Imperial College London

School of Public Health Professors given Italian honours at ceremony in London


Professors Paolo Vineis and Elio Riboli with the Italian Ambassador Raffaele Trombetta

Professor Paolo Vineis, Italian Ambassador Raffaele Trombetta and Professor Elio Riboli (from left to right)

Professor Elio Riboli and Professor Paolo Vineis were presented with Order of the Star of Italy honours at the Italian Embassy in London.

A joint ceremony was held at the Italian Embassy in London where Ambassador Raffaele Trombetta, on behalf of the President of Italy, presented Professor Elio Riboli and Professor Paolo Vineis with their honours.

Professor Elio Riboli was made an Officer of the Order of the Star of Italy and Professor Paolo Vines was made a Knight of the Order of the Star of Italy. The decorations recognise their work to promote British-Italian relations in science, university teaching and research.

Professor Elio Riboli is Chair in Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention at the School of Public Health where he was Director for 11 years. Professor Riboli is an acclaimed expert in epidemiology, cancer prevention and chronic illnesses. He is a member of the British Academy of Medical Sciences and an honourary member of the College of Public Health of the Royal College of Physicians.

Professor Elio Riboli receiving his honour from the Italian Ambassador

In his speech Professor Elio Riboli thanked the Institutions where has had the privilege to work, from the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (Lyon, France) and the School of Public Health at Imperial College London and more recently Humanitas University in Milan for the opportunities he has been given to develop his research on the environmental, behavioural, genetic and metabolic causes of cancer and chronic diseases. He emphasised the importance of translating the knowledge on cancer prevention and health promotion into the social-economical dimension, with a particular focus on social inequalities and inequity that so greatly weigh on the more disadvantaged sectors of the world’s population.

Professor Paolo Vineis is Chair in Environmental Epidemiology at Imperial College London and leads the Exposome and Health theme of the MRC-PHE Centre for Environment and Health. He is an international expert on the effects of climate change on non-transmissible diseases and exposomics. Professor Vineis is also an Associate Professor at the J. Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University and Head of the Unit of Genetic and Molecular Epidemiology at the Italian Institute for Genomic Medicine.

Professor Paolo Vineis receiving his honour from the Italian Ambassador

Professor Vineis said, in his speech, that he is grateful to Italy and the UK for the opportunities they offered him to develop his research goals. He remembered the strong links between the two nations, for example through the establishment of similar National Health Services. He stressed that there is a massive migration of bright young minds from Italy to other countries and, while this in itself is a positive phenomenon as sciences has no borders, migration from the country should concern Italy about its future more than migration into the country.

Italian ambassador Raffaele Trombetta said: “The international collaborations that Professors Elio Riboli and Paolo Vineis have promoted in Epidemiology and public health studies have contributed to support scientific exchanges and researcher mobility. Moreover, their work has provided the ideal platform for Italian and British institutions to play an even greater role in such fields at international level.”


Jack Stewart

Jack Stewart
School of Public Health

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