EFI Medal Laureate 2021: Luca Mascaretti

The EFI medal is awarded by the Executive Committee to individuals who have made a significant contribution to our Society during the course of their career. This certainly is the case for Luca Mascaretti, who received this recognition during the General Assembly of the virtual EFI meeting in Glasgow.

EFI is an international Society, and Luca’s CV has been international from the beginning of his life. He was born in Sao Paolo, Brazil, but moved to England at a young age to complete an international baccalaureate in Wales. His University studies were done in Italy, where obtained an MD and subsequent Board in Hematology from the University of Pavia. He later returned to the UK for a Master’s Degree in Medical Molecular Biology in London. His comprehensive training in medical life sciences was completed by a diploma of Health Management for Hospital Directors from Milan.

Luca’s professional career has been centered in Italy, with three appointments, each for over a decade, being at the Policlinico di Milano, the San Gerardo Hospital in Monza and the Riuniti Hospital in Trieste. Here he became intimately involved in transplantation, both from the clinical and from the laboratory side. In Milan this was centered on solid organ transplantation, the Policlinico di Milano being the reference center for the North Italy Transplant Program. In Monza, his focus shifted more towards blood and stem cell donations, and the relevant H&I services under his direction. In 2009, he became the Director of the Blood Transfusion Service in Trieste, where he served intermittently for 2 years as Medical Director for the entire Riuniti Hospital. Luca brilliantly fulfilled the multiple challenges attached to this position, earning respect and popularity with colleagues regardless of position or standing

Within EFI, Luca has played an active role for over 15 years. He started to serve as an EFI inspector in 2006, and was asked to become one of the Italian Commissioners for EFI Accreditation in 2009. In 2011, he also became General Secretary of the Accreditation Committee. Luca interrupted these positions for a few years due to his afore-mentioned commitments in Trieste, resumed them between 2017 and his retirement in 2021.

Luca has been a very popular colleague for his well-known competence, integrity, altruism and his subtle sense of humor. He has been a highly demanded lecturer for both students and professionals, and his presentations at inspectors’ workshops were appreciated for their clarity and practical utility. On the scientific side, Luca was involved in numerous peer-reviewed publications in our field, including a position statement from AIBT regarding tissue typing for HLA associated disease, and an invited review in HLA on the EFI Accreditation program, which he contributed together with Andrea Harmer, another recipient of the EFI medal 2021, and Ed Petershofen (https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/tan.13289).

In his work as EFI inspector and commissioner, Luca has been well-known for his personal integrity, as one who always made fair and unbiased judgements and was a great team-player. These assets were appreciated by all those who had the pleasure to work with him, including his colleagues at the Accreditation Committee, his fellow inspectors as well as the team members of the laboratories he directed. The altruistic side of blood and stem cell donation was particularly well suited to Luca’s personality, and his personal engagement has been an important contribution to Italian donor recruitment campaigns for many years. Last but not least, Luca is always one to have a good time with. His sense of humor is subtle and infectious, and he was a marvelous host of workshops and conferences.

Luca is a close friend of Francesca Poli, whom he worked with for many years in Milan, and who is kindred to him in many of his professional and personal qualities. It was therefore particularly nice that the EFI Office arranged for Francesca to hand over the EFI medal to Luca in her apartment in Milan, as unfortunately this could not be done personally during the General Assembly.

With the EFI medal, the EFI community says a big thank you to Luca for everything he did for our Society, for H&I and the patients in need of transplantation, and for the colleagues who had the privilege to work with him. Grazie e un grande abbraccio da tutti noi!

Katharina Fleischhauer