BOARD MEMBERS

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Cinzia Zuffada

ISSNAF President, Chair of the Board

Cinzia Zuffada joined NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Pasadena in 1992 and is currently the Associate Chief Scientist. As such she is a key contributor to the strategic planning of science and technology research and development for JPL and to managing institutional internal R&D investments.  Additionally, she oversees a number of programs supporting collaborations between JPL and the academic community.


For the past twenty years, she has led the pioneering Global Navigation Satellite Systems reflectometry technology development at JPL and has played a pivotal role in demonstrating the feasibility of the technique for ocean altimetry and land hydrology remote sensing. She is currently leading a research group to analyze data from the NASA CYGNSS mission to better understand dynamic processes of the terrestrial hydrology.


Cinzia Zuffada has a Doctorate of Engineering degree, Summa Cum Laude, from the University of Pavia, Italy, where she was a Tenured Researcher in Electromagnetic Fields Theory before moving to the US. She received the Teresian Medal from the University of Pavia in 2002, the Magellan award from JPL in 2014, the NASA Leadership medal in 2015, and the Ghislieri Life Achievement award in 2019. In 2016 she was honored by the Italian government with the Knighthood of the Order of Merit. In the winter of 2019 she served as the Science Fellow at the US embassy in Rome lending her expertise in Earth remote sensing to catalyze collaborations between Italy and the US.


She has been a member of the ISSNAF board of directors since December 2017.

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Enrica D'Ettorre

ISSNAF Vice President, Co-chair of the Board

Enrica D’Ettorre received  the “Laurea” degree in Computer Science from the University of Pisa, magna cum laude, in 1974. After her graduation, she held a full-time research position at CNUCE, an institute of the National Research Council.  In 1977 she obtained a post-doc position at the IBM Scientific Center in Palo Alto, CA, USA, to work on relational databases for personal computers until 1979.

Over the past 40 years Enrica D’Ettorre has continued to work in high-tech. In 2008 she was part of the founding team of DigitalPersona, a company focused on fingerprint recognition, authentication, identity management, and security. From 2002 to 2012, she was part of the DigitalPersona leadership team as VP of Software Engineering and Research, with the responsibility for product strategy and development for the consumer, enterprise, and developer product lines. The DigitalPersona products were adopted by Microsoft, HP and Dell.  The fingerprint recognition engine was a state-of-the-art engine for embedded applications utilized in laptops and smart phones.

Enrica D’Ettorre is actively involved in pro-bono work. She has been a Board member of the Italian Scientists and Scholars of North America Foundation (ISSNAF) since 2018, and vice-chair of the Board as of 11/22/2019.  She co-founded the ISSNAF Bay Area Chapter in 2017, and she serves as a Board member and Governance Committee Chair. Since 2016, she is a member of the board of La Scuola International School in San Francisco, currently chair of the Governance Committee.

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Pierluigi Zappacosta

Secretary, Treasurer, ISSNAF Founder

Pierluigi received the Laurea degree “cum laude” in electrical engineering from the University of Rome, Italy in 1974, and the Master of Science degree in computer science from Stanford University in 1978.

In 1981 he co-founded Logitech, a manufacturer of computer peripherals, where he served for 18 years first as President and CEO and later as Vice Chairman. He helped take Logitech public in Switzerland in 1988 and on NASDAQ in 1997. In 1996 he co-founded DigitalPersona, a biometry-based security company, and was its Chairman for several years. Between 2003 and 2013 he was CEO of Sierra Sciences, a biotech company working to extend the human health span. Currently he is an investor in technology companies in USA and Italy.

In 2007 he co-founded ISSNAF (Italian Scientists and Scholars in North America Foundation) and is currently its Secretary and Treasurer. In 2017 he co-founded the ISSNAF Bay Area Chapter and is currently its Chair. He is chairman of "Friends of Istituto Bruno Leoni" in USA and trustee of "Istituto Bruno Leoni" in Italy.

On June 2nd, 2003 he received the “Commendatore al Merito della Repubblica”. In October 2015, Pierluigi was knighted “Cavaliere del Lavoro” by the President of the Italian Republic.

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Vito Campese

Chair of the Honorary Board, ISSNAF Founder

Vito M. Campese, M.D. is Professor Emeritus of Medicine, Co-Director of the USC/UKRO Kidney Research Center, and a former chair of the Division of Nephrology at the Los Angeles County-University of Southern California (LAC-USC) Medical Center in Los Angeles, California. A native of Bari, Italy, he received his medical degree, Summa Cum Laude, from the University of Bari where he also completed his internship, residency and fellowship in nephrology before moving to the USA.

Dr. Campese is a Diplomate of the American Board of Internal Medicine, a Diplomate of the American Board of Nephrology, and a specialist on hypertension. He is also a member of the American Society of Nephrology, the American Society of Hypertension, the International Society of Nephrology and the International Society of Hypertension.

His research interests include such topics as salt sensitivity in hypertension, hypertension and renal failure, cytokines and the neurogenic control of blood pressure, and the role of the sympathetic nervous system in primary hypertension and hypertension associated with kidney disease. He is co-Chairman of an International Committee studying the causes of Mesoamerican nephropathy. He has been a member of the Institute of Health (NIH) Study Section, “Hypertension and Microcirculation.” Dr. Campese has authored over 320 scientific articles, and lectured, extensively, worldwide. He serves on the editorial board of such journals as the  Journal of Hypertension, Journal of Nephrology, and Clinical Nephrology

Vito Campese founded ISSNAF in 2007 and has been its President and Chair of the Board of Directors until November 2019. He is currently chair of the Honorary Board of Directors.

He is a Grand Officer of the Order of the Star of Italy in recognition of his work on preservation and promotion of national prestige abroad, promoting friendly relations and co-operation with the USA and Italy.

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Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini

Board Member, ISSNAF Founder

Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini has been a founding member of ISSNAF and has been for 11 years its vice-president. He is (since August 1999) Professor of Cognitive Science at the University of Arizona, member of the Cognitive Science Program, of the Department of Psychology, of the Department of Linguistics, and honorary member of the Department of Management and Organizations. In the Fall of 2020 he will again be visiting the Linguistics Department of Harvard University. In the Fall of 2013 he was a visiting scholar at the Department of Linguistics and Philosophy of MIT.
He has been the founder and director of the Department of Cognitive Science (DIPSCO), of the Scientific Institute San Raffaele, in Milan (Italy), and then professor of Cognitive Psychology at the San Raffaele University. Previously he was Principal Research Scientist at the Center for Cognitive Science of MIT, visiting professor at: MIT, Rutgers University, Harvard University, University of Maryland, the Collège de France (Paris, France), and at the University of Bologna. He obtained his doctorate in physics at the University of Rome (Italy) in 1969. His principal domains of research and teaching are Cognitive Science, Judgment and Decision Making, Biological Foundations of Language, Language Evolution, Philosophy of Mind, Philosophy of Science. He has been the recipient of the prize “Premio Il Rosone d’Oro”, for the diffusion of science to the general public, of Premio Tevere for the best book of non-fiction, Rome (Italy) and of the Medal of the Chambers of Representatives (Medaglia della Camera dei Deputati) for the diffusion of science.  He has also been for many years, and still is, a regular science correspondent, presently for the daily paper Il Foglio, previously for “La Stampa”, “Il Corriere della Sera” and “La Repubblica”.

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Marcello Romano

Board Member

Marcello Romano is a Full Professor of Astronautical Engineering in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering of the Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California. He earned his Ph.D. in Astronautical Engineering (2001) and Laurea degree in Aerospace Engineering (1997) from Politecnico di Milano, Italy. Between 2001 and 2003 he was a National Research Council postdoctoral fellow, before joining the faculty of the Naval Postgraduate School in 2004. Marcello has held visiting positions at the Technical University of Munich (2012), Stanford University (2018) and NASA Ames Research Center (2018).

His areas of research include astrodynamics, orbital robotics, guidance, control, and space systems engineering. He has published more than fifty journal publications, owns eight awarded patents, and has authored an upcoming textbook on Orbital Space Robotics.

In 2019, Marcello was elected an Academician in the International Academy of Astronautics. He is the recipient of the 2020 Patti Grace Smith Award of the American Astronautical Society, and the 2006 Carl and Jesse Menneken Award, which is the highest honor awarded by NPS for research accomplishments. Since 2009, he has been an Associate Fellow in the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA).

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Alberto Salleo

Board Member

Alberto  Salleo is Full Professor of Materials Science &  Engineering and Department Chair at Stanford University. Alberto Salleo  holds a Laurea degree in Chemistry from La Sapienza and graduated as a  Fulbright Fellow with a PhD in Materials Science from UC Berkeley in  2001. For his PhD Alberto studied the origins of high-power laser damage  in synthetic silica, a fundamental hurdle in the development of the  National Ignition Facility at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. From 2001 to 2005 Alberto was first post-doctoral research fellow and  successively member of research staff at Xerox Palo Alto Research  Center, the famed innovation centers in the Silicon Valley. At PARC  Alberto conducted research on the fabrication and characterization of  plastic-based electronics and printing of optoelectronic components for  displays. In 2005 Alberto joined the Materials Science and Engineering  Department at Stanford as an Assistant Professor.

While  at Stanford, Alberto won the NSF Career Award, the 3M Untenured Faculty  Award, the SPIE Early Career Award, the Tau Beta Pi Excellence in  Undergraduate Teaching Award, and the Gores Award for Excellence in  Teaching, Stanford’s highest teaching honor. Alberto is Associate Editor  of MRS Communications since 2011 and has published over 200  peer-reviewed articles in addition to editing 2 books. He has been a  Thomson Reuters Highly Cited Researcher since 2015, recognizing that he  ranks in the top 1% cited researchers in his field. In 2020 he was  knighted as Cavaliere Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana for his  service to Italy and the Italian scientific community in the Bay Area.

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Maurizio Vecchione

Board Member

Maurizio  Vecchione is executive vice president of Global Good and Research at  Intellectual Ventures (IV). In this role, Maurizio oversees Global Good,  IV’s collaboration with Bill Gates to invent and deploy technology  specifically focused on improving life in developing countries, as well  as the research and operations of the Intellectual Ventures Laboratory  (IV Lab) and Institute for Disease Modeling. Under his leadership,  Global Good and IV Lab engage in cutting-edge research and invention for  the benefit of humanity around global health and global development  priorities.

Maurizio  has nearly 30 years of experience in research and the technology  sector, most recently serving as CEO of Arrogene and prior to that as  CEO of telemedicine pioneer CompuMed. He has contributed to building  nine startups and helped launch more than 50 commercial products,  resulting in more than $1 billion in shareholder value. His work spans  the software, internet, wireless and life sciences sectors, primarily in  connection with translational sciences for science derived from  government and academic research and development efforts.
Maurizio is involved in several nonprofit initiatives, including his  role as co-founder and member of the board of ReefQuest, a global  organization focused on fostering marine environmental stewardship in  children through citizen science. An inventor, he is named on multiple  U.S. patents and patent applications related to imaging, image  processing, and nano-bio-polymer and telecommunications technologies.  Maurizio studied physics at the University of California, Berkeley.

Maurizio Vecchione has been on the ISSNAF board of Directors since November 2017.

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