Gianmartino Benzi was born in Alessandria on 22nd March 1931. Those who knew him in his youth remember him as a lively figure, full of enthusiasm and especially passionate about the defense of human and civil rights and justice, a characteristic which stayed with him throughout his life. He is also remembered for his wide range of interests, from his studies at music college to boxing, both considered first rate character building experiences and an excellent lesson in life.
He graduated in Medicine and Surgery with full marks from the University of Pavia in 1955, and went on to qualify as a university lecturer in Pharmacology in 1965 and in Toxicology in 1968.
Professor Benzi pursued his scientific career at the same university where he had graduated. He became a full professor and Director of the Institute of Pharmacology in 1974 while continuing to collaborate closely with international institutions in countries such as France, the UK and the US. In pharmacological circles, he was an indisputable leader and was at the avant-garde of national and international research into cerebral and muscular bioenergetics, and the neurobiology and neuropathology of cerebral aging, the study of which is still at the forefront of the work of the Pavia School of Pharmacology of the Faculty of Science. From 1988 to 2000 he was Chairman of the degree course in Biological Sciences of the University of Pavia, nurturing its development with the same passion with which he faced and overcame the difficulties met on the way.
He published numerous articles for mainly international scientific journals which demonstrated his strong interdisciplinary approach. This was made possible by his direct medical and pharmacological expertise, but also showed how deep was his understanding of physics, mathematics and biochemistry. The biomolecular and biophysical processes related to cerebral and molecular energy transduction formed the basis of his work.