In Houston as a part of a weeklong official diplomatic visit to the United States, Italian President Sergio Mattarella was updated on the latest developments in medicine from Giuseppe Colasurdo, M.D., Fabio Triolo, D.d.R., M.Phil., Ph.D.,  and 12 other Italian scientists and physicians.

“The entire meeting was conducted in Italian,” said Triolo, a regenerative medicine researcher at John P. and Kathrine G. McGovern Medical School at UTHealth. “Dr. Colasurdo was the first of the group to speak and gave an overview of the UT Health Science Center at Houston, and I talked about promising stem cell research.”

President and Alkek-Williams Distinguished Chair at UTHealth, Colasurdo was born in Morrone Del Sannio, Italy, and earned his medical degree from G. D’Annunzio School of Medicine in Chieti, Italy.  Triolo was born in Palermo, Italy, and earned a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Palermo and a Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences from Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York.

“During the meeting with President Mattarella, we each explained what type of research we are involved in,” Triolo said. “I’m working on innovative human cell- and tissue engineering-based therapies to treat congenital anatomical defects and to improve neurological conditions.”

While in the Space City on Feb. 12, Mattarella also met with Mayor Sylvester Turner, the Houston Chronicle editorial board and Italian astronauts at the Johnson Space Center.

Mattarella started his diplomatic visit in Washington, D.C., where he met President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, later traveled to New York City and concluded his trip with a stop in Houston.

Talk about a small world. “I graduated from the same high school and in the same year as President Mattarella’s son Bernardo,” Triolo said.