Regarded by the scientific community as a true pioneer, Paolo Sassone-Corsi, Ph.D., was UCI’s Donald Bren Professor of Biological Chemistry and director of the campus’s Center for Epigenetics and Metabolism. Steve Zylius / UCI

Irvine, Calif., Oct. 24, 2022 — The University of California, Irvine today announced an endowment from Estée Lauder to establish an epigenetics fellowship in honor of the late Paolo Sassone-Corsi, Ph.D., who was UCI’s Donald Bren Professor of Biological Chemistry and director of the campus’s Center for Epigenetics and Metabolism.

The fellowship will be awarded annually and will support doctoral students involved with scientific work in epigenetics. It will be granted to emerging scientists, scholars who demonstrate financial need and/or first-generation students.

“UCI’s partnership with Estée Lauder will enable the School of Medicine to recruit highly skilled, talented Ph.D. students who are fully engaged in pathbreaking research in epigenetics,” said Dr. Michael J. Stamos, dean of the UCI School of Medicine. “We look forward to the deeply impactful discoveries that will take shape through the Estée Lauder Epigenetics Fellowship in honor of the great Paolo Sassone-Corsi.”

Emiliana Borrelli, Ph.D., UCI Chancellor’s Professor of microbiology & molecular genetics, who was Sassone-Corsi’s wife and collaborator, added: “This fellowship celebrates Paolo’s extraordinary life and career and also commemorates his passion for advancing groundbreaking scientific work in epigenetics and giving back to the community, which are values that UCI and Estée Lauder share. His innovative research over three decades into the mechanisms regulating gene expression in health and disease will be continued by supporting the talented students who are poised to become the next leaders in this trailblazing field.”

“Estée Lauder strives to be at the forefront of skin scientific research,” said Nadine Pernodet, Ph.D., senior vice president, biosciences, the Estée Lauder Companies. “We began our collaboration with Paolo several years ago when he worked with us to explore new discoveries in microRNA, epigenetics and circadian rhythms in connection with skin. The latest technology in our iconic Advanced Night Repair face serum is inspired by Paolo’s research, which helped us understand how epigenetic factors can transform the way our skin ages. This fellowship is in honor of Paolo and the collaboration between our labs and demonstrates our commitment to his work and the brilliant students who will continue to deepen our understanding of the molecular mechanisms behind aging.”

A formal call for fellowship applicants will open in spring 2023, with the first fellow expected to be selected for the start of the 2023-24 academic year. The inaugural fellow will be honored next year at the Paolo Sassone-Corsi Lectureship, sponsored by Estée Lauder.

A native of Naples, Italy, Sassone-Corsi joined the UCI faculty as a Donald Bren Professor in 2006. During his significant scientific career, he made seminal discoveries in the field of gene expression and signal transduction in the 1980s and later on with circadian clocks and metabolism. Sassone-Corsi was regarded as a true pioneer by the scientific community. He died in July 2020 at the age of 64.

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About the University of California, Irvine: Founded in 1965, UCI is a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities and is ranked among the nation’s top 10 public universities by U.S. News & World Report. The campus has produced five Nobel laureates and is known for its academic achievement, premier research, innovation and anteater mascot. Led by Chancellor Howard Gillman, UCI has more than 36,000 students and offers 224 degree programs. It’s located in one of the world’s safest and most economically vibrant communities and is Orange County’s second-largest employer, contributing $7 billion annually to the local economy and $8 billion statewide. For more on UCI, visit

About Estée Lauder: Estée Lauder is the flagship brand of The Estée Lauder Companies Inc. Founded by Estée Lauder, one of the world’s first female entrepreneurs, the brand today continues her legacy of creating innovative, sophisticated, high-performance skincare and makeup products and iconic fragrances – all infused with a deep understanding of women’s needs and desires. Today, Estée Lauder engages with women in over 150 countries and territories around the world and at dozens of touch points – from in-store to digital. And each of these relationships consistently reflects Estée’s powerful and authentic woman-to-woman point of view. Follow @esteelauder on Instagram, Facebook, TwitterTikTok and YouTube.

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