Internationally Renowned Scientist Camillo Ricordi To be Honored at Ambassador’s Ball in Hollywood, FLA.


Contact:   Elissa Ruffino (NIAF) 202/939-3106 or

Camillo Ricordi(Washington, D.C. — March 6, 2008) Camillo Ricordi, M.D., professor of surgery and bioengineering, and director of the Diabetes Research Institute at the University of Miami, will receive a National Italian American Foundation’s (NIAF) Special Achievement Award in Medicine at the NIAF Ambassador’s Ball. The black-tie event will be held at the Westin Diplomat Resort and Spa in Hollywood, Fla., on April 4, 2008 and features a 7 p.m. reception followed by dinner. The evening is being hosted by Italy’s Ambassador to the United States, H.E. Giovanni Castellaneta, and Mrs. Lila Castellaneta.

Guido Barilla, President of the Barilla Group, the multinational food corporation and world’s leading pasta maker, will present the NIAF award to Dr. Ricordi. Other distinguished researchers who have received NIAF awards in the field of science include Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., Robert Charles Gallo, M.D., and Margaret J. Giannini, M.D.

“We are privileged to honor Dr. Ricordi, truly a Renaissance man who has seamlessly combined a life long passion for finding the cure for diabetes with a life long love of music in the great historic tradition of Casa Ricordi,” Arthur J. Furia, Esq. NIAF regional vice president for the Southeast, said.

Italy’s Consul General in Miami Marco Rocca, prominent Italian and Italian-American business executives, fashion designers and community leaders will attend NIAF Ambassador’s Ball. The evening will also showcase Florida’s vibrant international community. The ball will benefit the Foundation’s scholarship and education programs. Dr. Ricordi is a descendant of the founder of Casa Ricordi, the world’s most significant publisher and producer of opera, including Rossini, Bellini, Donizetti, Verdi and Puccini.

Internationally recognized as a leader in cell transplantation, Dr. Ricordi developed the procedure to extract the insulin producing cells from the human pancreas and was the first to successfully transplant insulin-producing cells for treatment of patients with diabetes. He began his career in medicine as a medical officer in the Italian Air Force. He later moved to Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, after receiving an NIH Research Trainee Award. In 1989, Dr. Ricordi became the Director of Cellular Transplantation at the University of Pittsburgh Transplant Institute. In 1992, he co-founded the National Diabetes Research Coalition. After four years in Pittsburgh, Dr. Ricordi accepted a position as Professor at the University of Miami School of Medicine where he continues his work today.

After inventing new procedures and technologies in the search for a cure of diabetes, Dr. Ricordi received numerous awards, including the 2001 Nessim Habif World Prize of Surgery from the University of Geneva. He also received the 2002 Outstanding Scientific Achievement Award and delivered the Lilly Lecture at the 2002 Congress of the American Diabetes Association. Dr. Ricordi has authored more than 500 scientific publications, nine patents and founded three biotechnology companies at the University of Miami.

Among his appointments in Italy, Dr. Ricordi serves as President of the Mediterranean Institute for Transplantation and Highly Specialized Therapies (ISMETT) in Palermo.

To purchase tickets, contact Carolyn Laurenzano at 202/939-3114 or

The National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) is a non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C., dedicated to preserving the heritage of Italian Americans. Visit our Web site at