On 26 January 2019, Giovanni (Gianni) Morrone passed away. Gianni was a postdoc in medicine and surgery at the University of Naples “Federico II” in Italy. Following this, he studied at the Albert-Ludwigs University in Freiburg, Germany where his studies focused on the mechanisms of regulating leukemic cell growth.
From 1985 to 1989, Gianni was a Visiting Scientist in the lab of Riccardo Cortese at EMBL in Heidelberg where he was a pioneer in the study of transcriptional regulation and gene expression of the acute phase of inflammation in response to Interleukin 6.
In 1992, Gianni returned to Italy as a member of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Catanzaro Magna Græcia where he founded the lab of molecular hematopoiesis and stem cell biology, studying regulation of self-renewal and differentiation of normal and leukemic hematopoietic stem cells. He was also the coordinator of PhD programmes.
In addition, Gianni served as a delegate of the Rector for Research at the University of Catanzaro, a member of the Advisory Board of the Departments of Oncology and Hematology at the University of Freiburg, and as a member of a Consortium researching tumor stem cells at Deutsche Krebshilfe in Germany. His research in the field of stem cells and hematopoiesis was published in more than 150 papers.
Gianni was not only an excellent scientist, but also a fantastic colleague with great humanity, an acute and ironic intelligence, a lively and collaborative spirit, and always had fresh enthusiasm for science and for discovery of the new. Anyone who knew him well will remember these traits, as well as the thousands of jokes with which he used to play down any stressful moments in the lab, helping everyone to face life and research with a smile.
We have lost a great scientist, a friend and an important piece of our life. All of your many friends at EMBL will miss you, Gianni.
Salvatore Oliviero and Valeria Poli