Giulio Superti-Furga Director of the Ri.MED Foundation and of the BRBC

Giulio Superti-Furga Director of the Ri.MED Foundation and of the BRBC | UPMC Italy

Fondazione Ri.MED: Giulio Superti-Furga Appointed Scientific Director and Director of the Biomedical Research and Biotechnology Center

Palermo, 10 October 2023 – Fondazione Ri.MED and UPMC (University of Pittsburgh Medical Center) announce the appointment of Prof. Giulio Superti-Furga, Ph.D., as the Scientific Director of the Foundation and the Director of the Biomedical and Biotechnology Center (BRBC), which is under construction in Carini, just a few kilometers from the Palermo airport. The selection is the result of an international search among highly qualified candidates in the fields of science and management.

Fondazione Ri.MED conducts translational research activities in the fields of regenerative medicine, immunotherapy, bioengineering, drug development, and vaccine research, leveraging advanced technological platforms such as structural biology, radiomics, proteomics, screening, data analysis, and more. It employs dozens of researchers, the majority of whom are of Sicilian origin, many returning from international experiences, with a strong representation of women. It actively collaborates with IRCCS ISMETT-UPMC to establish an integrated research and care cluster.

Scheduled for completion in 2025, the BRBC will be managed by UPMC, and its primary objective is to swiftly translate cutting-edge biomedical and biotechnological research into clinical practices and innovative products.

Superti-Furga, a renowned molecular biologist, currently heads the Center for Molecular Medicine (CeMM) at the Austrian Academy of Sciences. In his new role, he will help to align Ri.MED's ongoing research priorities with future expansions and provide guidance for the launch of the BRBC. Until the opening of the new center, Superti-Furga will continue to lead CeMM in Vienna, a role that will enable him to foster scientific collaborations and multidisciplinary projects between the two institutions, with a particular focus on therapeutic areas such as oncology, immune disorders, and aging-related diseases.

With an international team of over 300 scientists and physicians and several successful company spin-offs, CeMM is considered one of Europe's premier life sciences institutes. It participates in EU-LIFE, the international network of research institutes aimed at strengthening European research excellence. Through Superti-Furga’s involvement, Fondazione Ri.MED will gain access to this extensive and high-profile European research network. Coupled with UPMC’s academic strength and multinational clinical presence, this connection will further enhance the potential for the BRBC’s success and research funding access.

“I am extremely pleased to apply my experience in managing and organizing cutting-edge research institutions to an international project of this magnitude,” says Giulio Superti-Furga. According to him, already the geographical and historical center of the Mediterranean, Sicily has the potential to become a major hub of scientific innovation. That's why part of our research strategy will focus on fostering a dense network of international cooperation.”

“The Italian Government established Fondazione Ri.MED to provide a strong impetus to scientific research in Southern Italy, particularly in Sicily, promoting development and innovation for the region,” says Paolo Aquilanti, President of Fondazione Ri.MED. Thanks to the dedication of the researchers already active in Ri.MED, who find in Palermo a qualifying professional opportunity, the Foundation has achieved significant milestones in recent years. This experience will now be enriched by the leadership entrusted to Prof. Superti-Furga, an esteemed Italian scientist who, after a long period of responsibility in biomedical research abroad, has decided to dedicate a significant part of his professional future to Fondazione Ri.MED and its Research Center in Palermo. It is a confirmation of the value already demonstrated by Ri.MED researchers, which will be enhanced and developed in the new Research Center.”

Prof. Giulio Superti-Furga, Ph.D.

Timothy R. Billiar, Chief Scientific Officer of UPMC and Associate Senior Vice Chancellor for Clinical Academics at the University of Pittsburgh, added, “Prof. Superti-Furga is an exceptional leader, scientist, and biotech innovator who will help us turn our vision for the BRBC into a reality. This unique facility, the result of our successful public-private partnership in Sicily, promises to become a beacon of hope for the patients whose lives will be touched by its groundbreaking research and an engine of economic growth for the entire region.”

“Welcoming Prof. Superti-Furga marks an essential milestone to realize our vision for the BRBC,” said Chuck Bogosta, President, UPMC International, and Executive Vice President of UPMC. “Cutting-edge scientific research will be rapidly translated into new medical discoveries and innovative clinical practice that can be implemented around the world.”

Heinz Faßmann, President of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, congratulated, said, “The Austrian Academy of Sciences is proud that the success of CeMM and Giulio Superti-Furga's exceptional expertise and personality are recognized internationally. The Ri.MED center will allow Sicily to take a leadership position in the research and development of drugs, vaccines, and medical devices, and new collaborations will emerge in the interest of medical research.”