Paolo Sassone-Corsi, Ph.D., Director of the Center for Epigenetics and Metabolism, and Donald Bren Professor in the Department of Biological Chemistry, at the UCI School of Medicine, passed away on July 22, 2020; he was 64.  Our hearts go out to his wife, Emiliana Borrelli, Ph.D., and to all those who had the good fortune to know him.
Posted by Luisa Kregel on July 22, 2021
Remembering your contagious smile, the light in your eyes, engaging conversations and captivating personality. Always there.....
Posted by Paola P B on July 22, 2021
Today is the anniversary of the death of our dear friend and member of the Erri De Luca Foundation, Paolo Sassone Corsi. We remember him with intense affection.
Posted by Chris Etow on June 8, 2021
Our dearest Paolo,
Today is an extremely difficult milestone - in ordinary times we would be celebrating your 65th Birthday by raising a glass to your numerous accomplishments and achievements, the diversity of people whom you have inspired and touched, and the incredible legacy you were already a part of.
Glenn & I are grateful that last year we were able to celebrate #64 with both you and Emiliana - clinking our glasses of Chassagne - Montrachet 1er cru and eating slices of Flammekueche, 2 of your favorites! xxxx forever
Posted by Inder Verma on June 8, 2021
I miss you..more than i thought i would...They say time is a great healer.. I am not so sure..
Posted by Paola P B on October 20, 2020
Paolo and Erri De Luca, talking about their book written together "Ti sembra il caso"...
Posted by Paola P B on October 15, 2020
The link from Paolo and Emiliana's friend and colleague Alessandro Usiello, together with Maurizio Bifulco.
Posted by Isabelle M Mansuy on October 12, 2020
Bien cher Paolo,
J'ai très mal mal au coeur et je pleure, quelle tristesse de t'avoir perdu. Tu m'avais raconté ton voyage au Zimbabwe et en Zambie il y a longtemps, tu étais emerveillé, c'est mon meilleur souvenir de toi.
Posted by Inder Verma on September 23, 2020
Inder Verma on Sept 22nd ,2020
I first met Paolo in a hotel near Zurich Airport in 1983 /84 to discuss the possibility of his undertaking a Post doctoral position in my laboratory at The Salk Institute. He came from Strasbourg, and i was on my way to Arolla to attend a meeting. Within 30 minutes, i wanted him to join my lab...there was something about his energy, his passionate description of his ongoing work in Pierre Chambon`s lab, excitement about science and not to mention his lingering pride in Italy's 1982 World cup victory and that too over Germany. I nearly missed my train to Zion, as we bonded and forgot about time..( A factoid, Paolo had a full head of dark hair !). Paolo was phenomenally successful in making pioneering discoveries elucidating the mechanisms of Fos-Jun interactions. I still can vividly recall the morning he showed me the autoradiograph establishing the cooperation of Fos-Jun complex binding to AP 1 site . Fos alone barely registered any binding, and Jun showed some, but the two together bound with screaming efficiency.. the big-fat band was so obvious. It changed the field .
Paolo, Emiliana , my family and I have remained good friends , meeting in Europe, talking about politics, science, literature, astronomy, and of course soccer. I always looked forward to seeing him , get a big hug with a smile and wait for his standard greeting,” How is it going?”
Paolo`s sudden death has deeply saddened me, and I still can`t believe that I will never again give him a hug , see the twinkle in his eyes and will sorely miss that smile !
Rest in Peace my friend, you left a big hole in many people`s heart .
Posted by Didier Busso on September 18, 2020
Paolo, Emiliana,
C'est avec une forte émotion que j'ai appris le décès de Paolo en regardant la dernière issue de Molecular Cell.
Je garde l'image de Paolo de ses années IGBMC-Illkirch (France) pendant mes années de thèse et à mon retour de post-doc. Nous avions beaucoup discuté et j'ai pu faire quelques manips pour lui.
J'ai grandement apprécié sa rigueur, sa vision de la recherche et son enthousiasme. Il avait toujours le sourire et voyait le côté positif des choses et que faire pour les améliorer et les faire avancer.
Je présente toutes mes condoléances à sa famille et plus spécialement à Emiliana que j'ai connue et côtoyée également à l'IGBMC.
Posted by Simona Casarosa on September 14, 2020
My 3-months stay in Paolo's lab in 1996 had an impact on my scientific and personal life like no other experience afterwards. My huge regret is not to have managed to keep sufficiently in contact with Emiliana and him over the years. Will miss you Paolo, more than I had realized.
Posted by Chris Etow on September 11, 2020
"Hello Fellas!" Such a charming greeting that always made me happy since it meant Paolo had arrived.
Even though our friendship has been brief, it has been an intense bond of kinship, respect, love and lots of laughs. Together the 4 of us - Paolo, Emiliana, Glenn and I have enjoyed countless jazz concerts, unbelievable astronomical experiences, La Sirena Thursdays, wine tastings, hiking, frequent celebrations, philosophical exchanges and for 5 months we became our own little social bubble for which I'll forever be grateful since we were all grounded at home and no longer traveling.
My heart is broken and aches deeply but I find comfort through Paolo's exuberance and incomparable positivity. Grazie Mille Caro Paolo!
Posted by Raul Mostoslavsky on September 11, 2020
My dear friend, I am still in shock, and I can't believe we will not meet again in some sirtuin/chromatin/metabolism meeting. You were one of a kind. Your sense of humor, our talks about futbol (in Spanish!) and our discussions about science will be sorely missed. Emiliana, my deepest sympathies. Raul
Posted by Martina Sassone Corsi on September 9, 2020
Your sudden disappearance has left us an insurmountable void, an insurmountable weight. Of one thing I am sure, we will have no difficulty in keeping your memory alive because you have given and taught so much during your life that you will live within us, every single day.
You always said "Life is too short, so fill it with things you love", Paolino, you certainly did, I don't remember a single day near you when I felt sad, you had the ability to illuminate our days of joy, joy of life, which you didn’t lack.
I am honored to have been able to live near you for a while, to have been able to learn from you, to have been able to share the everyday life, our daily lunches, trips, holidays and Christmases and to have been your niece to whom you have passed on your passion for biology, and now more than ever I will try to carry it out, for your love and to honor your sacrifices to the last.
I really don't know how we will do without you, but as Prof. Giuseppe Novelli wrote in his article "And if the private mourning is full of moments lost in time like tears in the rain, your wisdom will not die".
You have been so amazing and so extraordinary in your life that you have left an indelible imprint, a mark, in the hearts of all the people who have had the privilege of knowing you and you will live in all of us and in subsequent generations, forever.
I miss you and I will miss you so much

Posted by Yuri Bozzi on September 9, 2020
Paolo has been one of the most influential scientists for my career: I met him at a meeting in Rome in 1995, and he suggested me to join Emiliana's group for my postdoc. And that was what I did the year after. If I'm still in science, doing what I like to do, I have to thank Emiliana and Paolo. Grazie.
Posted by Paola P B on September 4, 2020
The Italian author Erri De Luca writes about his special friendship with Paolo...Paolo, we all miss you so much.
Posted by Xing Dai on August 12, 2020
Dear Paolo,

To this day I still cannot believe that you are no longer with us. You have been an inspiration to me in so many ways. I feel that I followed your foot steps, from transcription to germ cells, to chromatin, and I was so excited to see that our paths may cross again on skin and metabolism. Your love and devotion to science, your energy and honesty, and your jokes - they have become such an integral part of academic life and personal friendship at UCI - it saddens me deeply to have to say good bye to all of these. Rest in peace Paolo. I will miss you. Xing
Posted by Luisa Kregel on August 10, 2020
Still coming to terms with the notion of knowing you and breathing your spirit for such a brief time. Taken away by an unexpected gust of wind; your intellectual and body scent remains with us and must carry on your remarkable work and wishes for the wellbeing of our society.
Posted by Thomas Cesario on August 10, 2020
The wonderful scientific work that was routine to Paolo was as source of awe to all but the enormous energy that Paolo generated was a source of great inspiration to those of us who knew him. It is hard for me to comprehend his loss, As I walk these days on the campus at Irvine his memory is constantly on my mind. Tom Cesario
Posted by Joanna Wysocka on August 6, 2020
Paolo, thank you for your generous spirit and your enormous contributions to the field. I still can't fathom that someone with such a zest for life has been taken away from us so early. You will be profoundly missed.
Posted by Salvador Aznar Benitah on August 6, 2020
Paolo, we met at a circadian meeting and 2 glasses of wine and 3 hours of football conversation was enough for us to become friends! I am still in shock and really sad. I will miss so much our almost weekly zoom meetings where we talked about science and so many other things about life. Most importantly, i will always miss your sense of humor, your kindness, your approach to science (making tjings always look so easy) and mentorship. Your science is an inspiration and mine was made so much better because of our collaboration. I feel priviliged to have known you and sharing so many great moments.

If there is something up there, they are in for a ride! Te echaré mucho menos mi amigo. Un beso muy grande a Emiliana.
Posted by Axel Imhof on August 6, 2020
Paolo, I will miss enjoying a glass of wine with you and Emiliana while watching the sun set on your terrace in Laguna Beach. I will miss discussing football or the last eclipse you guys watched somewhere in the world. I will miss the story of the great white shark you saw on the boat trip to Catalina island that you always told to scare my sons when they wanted to go for a swim in the ocean. I will miss the pick-up football games we enjoyed in the SoCal heat with 30 people on the pitch. I will miss you as someone who always showed me what a wonderful job it is to be a scientist.
You made every ice cream parlor, every restaurant we went to the best one for that moment. You treated everyone with utmost respect, be it a Nobel Prize Winner or the janitor at UCI. You were an inspiration to so many of us, a great colleague and a dear friend. My thoughts and the ones of Stefan and Simon are with Emiliana, your family and all your friends. Mach’s gut, Paolo!
Posted by Juleen Zierath on August 5, 2020
Paolo, You have had such an extraordinary life on so many fronts- You are remembered for your extraordinary talent, vision, creativity and mentorship. You were able to take very complex problems and solve them with apparent ease. I continue to admire you and what you accomplished, moving the field of circadian biology and metabolism huge steps forward. Paolo, you will be missed! Your brilliant mind & boundless energy/enthusiasm for research into circadian biology and metabolism has touched many. Moreover, you have been a great mentor to many in the field. My thoughts are with dear Emiliana at this time, as well as all of Paolo's many great friends and family. I so enjoyed our collaboration throughout the years and will endeavor to finish the work we started in your memory.  
Posted by Charalambos Kyriacou on August 5, 2020
Still can't get my head around this. We had so much fun for a couple of days last December when I visited and met Emiliana and we had dinner with your neighbourhood gang. Will miss our not-so-serious interactions and discussions about the important things in life ie football. Known you 30 years and hoped for at least another 20. You were taken far too young. Rest in peace my friend
Posted by John Hawley on August 5, 2020
Paolo, the last (and only) overseas trip I made in 2020 before this terrible pandemic was to visit you and your lab in California. I never thought for one moment that I would never see you again. I remember previous visits, one where you delayed a seminar I was giving at UC so that we could watch the Champions League live from Europe (if I remember, your beloved Napoli played and won that day). Whenever we talked via SKYPE, soccer would always be the first (and most important) thing we discussed! You introduced me to the exciting field of circadian biology and I will be forever grateful that I had the chance to collaborate with a true legend in this field. I will miss you and my thoughts are with your dear wife, Emiliana.
Posted by Sharon Dent on August 4, 2020
Paolo, I cannot remember a single time I saw you that I did not learn something profound and also share much laughter. You brought together 3 disparate fields, circadian rhythms, metabolism, and epigenetics. You were as brilliant as you were kind. The world is less bright without you.

To laugh often and much;
to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;
to earn the appreciation of honest critics and to endure the betrayal of false friends.
To appreciate beauty;
to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition;
to know that even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
Posted by Dawn Layman on August 4, 2020
Paolo, you were taken from this world too soon, the shock and disbelief still echoes in our hearts. You are one of the most gifted scientists I have ever had the honor of collaborating with. Your excitement, passion, energy, and the engagement you created at our meetings was uplifting, enriching, and most of all fun. Your charisma, intelligence, and inner light shone through at every encounter we had with you. I will miss you.
Posted by Nadine Pernodet on August 4, 2020
Paolo, you were an exceptional scientist that has moved and will move the field of Epigenetics and Circadian forward, you were so innovative and you will live through the future from scientific discoveries that will come because of your vision... You were also an exceptional human being that touched everyone you met by your attention, your energy and joy. You were a friend and you are greatly missed.
Posted by Rob Steele on August 3, 2020
The first time I heard Paolo talk was at a meeting I attended many years ago at the Salk Institute. I was either still a postdoc or had just started at UCI. I remember thinking then that Paolo was a superb scientist and that he had a great sense of humor. More than 30 years later, my opinion remains the same. I think the saddest thing for me about Paulo’s passing is that I will no longer have those encounters (before faculty meetings, in the atrium of Sprague Hall, etc.) where Paolo would put his arm around me, tell me something highly amusing, and make me feel like he had nothing more important to do at that point in time than to make me laugh. Addio amico mio.
Posted by Peter Kaiser on August 3, 2020
Paolo, you will be greatly missed. You were the scientist we all imagine to be in our dreams. An inspiration, great colleague and friend.
Posted by Karolin Luger on August 3, 2020
Paolo, I will miss your energy, enthusiasm, and joy for life. Our field has lost a force of nature.

Leave a Tribute

Recent Tributes
Posted by Luisa Kregel on July 22, 2021
Remembering your contagious smile, the light in your eyes, engaging conversations and captivating personality. Always there.....
Posted by Paola P B on July 22, 2021
Today is the anniversary of the death of our dear friend and member of the Erri De Luca Foundation, Paolo Sassone Corsi. We remember him with intense affection.
Posted by Chris Etow on June 8, 2021
Our dearest Paolo,
Today is an extremely difficult milestone - in ordinary times we would be celebrating your 65th Birthday by raising a glass to your numerous accomplishments and achievements, the diversity of people whom you have inspired and touched, and the incredible legacy you were already a part of.
Glenn & I are grateful that last year we were able to celebrate #64 with both you and Emiliana - clinking our glasses of Chassagne - Montrachet 1er cru and eating slices of Flammekueche, 2 of your favorites! xxxx forever
his Life

Make A Gift to Support Paolo Sassone-Corsi’s Legacy

Message from the UCI School of Medicine Office of the Dean, Michael J. Stamos, M.D.

Paolo Sassone-Corsi, Ph.D., received his Ph.D. from the International Institute of Genetics and Biophysics, CNR, Naples, Italy, in 1979. He was a postdoctoral fellow with Dr. Pierre Chambon at the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) in Strasbourg, France, and continued there as a research fellow for many years.

From 1986 to 1989, Paolo served as a visiting researcher at the Salk Institute. In 1990, he returned to France where he rose to Directeur de Recherche at the CNRS. He stayed in that role until 2006, when he joined UCI as a Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Department of Pharmacology, and relocated to the United States.

Dr. Thomas C. Cesario, dean of the school of medicine at the time, stated, “Dr. Sassone-Corsi is one of the outstanding molecular biologists of our generation. He will increase the stature of pharmacological research at UCI and aid the university in its efforts to increase research directed toward new drug discovery,” and indeed he did.

A pioneer in our understanding of how circadian rhythms control gene expression through epigenetic regulation, Dr. Sassone-Corsi is internationally known for his work in transcriptional regulatory circuits and in particular for discoveries that link metabolism with epigenetic mechanisms of generating and controlling circadian rhythms. Since he has been on the UCI campus, he has propelled UCI into the international arena of leaders in this research.

In 2011, Dr. Sassone-Corsi founded and was appointed Director of the Center for Epigenetics and Metabolism.  That same year he joined the Department of Biological Chemistry and was appointed a Donald Bren Professor.

Research conducted in the Sassone-Corsi Laboratory has significantly impacted the fields of circadian biology, epigenetics, metabolism and endocrinology. The high impact of his team’s research is witnessed by the numerous high-profile publications (h-index 127), invitations as plenary speaker at high-profile conferences, and a long list of international, prestigious scientific awards.

Some of Dr. Sassone-Corsi’s most notable research has revealed how nutritional challenges reprogram circadian homeostasis and revealed previously unforeseen pathways of circadian control that connect to nutrition, cancer and aging. These studies provide new leads towards therapeutic strategies for metabolic disorders. Extremely productive, Dr. Sassone-Corsi published more than 450 peer-reviewed articles over the course of his tenure.

He was truly a global citizen as reflected in membership on many editorial boards in the US and Europe. Dr. Sassone-Corsi was also the recipient of numerous honors and awards. Among these, he was an elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and received the UCI Distinguished Faculty Award for Research in 2018. International awards, included the EMBO Gold Medal, the CNRS Silver Medal of France, and the Leonardo da Vinci Gold Medal of Italy.

Dr. Sassone-Corsi was an exceptional colleague, mentor, and scientist, and will be greatly missed.
Recent stories

A great loss

Shared by Bruce Murphy on September 11, 2020
I and my colleagues who knew Paolo were shocked at his untimely death.  He was a giant in science, an amazing achiever.  One of his great strengths was to see into the future, to see how current technology will evolve, and how  and where he could use it to address the next challenge.  i had the privilege of collaboration with him over a stretch of years, beginning with six months in his laboratory.  Together we published novel studies that have since been well cited and recognized.  His demise is a great loss to science and to the research community.  

My condolences to his family, particularly Emiliana. 
Bruce Murphy

Hommage à Paolo Sassone-Corsi

Shared by Paola P B on September 6, 2020
©Cécile Egly
27 juillet 2020
Vendredi 24 juillet matin nous avons appris avec tristesse le décès de Paolo Sassone-Corsi, pionnier de l’exploration des rythmes circadiens et de leur influence sur l’expression des gènes et sur le métabolisme. Nous garderons de lui le souvenir d’un chercheur d’exception, original dans ses démarches, pointu dans ses analyses et tellement passionnant à écouter quand il en parlait. Ciao Paolo.
Né à Naples en 1956, il fait ses études supérieures à l’Université Federico II puis rejoint en 1979, le laboratoire de Pierre Chambon, à Strasbourg pour un premier stage postdoctoral sur la régulation de la transcription. Il intègre le CNRS en 1984 mais part ensuite à San Diego pour travailler dans le laboratoire d'Inder Verma, où il fait ses premières armes sur les facteurs de transcriptions. En 1989, il revient à Strasbourg comme responsable d'une équipe de recherche à l'Institut de génétique et de biologie moléculaire et cellulaire (IGBMC). Il va alors écrire quelques très belles pages de l’histoire de cet institut et fait énormément progresser la compréhension du phénomène des rythmes circadiens et de leur influence sur l’expression et l’activité des facteurs de transcription. Ainsi, il reçoit la médaille d'argent du CNRS en décembre 2004.
Mais Paolo continue à naviguer entre la France et les Etats Unis et en 2006, il prend la direction du département de Pharmacologie à l’Université de Californie à Irvine puis plus tard la direction du Center for Epigenetics and Metabolism. Pendant cette période, il continue à explorer le fonctionnement de l’horloge interne des cellules, décryptant les liens entre les rythmes des cellules et le métabolisme de l’organisme humain et aussi démontant les mécanismes permettant de garder la trace du temps qui passe sur notre chromatine. En 2013, c’est dans cet esprit, qu’il rédige avec Erri De Luca, écrivain, lui-aussi napolitain, Le cas du Hasard: Escarmouches entre un écrivain et un biologiste, un recueil épistolaire où la connaissance du scientifique et le regard du poète s’affrontent puis se retrouvent dans l’humanité qui relient les deux hommes. 
Personnalité au grand rayonnement international, Paolo Sassone-Corsi aura été l'un des cent scientifiques les plus cités au monde. Au sein du CNRS, nous le regretterons comme scientifique, comme collègue et comme ami.

Remembering an amazing person and dear friend – Paolo Sassone-Corsi

Shared by David Allis on September 2, 2020
Remembering an amazing person and dear friend – Paolo Sassone-Corsi

By C. David Allis – Laboratory of Chromatin Biology and Epigenetics,
The Rockefeller University; New York, NY 10065

September 1, 2020

The last in-person seminar I had the privilege of giving was at the University of Pennsylvania on March 3, 2020 early in the pandemic.  After my title slide, I began with a picture of my current lab group with a heading – ‘Why do science? – Work with talented lab members’.  Near the end of the talk, I again asked – ‘Why do science?’, but changed its answer to - ‘Meet amazing people’.  Here I showed a picture of me shaking hands with the TV actor, Alan Alda, after an event at Rockefeller where I gave a lecture on epigenetics and Alan served as the evening’s moderator.  I could have used many other examples of – amazing people– I have met in my career.  High on my list would be Paolo Sassone-Corsi, who tragically passed away on July 22.  2020 has been an absolutely dreadful year with its many challenges and disruptions.  Losing Paolo so unexpectedly and so ahead of his time makes it, for me, one of the worst years of my life.  

In this piece, however, I wish to pay tribute to Paolo as a truly remarkable scientist and a cherished friend, one of those amazing peopleI have met in my career.  I first met Paolo in 1998 at a meeting in Strasbourg, France near a time of what I might refer to as the ‘histone acetylation matters’ era.  Enzymes responsible for bringing about the steady-state balance of histone acetylation were garnering much attention, but it was the talk by Paolo that excited me.  His talk was both captivating and entertaining – the science and data Paolo presented were new and compelling to me; his delivery was perfect.  His topic was on Coffin-Lowry Syndrome (CLS), a human disorder that I had never heard of before.  A year later, Paolo and I had published our first collaborative paper describing a chromatin link to CLS [Sassone-Corsi et al., (1999) Science285, 886-891].  Our two-way interactions leading up to this paper had been stimulating and fun.  I was hooked on the new science and my new collaborator.   

What followed was a decade-long journey wherein Paolo introduced me to several new areas of biology and some exciting research between our labs (1998-2008).  Our scientific pursuits were largely centered on deciphering links between signaling pathways and chromatin-mediated transcriptional readouts, but it was Paolo - his energy and passion for all things science and non-science - that made these times so special to me.  In 1999, I returned to Strasbourg to give a seminar in Paolo’s institute.  Paolo was a gracious host showing me local sights, taking me to charming restaurants, and introducing me to his colleagues, students and postdocs, and importantly, his wife, Emiliana.  In his office, I first learned of his many interests including astronomy, photography, travel, sports, etc; he was indeed a man of many talents.  In his home, Emiliana and Paolo treated me to a delightful home-cooked meal as if I was a family member.  The conversations and fun of that evening were special as were all of my future interactions with them.  

In 2007, after many successful collaborations, I invited Paolo to give a seminar at Rockefeller where, in short, he did not disappoint.  In keeping with a long-standing tradition of mine, I gave Paolo a personalized gift as part of my introduction.  In Paolo’s case, I had asked a talented postdoc in my lab, Sean Taverna, to tap into one of his hobbies - to draw Paolo a cartoon that would attempt to mesh Paolo’s interests with his science.  In the final product, Sean cartooned Paolo as a young boy gazing out at the night stars from his bedroom window.  With his telescope and a clock nearby, young Paolo looks skyward toward a HAT-like constellation decorating the night sky (see attached cartoon).  Sean’s cartoon gift was a hit.  After turning the floor over to Paolo, he treated a standing room-only audience to an engaging and thought-provoking seminar.  I relished in the fact that I had brought such a star scientist to campus, someone who had captivated the home crowd with terrific science flavored with key insights and sprinkles of humor and wit.  His insights into the molecular mechanisms underlying circadian rhythm with links to metabolism and epigenetics were remarkable with far-reaching implications for aging, cancer and much more.  Paolo’s gave this seminar much like a gifted storybook teller; he was masterful at that.  Clearly, Paolo had a special ability for identifying fundamental biological problems and knowing how best to pursue and to present them to a broad audience.   We, as a scientific community, profited from his many groundbreaking discoveries.  These continued with a steady and remarkable pace until the tragic end of his life.

The last time I was with Paolo in-person was in 2008, where I was honored to visit Paolo’s new institution to give a seminar.  The new setting was UC Irvine where Paolo was now the Director of the Center of Epigenetics and Metabolism.  Paolo and Emiliana again outdid themselves as my hosts.  It began with a visit to their home overlooking a spectacular sunset over the Pacific Ocean followed by a delightful meal in a nearby neighborhood restaurant.  Knowing that Emiliana and Paolo grew up in Naples, Italy, with postdocs on the California coast, it was obvious to me how much they were enjoying their new positions, not to mention the warm weather, beach and ocean.  I was happy for them.  

After a stimulating day in Paolo’s department meeting many terrific faculty members, the final dinner of that visit was one with Paolo’s lab group.  There it was abundantly clear to me how much Paolo cared about his lab folks and how much they cared about him.  No lab member was skipped or excluded from the conversations.  Paolo worked the table making sure that everyone was included enjoying the science (and non-science) stories.  Paolo was in his element; he was indeed ‘the man’ of the evening.  For me, it was an unforgettable visit.  Paolo was kind to later send me an autographed poster of my seminar flier, which I have proudly hung in my office at Rockefeller ever since.  This will be a ‘keeper’.

So I return to the question - Why do science?  Again, I answer it by saying - It gives you a chance to meet and work with amazing people.  Paolo certainly fell in this category.  If I was able to choose a brother growing up, I would have wanted him to be Paolo.    Paolo was truly one of a kind – a terrific scientist with a larger-than-life personality and a genuine passion for science and a genuine caring for all those around him.   He was a dear friend to many.  He will be missed, but not forgotten.  

In 1968 Simon and Garfunkle popularized a song “Mrs. Robinson” from the blockbuster movie “The Graduate”.  Paolo was a blockbuster scientist and friend.  Thus, I have taken the liberty to modify its opening lyrics to read:

And here’s to you, Paolo Sassone-Corsi
You touched us all more than you will know
Whoa, whoa, whoa

We deeply miss you, please, Paolo Sassone-Corsi
We will always hold a special place for you
Hey, hey, hey
Hey, hey, hey


 Cartoon drawn by Sean Taverna as a gift for Paolo during a seminar visit at Rockefeller University