School of Medicine

Gifts in Memory of Paolo Sassone-Corsi, 1956-2020


Paolo Sassone-Corsi

Paolo Sassone-Corsi, PhD, Director of the Center for Epigenetics and Metabolism, and Donald Bren Professor in the Department of Biological Chemistry, School of Medicine at UCI, passed away in July 2020. A renowned leader in epigenetics and the body clock, Paolo spent three decades pioneering research on the mechanisms regulating gene expression in health and disease. His studies on the regulation of circadian rhythms are milestones in the advancement of knowledge on how the daily dark/light cycles modify our physiology. 


Paolo knew that he wanted to be a scientist from the time he was a teenager; he dedicated his life to it. He never considered research a job, but a passion. His conferences were always aimed at reaching as many people in the audience as possible, allowing anybody to understand biology and how the environment influences our life and well being. When asked when he would retire, his answer was: “never, I’ll be doing this as long as I live.” Unfortunately, his heart stopped in July 2020, putting an end to his life and amazing science.

Paolo Sassone-Corsi published over 450 peer-reviewed articles in the highest ranked scientific journals and was honored with a number of prestigious global scientific awards. 


Paolo’s renowned research programs brought international esteem to UCI, where he organized the biennial “Epigenetic Control and Cellular Plasticity” symposium, which attracted Nobel laureates and eminent scientists in the field. 


Paolo was known not only for his research, but for his lively and caring character. This is testified by the numerous eulogies published by high impact journals.

In the words of a tribute in Cell, “For those who knew Paolo well, his legacy is not only his science, but the memory of the exemplary man that had deep compassion for others, followed personal convictions, and saw the beauty and magic in life every day.” 


From Cell Death and Disease: “Some men are meant to leave a mark of their passage. Some, more than others, are remembered for their talent, their ability to translate into simple words things that appear distant and impossible to achieve to most of us. Paolo Sassone-Corsi was one such man.”


From Science: “I will remember him for his beautiful lectures, his charm, his warmth, the twinkle in his eye when he would gently tease you, his passion for science, and his love and pride for his students and postdocs. More than anything, many of us will remember his zest for life, food, wine, and science, and his incredibly generous hospitality.”


His wife, family, and friends will forever miss him.


Honoring Paolo’s Legacy

We invite you to participate in honoring Paolo’s exemplary dedication to understanding the most complex biological processes as well as his life and scientific legacy. Paolo Sassone-Corsi was an advocate of the importance of education and knowledge of science. He knew that understanding and studying complex mechanisms is the only way to help humanity to fight diseases.  By making a donation in his memory to generate an endowed fund in his name, you will help realize his dream and honor science.


Donate online here

Or mail a check, payable to “UCI Foundation,” with “In memory of Dr. Sassone-Corsi" on the memo line, to:


ATTN: Joy Kliewer

UCI Health Advancement

333 City Boulevard West, Suite 605

Orange, CA 92868


For more information, contact Joy Kliewer, Director of Development, UCI Health System, at



CSH 1983 Enhancers and Controlling Elements 
with Pierre Chambon (left) and Joe Nevins (right)


  • Masri, S., Goding, C.R., and Leff, T. Paolo Sassone-Corsi (1956–2020). (2020). Cell 182, 1363-1365.

  • Verdin, E. Paolo Sassone-Corsi (1956–2020). Groundbreaking Molecular Biologist and Epigeneticist (2020). Science Vol. 370, Issue 6516, 532.

  • Bifulco M. and Usiello A. Remembering Paolo Sassone-Corsi. (2020). Cell Death Dis. 11(9), 759.