statement, which at best is economical with the truth." The ERC stated that Ferrari's "resignation in fact followed a written unanimous vote of no confidence”. They cited "a complete lack of appreciation for the raison-d’être of the ERC", "a lack of engagement with the ERC", with Ferrari "failing to participate in many important meetings, spending extensive time in the USA and failing to defend the ERC’s programme and mission," making "several personal initiatives within the Commission" without consulting the ERC, and being "involved in multiple external enterprises, some academic and some commercial, which took a lot of his time and effort and appeared on several occasions to take precedence over his commitment to ERC." Ferrari disputed the ERC claims of his failing to meet his obligations and their accusations of inappropriate outside involvements. In the months following Ferrari's resignation, the EU itself debated whether some funding of the ERC should include some focused research on COVID-19; which is what Ferrari advocated and the ERC adamantly opposed.

Other activities

Corporate boards

  • AMBER, Member of the Scientific Advisory Board
  • Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals, Member of the Board of Directors (2010–present)
  • Dead Sea Research Institute, President of the int'l board of governors
  • Leonardo Biosystems, Member of the Board of Directors
  • NanoMedical Systems, Member of the Board of Directors

Non-profit organizations

Research interests

Ferrari's research uses nanotechnology, microtechnology, physical sciences, mathematics, biomechanics, and material sciences to develop new technologies for health care applications like drug delivery and cancer therapeutics. He leads a physical sciences in oncology center, one of a network of centers sponsored by the National Institutes of Health National Cancer Center. The research of this center focuses on understanding the physical and biomechanical biological barriers that reduce the efficacy of cancer therapeutics. He developed a new drug called iNPG-pDox, composed of silicon nanoparticles loaded with polymeric doxorubicin, that had better results at lower doses in animal models compared to standard doxorubicin chemotherapy for metastatic breast cancer.

Published works

Ferrari has produced more than 350 publications, including seven books and 41 issued patents in the US and Europe. In June 2020, Ferrari and his lab colleagues had a publication retracted from Science Advances Journal due to various image duplications suggesting possible scientific misconduct.

Books

  • Ferrari M, Granik VT, Imam A, Nadeau J, editors. Advances in Doublet Mechanics. Lecture Notes in Physics, New Series M: Monographs, vol. m 45. Berlin, Heidelberg, New York: Springer Verlag; 1997. ISBN 978-3-540-49636-6
  • Ferrari M. Micro- and Nanofabricated Electro-Optical Mechanical Systems for Biomedical and Environmental Applications. SPIE, The International Society for Optical Engineering; 1999 Jan. ISBN 9780819423894
  • Lee A, Lee J, Ferrari M, editors. BioMEMS and Biomedical Nanotechnology. Vol I: Biological and Biomedical Nanotechnology. Springer. 2006. ISBN 978-0-387-25842-3
  • Ozkan M, Heller M, Ferrari M, editors. BioMEMS and Biomedical Nanotechnology. Vol II: Micro/Nanotechnologies for Genomics and Proteomics. Springer. 2006. ISBN 978-0387255644
  • Desai T, Bhatia SN, Ferrari M, editors. BioMEMS and Biomedical Nanotechnology. Vol III: Therapeutic Micro/Nanotechnologies. Springer. 2006. ISBN 978-1850758600
  • Bashir R, Werely S, Ferrari M, editors. BioMEMS and Biomedical Nanotechnology. Vol IV: Biomolecular Sensing, Processing, and Analysis. Springer. 2006. ISBN 978-0387255668
  • Cristini V, Ferrari M, Decuzzi P, editors. Nanoparticulate Delivery to Cancerous Lesions: Advances in Mathematical Modeling. Ferrari M, series editor. Fundamental Biomedical Technologies. Vol. 2. Springer. April 2010. ISBN 978-0387290850

Journal articles

Patents

  • WO application 201517777, Fine D, Grattoni A, Ferrari M, Liu X, Goodall R, Hosali S, "Therapeutic microdevices and methods of making and using same", published 2015
  • US patent 8926994, Ferrari M, Serda R, Meraz IM, Gu J, Xia X, Shen H, Sun T, "Mesoporous silicon particles for the presentation of tumor antigens and adjuvant for anti-cancer immunity", published 2015
  • US patent 8685755, Ferrari M, Tasciotti E, Liu X, Bouamrani A, Hu Y, "Combinational multidomain mesoporous chips and a method for fractionation, stabilization, and storage of biomolecules", published 2014
  • US patent 8753897, Ferrari M, Cheng MM-C, Cuda G, Gaspari M, Geho D, Liotta L, Petricoin E, Robertson F, Terracciano R, "Nanoporous substrates for the [sic] analytical methods", published 2014
  • US patent 8920625, Ferrari M, Liu X, Cheng MC, "Electrochemical method of making porous particles using a constant current density", published 2014
  • US patent 8361508, Decuzzi P, Ferrari M, "Endocytotic Particles", published 2013
  • US patent 8480637, Ferrari M, Liu X, Grattoni, Fine D, Goodall R, Hosali S, Medema R, Hudson L, "Nanochanneled device and related methods", published 2013
  • US patent 8563022, Decuzzi P, Ferrari M, "Particles for cell targeting", published 2013
  • US patent 8568877, Ferrari M, Liu X, Chiappini C, Fakhoury JR, "Porous and non-porous nanostructures", published 2013
  • US patent 8173115, Ferrari M, Decuzzi P, "Particle compositions with a pre-selected cell internalization mode", published 2012
  • US patent 7993271, Liu J, Ferrari M, Rokhlin SI, Sedmark DD, "System and method for screening tissue", published 2011
  • US patent 6355270, Ferrari M, Dehlinger PJ, Martin FJ, Grove CF, Friend DR, "Particles for oral delivery of peptides and proteins", published 2002
  • US patent 6405066, Essenpreis M, Desai TA, Ferrari M, Hansford DJ, "Implantable analyte sensor", published 2002
  • US patent 6015559, Keller CG, Ferrari M, "High vertical aspect ratio thin film structures", published 2000
  • US patent 6044981, Chu WH, Ferrari M, "Microfabricated filter with specially constructed channel walls and containment well, and capsule constructed with such filters [II]", published 2000
  • US patent 6107102, Ferrari M, "Therapeutic microdevices and methods of making and using same", published 2000
  • US patent 5985164, Chu WH, Ferrari M, "Method for forming a filter", published 1999
  • US patent 5893974, Keller CG, Ferrari M, "Microfabricated capsules for immunological isolation of cell transplants", published 1999
  • US patent 5938923, Tu J, Ferrari M, "Microfabricated filter and capsule using a substrate sandwich", published 1999
  • US patent 5948255, Keller CG, Ferrari M, "Microfabricated particle thin film filter and method of making it", published 1999
  • US patent 5985328, Chu WH, Ferrari M, "Micromachined porous membranes with bulk support [II]", published 1999
  • US patent 5770076, Chu WH, Ferrari M, "Micromachined capsules having porous membranes and bulk supports [I]", published 1998
  • US patent 5798042, Chu WH, Ferrari M, "Microfabricated filter with specially constructed channel walls and containment well, and capsule constructed with such filters [I]", published 1998

Honors, decorations, awards and distinctions

Personal life

Ferrari met and married his first wife Marialuisa while they were both students at the University of Padova, and they moved to Berkeley, California. While he was faculty at the University of California Berkeley, Marialuisa died from cancer. Ferrari married Paola Del Zotto from Udine, Italy in 1995. He has five children, including two sets of twins.


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