2018 Events

Date Event Speaker(s)
Feb. 7 Applications of Gene Targeting Technology in Therapies

Dr. Mario R. Capecchi

March 17  Innovative Solutions to Business Challenges: A One-Day Student-Centered Workshop Leaders from Eni and Zordan
March 26 Mussolini as Impresario: Jazz and theater in Fascist Italy Anna Celenza & Patricia Gaborik
October 17

Leonardo da Vinci, Extraordinary Genius: from Art to Science

Professor Francesca Fiorani &
Professor Rodolfo Maffeis


Leonardo da Vinci, Extraordinary Genius: from Art to Science

Wednesday, October 17th at 6:00 p.m.
Lohrfink Auditorium
Georgetown University
McDonough School Of Business, 2nd Floor 
3700 O Street NW, Washington, DC 20057

In anticipation of the 2019 celebration of Leonardo da Vinci 500th anniversary of his death, the Georgetown University Italian Research Institute, in collaboration with the Embassy of Italy, the Italian Cultural Institute, the Georgetown University Department of Italian and the Department of Art & Art History, is sponsoring an event on the great Renaissance master’s scientific work that underlines his extraordinary creativity and intellectual acumen.



    Professor Francesca Fiorani
    Associate dean for the arts and humanities
    Professor of art history
    university of virginia 

Francesca Fiorani, Professor of Art History and Associate Dean for the Arts and Humanities at the University of Virginia, received her Ph.D. in Art History from the University of Rome, La Sapienza. An expert on the relationship between art and science in Renaissance and Baroque Europe, she has written extensively on the representation of space, cartography, mapping, art theory, and Leonardo da Vinci.


She is the author of The Marvel of Maps. Art, Cartography and Politics in Renaissance Italy (Yale University Press, 2005), which received a Special Mention for the Premio Salimbeni per la Storia e la Critica d’Arte and was translated into Italian as Carte dipinte. Arte, cartografiae politica nel Rinascimento (Franco Cosimo Panini, Modena, 2010).

She is the co-editor (with Alessandro Nova) of Leonardo’s Optics: Theory and Pictorial Practice(Marsilio Editore, Venice 2013), and the director of Leonardo da Vinci and His Treatise on Painting, a digital publication focused on the formation and reception of Leonardo’s Treatise on Painting from the Renaissance to the early nineteenth century (http://www.treatiseonpainting.org).

She is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the American Council for the Learned Societies, the Harvard Center for Renaissance Studies at Villa I Tatti, the Getty Center, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Folger Institute, and the Warburg Institute. She is currently completing a book on Leonardo da Vinci's painting and art theory considered from the point of view of artistic practice, optics, philosophy, and culture.


Leonardo da Vinci's Painting and Arab Optics

A discussion on Leonardo da Vinci’s knowledge of ancient and medieval optical writings since his early training years, when the artist painted and drew a lot but wrote very little, at least according to the survived archival record. It combines the analysis of Leonardo's early works with an examination of optical writings that were available in the vernacular in the late fifteenth century. From this inferential investigation, Leonardo da Vinci emerges as an attentive reader of Arab optics, especially of the works by the Arab philosopher Ibn al-Haytham, and his planned Book on Painting, which was published only posthumously and through the mediated compilation of one of his assistants, as an artistic adaptation of Arab optical treatises. Five hundred years after his death (Leonardo died in 1519), the art theory of this iconic figure of western culture emerges as deeply indebted to Arab optical science in both form and content.



    Professor Rodolfo Maffeis
    assistant Professor of art history
    Politecnico di Milano, Department of design

     Prof. Rodolfo Maffeis received his M.A. and Ph.D. in Art History from the University of Florence in 2007. His research interests include the work of Leonardo da Vinci: notably the master’s writings on astronomy and his strategies of visualization of celestial bodies. Prof. Maffeis also specializes in early modern art, with a focus on Renaissance and Baroque Italian painting. 

His research addresses Florentine artists, their connections with the Medici court, and the broader context of literary and scientific culture of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. He curated a monographic exhibition on the painter Francesco Furini at Palazzo Pitti, Florence (2007), co-authored the catalogues of Giambologna (2006), Artemisia Gentileschi (2011), Antonio Balestra (2016), and published a book on Benedetto Luti and Arcadian Rome (2012).

     Before joining the Politecnico di Milano (2015), he was a Fellow at the Roberto Longhi Foundation of Art History Studies in Florence, at the Veneto Institute of History, Art & Letters in Venice, at the Italian Institute of Philosophica Studies of Naples, at the  Kunsthistorisches Institut - Max-Plack-Institut,in  Florence; and was awarded an Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. He is a member of the Comité International d’Histoire de l’Art (CIHA) and of the Società Italiana di Storia della Critica d’Arte (SISCA). He has presented his research at various conferences such as at the (RSA 2014, Politecnico di Milano 2015). He has published  conference proceedings (KHI-MPI 2015) on Leonardo studies, and has contributed to Leonardo da Vinci’s exhibition catalogues (Biblioteca Ambrosiana, Milan, 2011; Palazzo Reale, Milan, 2015).


The Painter and the Moon: Cosmology Issues in Leonardo da Vinci's Manuscripts

In Leonardo da Vinci’s cosmological studies, the depiction of the moon undergoes a radical transformation, resulting from the Master’s persuasion that our satellite was covered by water. In opposition to the smooth and geometrical celestial body of Ptolemaic tradition, Leonardo’s moon is a bumpy, irregular sphere, characterized by the continuous mutability of light conditions and the movement of the waves. Through a close reading of Leonardo’s cosmological notes and drawings (mss. Leicester and Atlanticus, in particular), my lecture aims at investigating how experimental optics and sky gazing interacted in Leonardo’s imaginative cosmology.Because of the inescapable limits of naked-eye observation, Leonardo was forced to corrupt the accuracy of his lunar portrait with ideas and theories borrowed from his optical studies. The elusive celestial body was then imagined and visualized through a mix of direct observations, deductions, and arbitrary assumptions. 




    Professor alfred acres
    Wright Family Term Associate Professor
    Department of art and art history
    georgetown university

Professor Alfred Acres is Chair of the Department of Art and Art History and Wright Family Term Associate Professor in Art History. A specialist on Netherlandish art of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, his research, publications, and teaching also address Italian, German, and French art. His recent book, Renaissance Invention and the Haunted Infancy (Brepols, 2013), explores how and why countless European images of Christ’s infancy allude either to his death or the devil, and sometimes to both. In this study and among his articles (in Art Bulletin, Artibus et Historiae, and numerous edited volumes), he addresses ways in which artists of the period shaped new dimensions of pictorial realism as instruments of meaning and persuasion. He is currently writing a book on Jan van Eyck. He was awarded the College Art Association’s Arthur Kingsley Porter Prize and held the Samuel H. Kress Senior Fellowship at the National Gallery of Art’s Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts. Professor Acres joined the Georgetown faculty in 2006, having taught previously at the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Oregon, and Princeton University.






Mussolini as Impresario: Jazz and Theater in Fascist Italy

Monday, March 26, 2018 at 5:30pm
Lohrfink Auditorium, Hariri Building
Georgetown University
3700 O Street NW, Washington, DC 20057

The Georgetown University Italian Research Institute, in collaboration with the Department of Performing Arts and the Department of Italian, is pleased to sponsor a multimedia conversation that explores music, theater, dance and film in the context of transatlantic culture, business, and religion.



    Anna Harwell Celenza, Ph.D.
    Thomas e. Caestecker Professor of Music 
    Georgetown University

Anna Harwell Celenza is the Thomas E. Caestecker Professor of Music at Georgetown University. She has published several scholarly books including Music as Cultural Mission: Explorations of Jesuit Practices in Italy and North America (2014) and Jazz Italian Style: From Its Origins in New Orleans to Fascist Italy and Sinatra (2017). In addition to her scholarly work, she has authored eight award-winning children's books including Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue (2006) and Duke Ellington's Nutcracker Suite (2011). Her work has been featured on nationally syndicated radio and TV programs, including NPR's "Performance Today," the BBC's "Music Matters" and "Proms Broadcasts," and C-Span's "Book-TV".





    Patricia Gaborik, ph.d.
    American university of rome

Patricia Gaborik is a theatre and cultural historian based in Italy since 2005, when she was a fellow in modern Italian studies at the American Academy in Rome. Currently in residence at Columbia University, she has also been a visiting researcher at Stanford and UCLA, and invited speaker or guest lecturer at institutions including Cambridge University, Northwestern University, Berkeley, the University of Wisconsin, the University of Rome - 3, and the University for Foreigners of Perugia. She teaches at the American University of Rome.

As a specialist in the fascist period, her chief areas of interest are the avant-garde and experimental performance; the intersection of artistic and political concerns in the regime’s aesthetic policies; theatre and the construction of national identity; authors F.T. Marinetti, Massimo Bontempelli, Luigi Pirandello, and Vitaliano Brancati; and the historiography of fascism.

For this work, she has held fellowships from the American Academy in Rome, the University of Wisconsin Center for German and European Studies, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. In addition to several essays and book chapters, she is the editor and translator of Watching the Moon and Other Plays by Massimo Bontempelli (Italica Press, 2013). Her forthcoming book is a monograph on Mussolini and the theatre; she is also editing Pirandello in Context for Cambridge University Press and an anthology of modern Italian Drama for Italica.



Mussolini as Impresario: Jazz and Theater in Fascist Italy


Anna Celenza and Patricia Gaborik became friends in Rome several years ago while doing research on the performing arts in Italy under Mussolini’s watch.  In this multimedia conversation, they come together again to discuss the ways that jazz and theatre thrived and struggled during the fascist era. As they will explain, state support for both genres was unprecedented during this era. Mussolini was a performer and impresario at heart.  He looked to jazz as the “voice of Italian youth,” and he firmly believed in the potential for theatre to "educate" the people.  Consequently, the regime invested in a wide variety of initiatives, from radio programming and recording companies to experimental performance in small theaters and vast outdoor spectacles for crowds of thousands -- all in hopes of tapping into an “authentically fascist” style of music and theatre. But what exactly did this mean to the performers and fascist officials who dedicated their energies to these efforts? Exploring the various answers to this question will be the primary goal of this conversation. 


Innovative Solutions to Business Challenges:
A One-Day Student-Centered Workshop

Saturday, March 17, 2018 
9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Bakers Scholars Conference Room
Regents Hall 550
Georgetown University

This is the third year the Georgetown University Italian Research Institute, in partnership with the Italia Innovation Program, sponsored a full day student-centered workshop on Innovative Solutions to Business Challenges. This is an exciting program which brings to campus well-known and established Italian companies and serves as a bridge between business and academia. This year the two participating companies were Eni, S.p.A and Zordan, S.rl.sb.

Summary of Eni, S.p.A and  Zordan, S.rl.sb Event on Innovative Solutions to Business Challenges

On Saturday, March 17, 2018 the Georgetown University Italian Research Institute, in collaboration with the Italia Innovation Program, sponsored a One-Day Student Workshop on “Innovative Solutions to Business Challenges.” Mr. Gianni Di Giovanni, Chairman of Eni , S.p.A. Petroleum & Chairman of Eni USA and Mr. Maurizio Zordan, President and CEO of Zordan, S.rl.sb,  presented the challenge to 36 Georgetown University students from the College, the School of Foreign Service, and the McDonough School of Business who participated in the event. Prof. Franco Peracchi from the Georgetown University Department of Economics served as mentor. Our students showed genuine interest in the project. Their superb performance, in the limited time they were assigned, and their impressive and professional presentations demonstrated their excellent analytical skills, innovative solutions, and team work. Given the high quality of the presentations selecting the winning teams was not an easy task, nonetheless, we were happy to provide such an extraordinary experience to our talented students.

Three winning teams were selected.  Eni selected two teams and Zordan selected one team. Each member of the Eni winning team will receive a paid internship in their new office in Washington, DC. The Zordan team will spend 2 weeks in Valdagno, Italy visiting Zordan headquarters and 1 week in Michigan and Illinois at the Woodways Company. All expenses, including travel are included.

Special thanks to Mr. Gianni Di Giovanni, Mr. Maurizio Zordan, Dr. Franco Peracchi, and Dr. Donatella Melucci. Dr. Franco Peracchi, Professor of the Practice in the Department of Economics at Georgetown provided students advice and guidance during the workshop and Prof. Donatella Melucci from the Department of Italian who teaches a Business course also assisted students.

Participating italian companies


Zordan S.r.l.sb, founded in 1965 by Attilio Zordan, is a luxury family business that manufactures furnishings for the stores of the best-known brands and for private luxury homes.  Zordan has built an international reputation as a partner for high-end interior design projects. Recently they purchased an American company Woodways, in Michigan to provide a better service to customers in the USA market. Zordan presented a challenge related to “its activities in USA and its controlled Company in Michigan, Woodways."

Zordan Workshop Presentation

Team 1 Presentation
Maya Hiraki, Elinor Walker, Amanda Hu, Jacky Liu, Filippo Fabrini

Team 2 Presentation
Chiara Lewis, Kathryn Blanco, Samantha Steinberg, Samuel Oswald

Team 3 Presentation (Winners)
Caroline Cosovich, Oluseyi Osobamiro, Melissa Zheng, Dante Esqueda

Team 4 Presentation
Emilio Joubert, Akshat Kumar, Katelyn Focella, Morgan Callwood


Eni S.p.A., an Italian multinational oil and gas company headquartered in Rome with an office in Washington, DC is once again participating in the event. Eni has operations in 80 countries and is currently the world's 6th most relevant oil and gas international company. Eni presented a challenge related to “How new energy resources - like old ones - can influence the world's industrial, economic and political structure" 

Eni Workshop Presentation

Team 1 Presentation (Winners)
Peter Giannino, Robert Cesar, Sam Denney, Misha Rindisbacher

Team 2 Presentation
Megan Carey, Isabelle Hupez, Caroline LaGumina

Team 3 Presentation (Winners)
Christine Xiao, Alexander Jaros, Bryce Tsai, Parker Malarkey

Team 4 Presentation
Nour Laswi, Lionel Simm, Bilva Chandra, Surag Srinivas

Team 5 Presentation
Gabriella Scipione, Emily Xue, Franz Sandil, Teddy Higgins


Applications of Gene Targeting Technology in Therapies

Wednesday, February 7th, 2018 at 5:30 p.m.
Intercultural Center Auditorium, Georgetown University
3700 O Street NW Washington, DC 20057



    Dr. Mario R. Capecchi
    2007 Nobel Laureate in Medicine
    Distinguished Professor in
    Human Genetics & Biology
    University of utah school of medicine

Mario R. Capecchi, Ph.D., was born in Verona, Italy, in 1937. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry and physics from Antioch College in 1961 and his Ph.D. in biophysics from Harvard University in 1967. After six years on the Harvard School of Medicine faculty he joined the University of Utah as a professor of biology in 1973.

Dr. Capecchi is best known for his pioneering work on the development of gene targeting in mouse embryo-derived stem cells. This technology allows scientists to create mutations in any desired gene, giving them virtually complete freedom to manipulate the DNA sequence in the genome of living mice.

His work in this area revolutionized the study of mammalian biology and is used to understand countless diseases by scientists worldwide. In 2007, he was recognized for this achievement with the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine, which he shared with Oliver Smithies and Martin Evans.

His current research interests include the molecular genetic analysis of early mouse development, neural development in mammals, production of mouse models of human genetic diseases, gene therapy, homologous recombination and programmed genomic rearrangements in the mouse.

Distinguished Professor of human genetics and biology, Dr. Capecchi belongs to the National Academy of Sciences and the European Academy of Sciences and most recently, the National Academy of Medicine. The Nobel Prize tops a long list of worldwide awards and recognition he has received for his scientific achievements.

"The Role of Immune Cells in Neuropsychiatric Disorders"


Gene targeting allows the designed modification of any gene in the mouse genome.  Since genes impact all biological phenomena this methodology can be used to study any biological phenomena common to mammals in the mouse.  We are using it to model human disease in the mouse.  The models can be used to analyze the pathology of the disease at a level not feasible in humans and as a platform for the development of new therapeutic protocols.  I will discuss modeling of a neuropsychiatric disorder, obsessive compulsive (OCD) spectrum disorder in the mouse.  Our analysis provides the unexpected conclusion that microglia, immune cells of the brain, normally control specific brain circuits, and that defective microglia results in aberrant behavior very similar to the human OCD spectrum disorder, trichotillomania.




    Edward B. Healton, M.D., M.P.h.
    Executive vice president for health sciences &
    Executive dean, georgetown university medicine

Edward B. Healton, MD, MPH, is Professor of Neurology and Executive Vice President for Health Sciences at Georgetown University and Executive Dean of the School of Medicine (EVP).


As EVP, Dr. Healton oversees a $270 million research and educational enterprise and is responsible for advancing the educational and research missions of Georgetown University Medical Center (GUMC), and working effectively with the leadership of MedStar Health, its clinical partner. GUMC comprises a School of Medicine (founded in 1851), a School of Nursing & Health Studies, the Biomedical Graduate Research Organization (BGRO), and Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Prior to his role as EVP, Dr Healton served as Chairman of the Department of Neurology and the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital (MGUH) and Georgetown University Medical Center (GUMC) from 2006 to 2015.  From 2001-2011, Dr. Healton also served as Senior Vice-President for Medical Affairs and the Medical Director of the MedStar National Rehabilitation Hospital (MNRH).  Since he joined MedStar and Georgetown University in 2001, Dr. Healton has focused on the growth of the clinical and academic programs at MNRH and MGUH, especially in the Neurosciences.

Under his clinical and academic leadership, Dr. Healton has led the development of opportunities for clinical and academic collaborations across Georgetown University , MedStar Health and MedStar Health Research Institute.

Receiving his undergraduate training from the University of Oregon and his medical training at Creighton University, Dr. Healton completed his postgraduate training in Neurology in the Columbia University residency program at the Neurological Institute, New York-Presbyterian Hospital. He also completed his Masters in Public Health at Columbia University.  Following the completion of his training, Dr. Healton’s subsequent tenure in New York included more than 30 years of clinical, academic and administrative management experience at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and Harlem Hospital Center. During that time, he served as Clinical Professor of Neurology, Senior Associate Dean and Assistant Vice-President at Columbia and Medical Director at Harlem Hospital Center. He also was appointed Emeritus Professor of Clinical Neurology at Columbia University.  Dr. Healton also published extensively, especially in the areas of cerebrovascular disease and the neurological complication of systemic diseases such as cobalamin deficiency and severe hypertension, as well as community based health services research. 

Dr. Healton serves on the Board of Directors of Trinity University and of the MedStar National Rehabilitation Hospital.