After Dr. Gioia Capelli’s retirement last August, Dr. Giovanni Cattoli, Doctor in Veterinary Medicine, will serve as new Health Director starting from September 1st, 2023.

Dr Cattoli has returned to Italy after spending eight years as Laboratory Head at the Animal Production and Health Laboratory, Joint FAO/IAEA (UN-International Atomic Energy Agency) Centre of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture (Austria). However, he is not a newcomer to the Institute: before his experience in Austria, he had acted as Director of the Research and Innovation Department at the IZSVe and held numerous other positions in international research networks.

“It is a homecoming for me, I have found old colleagues but also many new people, innovative ideas and a high-level of professional skills, a sign that the Institute has changed, has evolved,” says the new Health Director Giovanni Cattoli. “The IZSVe has certainly been strengthened by the many challenges posed by the most recent health emergencies, first and foremost the Covid19 pandemic and the wave of avian influenza, which has hit hard throughout Europe and in Italy in particular”.

Giovanni Cattoli, Direttore sanitario IZSVeMarried, one daughter, Giovanni Cattoli graduated in veterinary medicine in Bologna, where he also obtained a PhD in Epidemiology and zoonoses control. After a three-year period in the Netherlands working as a University Researcher, in year 2000 he joined the Virology Laboratory of the IZSVe and immediately focused on avian influenza, expanding his research interests over time to other areas such as rabies, swine flu and fish diseases. He also actively participated in numerous international cooperation missions, especially in Africa and Asia.

“First of all, I would like to thank Dr. Capelli, who worked alongside me in these first three years of my term of office,” comments Director General Antonia Ricci, “bringing great scientific expertise, especially in the One Health area. She was also able to make use of her great mediating and interpersonal skills that have contributed to boosting the Institute’s ability in providing answers to the territory and in setting up a network of collaborations with prestigious research bodies at a national and international level. I wish her all the best in this new phase of her life and hope she will remain close to the IZSVe family”.

“In having to think about a new Health Director,” Dr. Ricci continues “I was most fortunate to learn that Dr. Cattoli was more than willing to return to take up this new and challenging position. I have known Giovanni for many years and have full confidence in his qualities, both scientific and personal. He knows the Institute, and in the last years he has also enriched his already high level of proficiency with a prestigious international assignment. I am eager to partner with him and I am confident we will work well together, teaming with Administrative Director Dr. Romano, with the final common aim of developing the full potential the IZSVe can express”.

The Health Director will immediately be tasked with managing challenging issues such as bird flu, West Nile, African swine fever, just to mention a few of the most pressing emergencies.

“I am firmly convinced that today we cannot think of facing and overcoming health challenges by working alone” says Cattoli, “we have to create synergies, cooperate, have a common vision of the problems and find the best way to deal with them. The Institute has a strong territorial connotation but also a great international vocation; our goal is to make the local and global dimensions increasingly interconnected, in a dynamic and flexible way”.

“I wish to warmly thank the Management for this prestigious assignment, and the Institute in general, for all the support and collaboration I received during the years I spent in Legnaro,” Cattoli concludes. “If there is one thing that is not missing, that is motivation – this is a nice place where to work and I am sure we will do well together”.

At the UN agency, Dr. Cattoli led an international team focused on research and technology transfer applied to the control of transboundary animal diseases and zoonoses, as well as on animal genetics for improved livestock production and disease resistance. He also coordinated the global network of veterinary laboratories in Africa and Asia (VETLAB Network) aimed at international veterinary cooperation, and initiatives to promote international research on zoonoses. He is author and co-author of more than 390 scientific publications.

A very warm welcome from the whole team here at the IZSVe.