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Ilaria Capua, DVM, PhD

Former member of the Italian Parliament

Director

One Health Center of Excellence 

352-273-8929

icapua@ufl.edu

1604 McCarty Dr. Room G047C

Gainesville, FL 32603 

 

Ilaria Capua is a full-time professor and the Director of the One Health Center of Excellence at the University of Florida. She graduated as a DVM (1989) and spent most of her career as a virologist leading diagnostic and research laboratories of international status. She has also been a Member of the Italian Parliament for over three years (2013-2016). She is a regular columnist for the Italian mainstream press and the author of several books. 

In her career as a virologist, she dedicated most of her professional life to the study of animal viral infections that can be transmitted to humans, and that can produce poverty and food security issues such as Avian influenza (bird flu), Newcastle disease, and Rabies. In 2006, at the peak of the H5N1 bird flu panzootic, she provided global leadership by igniting an international debate on the transdisciplinary sharing of influenza virus genetic sequences to improve pandemic preparedness. This led to a paradigm shift in the approach to pandemic preparedness, and real-time sharing of genetic data is considered an essential component of the fight against Ebola, Zika, COVID 19, and other epidemic disease threats. 

She has authored over 230 publications in peer-reviewed journals, has published scientific books on Avian Influenza and Newcastle disease, and has published eleven books for the general public as well. She is active in the field of science communication and in promoting female leadership in the scientific arena.  

In 2007 Ilaria Capua was among the awardees of the Scientific American 50 Award for leadership in science policy, and in 2008 she was included among the Seed’s Revolutionary Minds series for her leadership in promoting the sharing of information at the international level. 

Among other global recognitions, Dr. Capua won the Penn Vet World Leadership in Animal Health Award in 2011 (the most prestigious award in veterinary medicine) and the Gordon Memorial Medal in 2012. In 2014, she was the recipient of the ESCMID Excellence Award for Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, and in 2019, she received an honorary Ph.D. from her Alma Mater, the University of Perugia. In 2021, she received the prestigious Hypathia prize from the European Academy of Sciences, of which she is a member. 

Prior to joining UF, she was elected as a member of the Chamber of Deputies of the Italian Parliament. She served for two and a half years as Vice President of the Science, Culture, and Education Commission, and during her years in the legislature, she authored Parliamentary resolutions and amendments related to infectious diseases, namely antimicrobial resistance, pandemic and epidemic threats, and emerging pathogens of plants and animals. 

During parliamentary office, she was the victim of fake news as she was accused of being a bioterrorist, and of having committed crimes punishable with life imprisonment. This was based on a 10-year-old secret investigation that was leaked to the press. All charges against her were dismissed, with clear evidence of “fabrication of accusations, in a context of happenings that had never occurred”. She resigned from office after being cleared of all charges. This occurrence was the subject of one of her books which inspired a movie released in 2021. 

She developed the vision of Circular Health, which is a natural expansion of the One Health concept. Circular Health is an integrated approach to promoting the health of humans, animals, plants, and the environment which recognizes the need for an expanded multidisciplinary convergence effort. This should encompass big data analysis, societal cultural, economic and financial, technological, and international policies around one goal, which is the advancement of the health as a system.  

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Dr. Capua's message about COVID 19