About Maurizio

Professor Maurizio Prato is among the most prolific European chemists, with a scientific production of more than 600 scientific papers, that received more than 70'000 citations (h-index = 122, Google Scholar).

His main scientific focus is the investigation, functionalization and application of carbon nanostructures such as fullerenes, graphene and carbon nanotubes in biomedical applications, energy conversion, storage and material sciences.

 

To see Maurizio in action, have a look at the videos at the bottom of this page.

An interview is available here (english), or here (italian).

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Minimal curriculum vitae

Professor Maurizio Prato, born in Lecce in 1953, obtained the master’s degree in organic chemistry at the University of Padua in 1978, where he successively became assistant professor in 1983. After experiences abroad as postdoctoral fellow in 1987 at Yale university in Prof. Danishefsky’s group and visiting scientist at the University of California, Santa Barbara, in professor Wudl’s group in 1991, he was appointed associate professor of organic chemistry in 1992 at the Department of chemical and pharmaceutical sciences of the University of Trieste where he currently covers the position of full Professor. From 2015 he is also Research Professor at the CIC BiomaGUNE in San Sebastian (Spain), where he leads the Carbon Bionanotechnology group. For a more detailed CV follow this link.

Scientific contributions

Thanks to his organic chemistry background, Prof. Prato has marked many milestones in the chemistry of carbon allotropes. Notably, he developed the famous Prato reaction, the addition reaction of azomethine ylides on fullerene C60. This milestone has paved the way to the exploitation of this material in many fields, including electrochemistry, photophysics and biomedicine. This approach was further expanded by exploiting this chemistry also to functionalize carbon nanotubes (CNT) by making them more biocompatible or even non-toxic. Thanks to his ability to tailor these materials with a nanoscale touch, he was able to open new and exciting perspectives in their exploitation for biomedical applications. Indeed his pioneering studies led to the use of this scaffold for neuronal growth, opening new perspectives in the treatment of neuronal related diseases. This approach offers new and promising perspectives in the treatment of incurable paralysis, resulting from damaged or severed spinal cord tissues. The interaction of CNTs with biological barriers was also investigated and he was the first to report the ability of this material to cross membranes demonstrating again the potential in relation to biomedical applications like drug delivery, a still very active and promising field. His scientific interests however go beyond biomedicine, as testified by a prolific scientific production on the topic of energy conversion and storage, which is one of the biggest challenges that our society will have to face in the future. Prato’s studies had and continue to have a ground-breaking impact, arising from the ability to tear down the traditional barriers between different fields.

Maurizio in action