Foto del docente

Maria Letizia Petroni

Associate Professor

Department of Medical and Surgical Sciences

Academic discipline: MED/49 Food and Dietetic Sciences

Curriculum vitae

 After graduating from the University of Milan, she was Clinical Research Fellow at the St. George's Hospital Medical School, London at the Departments of Gastroenterology (Prof. Tim Northfield) and subsequently at the Department of Physiology (Prof. Mike Stock) doing research on pathophysiology and therapy of metabolic complications of gastroenterological conditions (1989-1991) and subsequently on the pathophysiology of adipose tissue in obesity (1995).

From 1994 to 2010 she has been Senior Researcher and subsequently Deputy Director at the Experimental Laboratory of Nutritional Research IRCCS Istituto Auxologico Italiano, S. Giuseppe Piancavallo Hospital (VB); at the same IRCCS she held the role of Head of the Dietetics and Clinical Nutrition Service and, from 1996 to 2009, Head of the Nutritional and Gastroenterological Rehabilitation Unit.

Later, she worked as free-lance clinical and scientific supervisor in the field of rehabilitation of morbid and disabling obesity.

Current clinical attachment is at IRCCS Policlinico Sant’Orsola-Malpighi, Division of Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism

The research interests are aimed in particular at the clinical management of morbid and disabling obesity, at the cognitive-behavioral therapy of obesity and metabolic diseases, with particular focus on non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). She currently focuses her research on ways to improve efficacy of therapeutic education in various fields (NASH, metabolic diseases, obesity, binge-eating disorder, patients undergoing bariatric surgery) and on medical nutritional therapy. She also conducts research in the field of human nutrition, in particular on innovative digital methods of food education and environmental sustainability in catering, tourist facilities and large-scale distribution.

She graduated in Medicine and Surgery at the University of Milan in 1988, she obtained the MPhil in Gastroenterology at St. George's Hospital Medical School in London in 1992 and the Specialization in Internal Medicine in 1993 in Milan.

Academic career
Several years of contract teaching (2002-2009) at the University of Eastern Piedmont (Nursing Sciences), the University of Pavia (School of Specialization in Food Sciences), the University of Turin (School of Specialization in Food science). From 2010 to 2012 she acted as Deputy Director of the Master in Food and Nutrition in developmental age at the University of the Republic of San Marino. Lecturer at the Master in Nutrition and Health Education at Alma Mater University of Bologna from 2011 to 2019. Since 4th November 2018 she has been a senior assistant professor (tenure-track) at the University of Bologna, since 5th Novembre 2021 she was upgraded to Associate Professor in Clinical Nutrition- Food and Dietetic Science.

Teaching activity
He currently holds courses in:

- Applied Dietetic Technical Sciences 5 at the Bachelor's Degree Course in Dietetics

- Applied Nutrition at the Master's Degree in Sports Sciences and Techniques-STAS (Bologna Campus)

- Nutrition Education and Community Dietetics at the Master's Degree in Human Nutrition, Wellness and Health (Rimini Campus)

He also teaches at the Schools of Specialization in Sports' Medicine and Nutritional Sciences (School of Medicine)

Scientific activity

Competitive research grants

  • PR-FESR Emilia Romagna 2021-2027. Call for strategic industrial research projects addressing priority areas of the smart specialisation strategy 2023-2024. I-TexS, Impact Technologies for Services. Operational Unit head and senior expert at INT.TUR - Technological Innovation in Tourism – UNIBO (coordinator) (2023-2026)
  • European Project EU4H-2022-PJ-11 — Call for proposals on NCDs – cardiovascular diseases and diabetes: “Counteracting Diabetes USing interdisciplinary Educative programs – DUSE” – Senior expert at UNIBO team (coordinator) (2023-2026)
  • PRIN (Italian Ministry of University grant) 2022 (2022YXXZH) “ Nutritional- and EXTernalities- driven food shopping CART NEXTCART” – Operational Unit Head (2023-2025)
  • Executive Project National Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (CCM) 2022 'Application of preventive diagnostic-therapeutic-assistance pathways (PPDTA) for the integrated management of overweight/obese individuals through effective, appropriate and sustainable targeted interventions starting from the existing health network' - Operational Unit head (2023-2025)
  • European Project PRIMA (Partnership on Research and Innovation in the Mediterranean Area) “Circular and Inclusive utilisation of alternative PROteins in the MEDiterranean value chains (CIPROMED)” – Responsible for DIMEC (Dipartimento Scienze Mediche e Chirurgiche) subunit for UNIBO (2023-2027)
  • Coordinator Alma Idea Project - Line of Intervention A - "Study of the effect of pulsed electromagnetic fields (PEMFs) on energy metabolism in subjects with obesity(2022-2023)
  • Co-principal investigator Current IRCCS research of the project 'Implementation of pre-transplant nutritional status and sarcopenia as a prognostic factor for treatment success (2022-2024)

Coordinator of research programs of the Italian Ministry of Health: NURISK (1999) (Interaction between nutritional, socio-behavioral and metabolic factors in the prevention of cardiovascular disease: development of nutritional strategies on the population); FISAR (2000) (physiopathological characterization and diagnosis of sarcopenia in the Italian population at risk and development of multidisciplinary prevention, diagnosis and intervention strategies) and the Applied Scientific Research project of the Piedmont Region "Prospective observational cohort study on associated health economics of morbid obesity in Piedmont "(2004).

Principal Investigator and sub-investigatorin a number of sponsored clinical trials.

Expert reviewer since 2017 for the European Commission of research projects in the Horizon 2020 program (RIA Research and Innovation action and IA Innovation Action - Societal Challenges - Sustainable Food Security) and currently in the Horizon Europe program (Farm-To-Fork)

Referee for international journals in the nutrition and metabolism sector.

Institutional activities

Expert of the Ministry of Health in the Working Group "Diagnostic and therapeutic appropriateness for obesity and diabetes" (2010)

Currently member of the Ethics Commitee of the Azienda Provinciale per i Servizi Sanitari of the the Province of Trento (2018-)

Other activities

Member of the National Executive Council of SIO (Italian Obesity Society) (2008-2012)

President of the Lombardy section of the Italian Association of Dietetics and Clinical Nutrition (ADI) (2015-2019)

Currently Secretary of the National Council of the ADI Foundation (2022-), Directors' Board member since 2019

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