Gianni Benzi has represented a unique figure of a scientist who was passionate about sport. He had a key role in the international scientific debate in the field of cerebral and muscular bioenergetics and neurobiology. He made a significant contribution … Continued

Gianni Benzi has represented a unique figure of a scientist who was passionate about sport. He had a key role in the international scientific debate in the field of cerebral and muscular bioenergetics and neurobiology. He made a significant contribution to the set up of an ‘European Pharmaceutical System’ based on innovation and safety use of medicines. He committed himself to implement at National Level the aims and the contents of the European Pharmaceutical System and funded the first interdisciplinary and international Regulatory Science School in Europe.

 


Profile

Gianmartino Benzi was born in Alessandria on the 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 as an excellent school of life and character.

He graduated in Medicine and Surgery with full marks at the University of Pavia in 1955, and later, in 1965, he obtained the lecturing post in Pharmacology and in Toxicology in 1968.

At the same University, in 1974 he became Full Professor and Director of the Institute of Pharmacology, while continuing to closely collaborate with international institutions in France, UK and US.

He was an indisputable leader in pharmacological circles, both at national and international level, in the field of cerebral and muscular bioenergetics, neurobiology and neuropathology of cerebral aging, that have characterised and still characterise the Pavia School of Pharmacology of the Faculty of Science.

He published numerous articles for mainly international scientific journals which demonstrated his strong interdisciplinary approach. This was made possible thanks to his direct medical and pharmacological expertise, as well as physics, mathematics and biochemistry.

Parallel to university studies, there were also the first systematic studies on the misuse and abuse of drugs in sport, which continued throughout his scientific and professional activity. Starting from the 70s-80s, he cooperated with the FIDAL (Italian Federation of Athletics), whereof he founded the ‘Centro Studi e Ricerche’ becoming its Scientific Director.

Later, he joined the first and second CONI Anti-Doping Scientific Committee, where he played a fundamental and authoritative “regulatory” and scientific role.

From 1998 until his last days, he supported the activities of the Turin Public Prosecutor’s Office as a Consultant, in the context of important investigations and actions against doping, always continuing his fight against the use of performance-enhancing drugs in sport and in general of the misuse of drugs.

In November 2006, coinciding with the fatal development of his disease, he was appointed as member of the WADA Medical Committee (World Anti- Doping Agency) TUE (Therapeutic Use Exemptions) Working Group where, unfortunately, he was not able to provide the contribution of his experience and his humanity.

The “regulatory” activity began in Europe from 1989 to 1994 as an expert both of the European Parliament and of the Economic and Social Committee. Thanks to this role, he became Representative of the European Parliament in the EMEA Management Board for three assignments, up to 2006: a clear recognition from the Parliament for his work and his commitment to the birth and the guide of the EMEA .

In 2000, the European Regulation on Orphan Drugs become operational and he was appointed as member of the relevant committee (COMP, Committee on Orphan Medicinal Products) as well as of the “Working Party for the Herbal Medicines”.

In 1999, he founded in Italy the University School of Specialty in Regulatory Sciences based in Pavia. This School, the first of its kind in Europe, with the participation of 6 universities, will be then (in 2003) turn into the Second Level Biennal Master, now called Master in Regulatory Sciences “G. Benzi”.

Finally, in 2000, as a representative of University of Pavia, he founded the Consortium for Biological and Pharmacological Evaluations (CVBF) of which he has been Chairman until November 2006.

In Italia fonda nel 1999 la Scuola Universitaria di Specialità in Discipline Regolatorie con sede a Pavia. La Scuola, la prima del suo genere in Europa, vede la partecipazione di 6 facoltà universitarie e verrà poi trasformata (nel 2003) in Master Biennale di Secondo Livello, oggi denominato Master in Discipline Regolatorie “G. Benzi”., Infine nel 2000 ha fondato, come rappresentante dell’Università degli Studi di Pavia, il Consorzio per Valutazioni Biologiche e Farmacologiche (CVBF) di cui è stato Presidente fino a novembre 2006.

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