International Networks and Italian Modernization. Ruggero Cappellini, Genetics and HLA

Mauro Capocci


The paper reconstructs the scientific career of Ruggero Ceppellini, focusing especially on his role in the discovery of the genetic system underlying the Human Leucocyte Antigen. From his earliest investigations in blood group genetics, Ceppellini quickly became an internationally acknowledged authority in the field of immunogenetics the study of genetics by means of immunological tools and participated to the endeavor that ultimately yelded a new meaning for the word: thanks to the pioneering research in the HLA field, immunogenetics became the study of the genetic control of immune system. The paper will also place Ceppellinis scientific work against the backdrop of the modernization of Italian genetics after WWII, resulting from the efforts of a handful of scientists to connect to international networks and adopting new methodologies in life sciences.

Key words: Ruggero Ceppellini - Immunogenetics - HLA - Genetics - Italy

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