Birth: May 6, 1950, at Ragogna (UD), Italy
Position: Research Director, Italian National Research Council (CNR)

06/1979: Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry (Univ. of California, Santa Cruz, USA)
10/1974: Laurea in Industrial Chemistry (cum laude, University of Padova)

02/2013-06/2014: Acting Director, CNR Neuroscience Institute
2008-present: Head of the Padova section of the CNR Neuroscience Institute
07/2006-present: Research Director, CNR
07/1997-06/2006: “Primo Ricercatore”, CNR
04/1982-06/1997: Researcher, CNR
05/1980-04/1982: Contract Researcher, CNR

2002-2009: member of the Advisory Committee of the CNR Neuroscience Institute
1985-2002: member of the Scientific Council of the CNR Center for Biomembranes
1988-92, 2000-02, 2014-: in the Council of the Italian Group for Biomembranes and Bioenergetics
2001-2003: Contract Professor in Cellular Biochemistry, University of Padova
1997-2001: Contract Professor in Cellular Biochemistry, University of Bologna
1989, 1993: Short-term lecturer at the University of Paris XI
08/1985-02/1986: Visiting scientist (University of California, Irvine, USA)
06/1979-04/1980: Post-doc (University of California, Santa Cruz, USA)

Dr Zoratti was educated as an organic chemist, receiving a Ph.D. from the University of California in this field. In 1980 he was recruited by the then Center for Mitochondrial Physiology of the CNR, in Padova. His group has made significant contributions in the fields of mitochondrial and prokaryotic physiology, discovering and characterizing from the biophysical and functional points of view various channels in the membranes of these organelles/cells. Dr. Zoratti organized and coordinated an EEC-financed European project dealing with these topics (1990-93). His interest in this research area continues; he has lately focused on the role of mitochondrial channels in cancer. He then investigated the role of pores in the transport of macromolecules across biomembranes and the mechanism of action of the H. pylori toxin VacA. The discovery that polyphenols block the VacA channels led to Dr. Zoratti's current interest in polyphenols. An appreciation of the biomedical potential of these natural compounds and of the obstacles posed by their low bioavailability led to his currently main project, which uses their chemical elaboration to reduce the obstacles to their pharmacological exploitation, and investigates the mechanisms of their biological effects.
Recent Funding: Fondazione CARIPARO, PRIN, Industrial funds.

  1. Mitochondrial channels: ion fluxes and more.Szabó I, Zoratti M. Physiol Rev. 94:519-608 (2014).
  2. Mitochondrially targeted anti-cancer agents.Biasutto L, Dong LF, Zoratti M, Neuzil J. Mitochondrion 10:670-681 (2010).
  3. Helicobacter pylori vacuolating toxin forms anion-selective channels in planar lipid bilayers: possible implications for the mechanism of cellular vacuolation.Tombola F, Carlesso C, Szabó I, de Bernard M, Reyrat JM, Telford JL, Rappuoli R, Montecucco C, Papini E, Zoratti M. Biophys J. 76:1401-1409 (1999).
  4. The mitochondrial permeability transition.Zoratti M, Szabó I. Biochim Biophys Acta 1241:139-176 (1995).
  5. The giant channel of the inner mitochondrial membrane is inhibited by cyclosporin A. Szabó I, Zoratti M. J Biol Chem. 266:3376-3379 (1991).