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Dr Fiorella Belpoggi has dedicated her career to the identification of industrial and environmental carcinogens. As vice scientific director and chief of pathology at the European Foundation of Oncology and Environmental Sciences B Ramazzini, European Ramazzini Foundation, Bologna, Italy, she has led experimental studies of widely diffused substances, including benzene, methyl tert-butyl ether and other octane enhancers, ionising radiation and aspartame. Belpoggi has also conducted studies on the chemoprevention of tumours, particularly breast cancer, by using both natural and artificial compounds.
During her 25-year collaboration with mentor Professor Cesare Maltoni, her work contributed to the adaptation of international standards to better protect public health against the hazards of vinyl chloride, benzene and methyl tert-butyl ether. Currently, Belpoggi is leading the ERF integrated project on electromagnetic fields originating from electricity and cellular telephone technology. Belpoggi approaches carcinogenesis with her personal motto “per aspera ad astra” (Seneca), which, in Latin, signifies that “one only arrives at the stars by overcoming great difficulties”.