I would first like to thank you for tonight’s recognition. As you may know, I have been the recipient of numerous awards over the years of my career, but coming from my fellow Italian Americans is especially meaningful for me.
As we know very well, family is the bedrock of Italian culture. Each of us has a story of how the family has been critical to our success in one way or another. My story is no different. My parents Giovan Giacomo and Maria Teresa were completely dedicated to my education and career trajectory. My earliest memories involve accompanying my father, one of the foremost Clinical Pathologists and Cancer Researchers in Italy, to his Institute. I was from the start fascinated by the quiet intensity of the laboratory environment, a setting in which I would spend many years of my life and career.
As a young Italian Post Doc at Cold Spring Harbor, I quickly learned the competitive nature of the scientific research business in America and the challenges for a young immigrant to succeed in that environment. I was honored and fortunate to have as a director the James Watson Nobel prize in medicine for the co-discovering of the DNA structure who became critical to my career path as I led a research project on cell cycle paving the road that lead to the most successful drugs in cancer research and later in the discovery of the Rb2/p130 the tumor suppressor gene and CDK9, CDK10 all of them are considered major guardians of our genome.
From the lessons of that experience and my subsequent tenured appointment at Temple University, I pledged to create a laboratory of my own and in 1992, the Sbarro Health Research Organization was born through the great generosity of Mario Sbarro and family and a long-term research agreement with Temple University. Mario to this day serves on the board of SHRO. Also, Mr. Andrew Douglas today with us here is a generous and fantastic member of the SHRO board of directors.
Today SHRO is comprised of a network of 200 affiliated scientists with labs in Philadelphia, Siena, and programs in Mercogliano-Avellino, Naples, Catania, and Palermo; the work developed by our organization was recently ranked among the top research of international labs, based on citations in leading scientific journals.
Very importantly we have sponsored some 150 grads and Ph.D. students as well Post Docs, all from Italy, who have gained valuable lab experience through the SHRO system in the US and Italy where we support a joint Ph.D. program between Temple and the University of Siena and have maintained an SHRO genetic research lab since 2006. In addition, the SHRO Professional Master Program in Biotechnology at Temple's CST is one of the nation's first industry-aligned graduate programs affording students hands-on research and practicums with market leaders in the biotech and biopharma sectors.
The SHRO methodology of exposing young Italian minds to highly innovative research and technology platforms which are the hallmark of American Science is helping to produce a generation of new thinkers, researchers, and practitioners in the range of scientific endeavors which will be critical to the advancement human health science in the US. Italy and the world in the years ahead.
This for me has been the proudest of my achievements here in America and in Italy: mentorship of a new generation of scientific leaders in whose capable hands I hope to pass on the legacy of SHRO for generations to come.
I would like to thank you all for your continued support and encouragement and for honoring me with this award. I will strive to merit the respect and confidence you have placed in me and will continue to dedicate myself along with my team, to the eradication of cancer in our lifetimes.