Claudio Luchinat

Claudio Luchinat, Center of Magnetic Resonance, University of Florence#

"Metabolomics for preventive and personalized medicine"#


Metabolomics is the "systematic study of the unique chemical fingerprints that specific cellular processes leave behind", the study of their small-molecule metabolite profiles. The metabolome represents the collection of all metabolites in a biological cell, tissue, organ or organism, which are the end products of cellular processes. mRNA gene expression data and proteomic analyses reveal the set of gene products being produced in the cell, data that represents one aspect of cellular function. Conversely, metabolic profiling can give an instantaneous snapshot of the physio-pathology of that cell. One of the challenges of systems biology and functional genomics is to integrate proteomic, transcriptomic, and metabolomic information to provide a better understanding of cellular biology and to apply it to preventive and personalized medicine.

In the last few years, metabolomic studies at the systemic level (blood and/or urine) have shown that a clear fingerprint exists for several pathologies, in some cases emerging at a very early stage. Although obviously limited in the number of patients and controls, these studies have enough statistical power to at least warrant further investigations on larger cohorts. I am personally convinced that we are right now only looking at the tip of the iceberg, and that metabolomic fingerprinting, if pursued at a one-to-two orders of magnitude higher scale, may have a dramatic impact on our way of conceiving preventive and personalized medicine.


Claudio Luchinat is Professor at the Center of Magnetic Resonance, University of Florence.

Born in 1952, he received his Doctorate in Chemistry cum laude March 1976

Positions held
  • University of Florence: Post-doc, 1976-1978; recipient of a CNR research grant, 1978-1981; tenure researcher, 1981-1986 (Faculty of Pharmacy and Faculty of Sciences).
  • University of Bologna: Full professor of General and Inorganic Chemistry, Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, 1986-1996.
  • University of Florence: Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, 1996-2012 and Faculty of Sciences, 2012 to present.

  • IBM visiting scientist, T.J. Watson Research Center, Yorktown Heights, N.Y., 1981, 1983, 1984, 1986; visiting professor, State University of New York, Plattsburgh, 1982; recipient of a J.S.P.S. (Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science) fellowship as visiting professor, 1987; visiting scientist at the California Institute of Technology, 1988; visiting Professor at the University of Ioannina, 1993; visiting Professor for the "Troisième Cycle" at the Universities of Genève and Lausanne, 1988 and 1999;
  • Regional representative of the Italian Association of Inorganic Chemistry, 1983-1985; member of the National Committee of the Magnetic Resonance Discussion Group, 1987-1989 and 1989-1991; Member of CNR committees for the selection of CNR Research Directors, 1992, 2009 and 2013; member of Progetto Finalizzato CNR Committee, 1995; member of the Board of Directors for the Interuniversity Consortia INCA (1994-1998) and CIRMMP (1995 to present).
  • Coordinator of the International Doctorate School in Structural Biology in collaboration with the Universities of Frankfurt and Utrecht (2001-2009, and 2013 to present).
  • Scientific Coordinator or Principal Investigator in European research projects since Framework Programme III.
  • Co-founder of the Magnetic Resonance Center of the University of Florence (CERM), of the Interuniversity Consortium on Magnetic Resonance of Metalloproteins (CIRMMP), of the spin-off Giotto Biotech Srl, and of the not-for-profit biomedical research organization Fiorgen.
  • President of the Interuniversity Consortium on Magnetic Resonance of Metalloproteins (CIRMMP) since 2011.
  • "Raffaello Nasini" gold medal award for Inorganic Chemistry of the Italian Chemical Society, 1989; Federchimica Award "For an Intelligent Future", 1994; European Medal for Biological Inorganic Chemistry, awarded by the Society of Biological Inorganic Chemistry,1996; "GDRM gold medal for magnetic resonance", 2001.
  • Member of the Supervisory Board of the Paramagnetic NMR Facility of the University of Leiden, 2013 to present; member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the French High Field NMR Research Infrastructure, IT-RMN-THC, 2014 to present;
  • Member of several scientific societies, editor of several journals, organizer of large conferences and many symposia and workshops.

Scientific Activity

His research interests include bioinorganic chemistry, structural biology, Development of NMR-based structural methodologies in solution and in the solid state, metalloproteins and metalloenzymes, enzyme-inhibitor interactions, structure-function relationships, spectroscopy, theory of electron and nuclear relaxation, NMR of paramagnetic species, relaxometry, contrast agents. In the last decade, he has also provided many scientific contributions on metabolomics and NMR-based analytical methods.

He is the author of more than 540 research articles, written in English, published in internationally renowned scientific journals. His h-index is 66, and his publications have been quoted more than 18000 times.

He is the author of the following books: C. Luchinat, S. Aime and G. Valensin “NMR Spectroscopy: Applications in Inorganic and Bioinorganic Chemistry”, AICI, 1984; I. Bertini, C. Luchinat, “NMR of Paramagnetic Molecules in Biological Systems”, Benjamin-Cummings, 1986; I. Bertini, L. Banci, C. Luchinat “ Nuclear and Electron Relaxation”, VCH, 1991; I. Bertini, C. Luchinat, “NMR of Paramagnetic Substances”, Elsevier, 1996; I. Bertini, C. Luchinat and G. Parigi “Solution NMR of Paramagnetic Molecules” Elsevier, 2001.

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