Annamaria Torriani-Gorini

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Annamaria Torriani-Gorini
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BornDecember 19, 1918
DiedMay 2, 2013
EducationPh.D. in botany
Alma materUniversity of Milan

Annamaria Torriani-Gorini (December 19, 1918 – May 2, 2013) was an Italian microbiologist best known for her work with bacterial alkaline phosphatase and bacterial physiologyDraft:Annamaria Torriani-Gorini#%20Longtime%20biology%20professor|5. Torriani-Gorini earned her Ph.D. in botany at the University of MilanDraft:Annamaria Torriani-Gorini#%20In%20Memoriam:%20Annamaria|3, Draft:Annamaria Torriani-Gorini#%20Longtime%20biology%20professor|5, worked at the Pasteur Institute|Institute Pasteur in ParisDraft:Annamaria Torriani-Gorini#%20Beckwith%2C%20J.%20R.%2C|1, Draft:Annamaria Torriani-Gorini#%20Longtime%20biology%20professor|5, had a postdoctoral fellowship at New york university school of medicine|New York University School of Medicine, was a research associate at Harvard University, and a professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology|MITDraft:Annamaria Torriani-Gorini#%20Beckwith%2C%20J.%20R.%2C|1, Draft:Annamaria Torriani-Gorini#%20In%20Memoriam:%20Annamaria|3, Draft:Annamaria Torriani-Gorini#%20Longtime%20biology%20professor|5, Draft:Annamaria Torriani-Gorini#%20The%20New%20York|13. Torriani-Gorini received a Career Development Award from the National Institutes of HealthDraft:Annamaria Torriani-Gorini#%20Superintendent%20of%20Documents.|12 and a Fulbright scholarship to teach and conduct research on the control of macromolecular synthesis at the Center for Cellular and Molecular Biology in India. Torriani-Gorini strongly believed in and advocated for social and economic justice. She and her husband went as far as to transform a large house in the Italian Alps into a home to rehabilitate Jewish orphans who were liberated from concentration camps. Additionally, she was an avid supporter of efforts to demand equal treatment of women in science.

Early life and education

Childhood and family

Torriani-Gorini was born on December 19, 1918, in Milan after a bout of the Spanish flu killed her 10-year-old other brother. She was raised by her parents Ada Forti and Carlo Torriani in Milan with her sister, Clara Cattoretti, two years her junior.


In 1942, Torriani-Gorini earned her Ph.D. in botany from the University of Milan.

Personal Life


Luigi Gorini and Torriani-Gorini met as colleagues in the lab in Milan in the early 1940sDraft:Annamaria Torriani-Gorini#%20Beckwith%2C%20J.%20R.%2C|1, Draft:Annamaria Torriani-Gorini#%20Longtime%20biology%20professor|5. Luigi Gorini was a member of the socialist party and was heavily involved in the movement against fascismDraft:Annamaria Torriani-Gorini#%20Beckwith%2C%20J.%20R.%2C|1, Draft:Annamaria Torriani-Gorini#%20Longtime%20biology%20professor|5. The two got married after World War IIDraft:Annamaria Torriani-Gorini#%20Kennedy%2C%20D.%20(1987%2C|4, Draft:Annamaria Torriani-Gorini#%20Longtime%20biology%20professor|5. The couple shared a son, Daniel GoriniDraft:Annamaria Torriani-Gorini#%20Beckwith%2C%20J.%20R.%2C|1, Draft:Annamaria Torriani-Gorini#%20The%20New%20York|13 (married to Radhika Bagai), who died of cancer in 2019, and were grandparents to Marco and Nika GoriniDraft:Annamaria Torriani-Gorini#%20Longtime%20biology%20professor|5, Draft:Annamaria Torriani-Gorini#%20Sudden%20Death%20of|11. Torriani-Gorini and Gorini shared a passion for social and economic justiceDraft:Annamaria Torriani-Gorini#%20Longtime%20biology%20professor|5. In particular, they heavily protested against repression, inequality, and military aggressionDraft:Annamaria Torriani-Gorini#%20Longtime%20biology%20professor|5. The two transformed a large house in the village of Selvino into a home to rehabilitate approximately 800 Jewish orphans who were liberated from concentration camps and prepared them for emigration to Palestine (region)|PalestineDraft:Annamaria Torriani-Gorini#%20Beckwith%2C%20J.%20R.%2C|1, Draft:Annamaria Torriani-Gorini#%20Kennedy%2C%20D.%20(1987%2C|4, Draft:Annamaria Torriani-Gorini#%20Longtime%20biology%20professor|5, Draft:Annamaria Torriani-Gorini#%20Sudden%20Death%20of|11, Draft:Annamaria Torriani-Gorini#%20The%20New%20York|13. For their work to house these children who survived the Nazi Germany|Nazi concentration camps and their advocacy against the fascists, they received the Raoul Wallenberg Commemorative Award from the state chapter of the National Conference of Christians and JewsDraft:Annamaria Torriani-Gorini#%20Beckwith%2C%20J.%20R.%2C|1, Draft:Annamaria Torriani-Gorini#%20Kennedy%2C%20D.%20(1987%2C|4, Draft:Annamaria Torriani-Gorini#%20Raoul%20Wallenberg%20Award.|7. In 1976, the government of Israel honored them for their efforts in housing the orphaned Jewish children and teensDraft:Annamaria Torriani-Gorini#%20Beckwith%2C%20J.%20R.%2C|1. They were recognized by the Martyrs and Heroes Archives at Yad-Vashem, IsraelDraft:Annamaria Torriani-Gorini#%20Beckwith%2C%20J.%20R.%2C|1. The couple lived in Paris for 10 years as they worked as researchers at institutes in the city before moving to the United States in 1956Draft:Annamaria Torriani-Gorini#%20In%20Memoriam:%20Annamaria|3, Draft:Annamaria Torriani-Gorini#%20Kennedy%2C%20D.%20(1987%2C|4, Draft:Annamaria Torriani-Gorini#%20Longtime%20biology%20professor|5. According to their son, when they moved to the United States, Torriani-Gorini and Gorini continued to speak out, through newspapers, protests, and lectures, against “…US support of repressive, right-wing governments in Southeast Asia, the Americas, and Africa.” Draft:Annamaria Torriani-Gorini#%20Longtime%20biology%20professor|5 They became US citizens in the early 1960sDraft:Annamaria Torriani-Gorini#%20Longtime%20biology%20professor|5. Additionally, Torriani-Gorini made many charitable donations to the Southern Poverty Law Center and Citizens for Participation in Political ActionDraft:Annamaria Torriani-Gorini#%20Longtime%20biology%20professor|5. Following the death of her husband in 1976, Torriani-Gorini and a small group of friends and colleagues began hiking in NepalDraft:Annamaria Torriani-Gorini#%20Longtime%20biology%20professor|5. When she was 78 years old, she went on her final 30-day hike to the Annapurna SanctuaryDraft:Annamaria Torriani-Gorini#%20Longtime%20biology%20professor|5.


Torriani-Gorini died on May 2nd in 2013 at 94 years old in her home in MassachusettsDraft:Annamaria Torriani-Gorini#%20In%20Memoriam:%20Annamaria|3.

Awards and Honors


Giulio Ronzoni Istituto Chimica e Biochimica

After earning her PhD at the University of Milan, Torriani-Gorini was a research associate at the Giulio Ronzoni Istituto Chimica e Biochimica in Milan from 1942 – 1948Draft:Annamaria Torriani-Gorini#%20In%20Memoriam:%20Annamaria|3, Draft:Annamaria Torriani-Gorini#%20Longtime%20biology%20professor|5.

Institute Pasteur

Torriani-Gorini was at the Institute Pasteur in Paris for 8 years, 6 of which she was on the facultyDraft:Annamaria Torriani-Gorini#%20Beckwith%2C%20J.%20R.%2C|1, Draft:Annamaria Torriani-Gorini#%20In%20Memoriam:%20Annamaria|3, Draft:Annamaria Torriani-Gorini#%20Longtime%20biology%20professor|5. From 1950 to 1956 she was on the facultyDraft:Annamaria Torriani-Gorini#%20Longtime%20biology%20professor|5. During her time there, she worked with Melvin Cohn and Jacques MonodDraft:Annamaria Torriani-Gorini#%20Beckwith%2C%20J.%20R.%2C|1, Draft:Annamaria Torriani-Gorini#%20Cohen%2C%20G.%20N.|2, Draft:Annamaria Torriani-Gorini#%20Longtime%20biology%20professor|5, Draft:Annamaria Torriani-Gorini#%20Stent%2C%20G.%20S.|10. Cohn and Monod went on to win the 1965 Nobel Prize in Medicine or PhysiologyDraft:Annamaria Torriani-Gorini#%20Beckwith%2C%20J.%20R.%2C|1, Draft:Annamaria Torriani-Gorini#%20Cohen%2C%20G.%20N.|2, Draft:Annamaria Torriani-Gorini#%20Longtime%20biology%20professor|5, Draft:Annamaria Torriani-Gorini#%20Stent%2C%20G.%20S.|10.

New York University School of Medicine

In 1956, Torriani-Gorini won a Fulbright postdoctoral fellowshipDraft:Annamaria Torriani-Gorini#%20Longtime%20biology%20professor|5. This gave her the opportunity to spend two years in the department of microbiology at New york university school of medicine|New York University School of MedicineDraft:Annamaria Torriani-Gorini#%20Longtime%20biology%20professor|5.

Cold Spring Harbor Symposia on Quantitative Biology

In 1968, Torriani-Gorini attended the symposia on quantitative biology for the replication of DNA in microorganismsDraft:Annamaria Torriani-Gorini#%20Replication%20of%20DNA|8.

Harvard University

In 1958, Torriani-Gorini worked as a research associate in the departments of biology and biochemistry at Harvard UniversityDraft:Annamaria Torriani-Gorini#%20In%20Memoriam:%20Annamaria|3, Draft:Annamaria Torriani-Gorini#%20Longtime%20biology%20professor|5.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

During her time at MIT, Torriani-Gorini was very involved in many different Committees and taught an undergraduate introductory laboratory course in the Department of BiologyDraft:Annamaria Torriani-Gorini#%20Longtime%20biology%20professor|5. From 1960 to 1989, Torriani-Gorini was a Professor at MITDraft:Annamaria Torriani-Gorini#%20In%20Memoriam:%20Annamaria|3, Draft:Annamaria Torriani-Gorini#%20Longtime%20biology%20professor|5, Draft:Annamaria Torriani-Gorini#%20The%20New%20York|13, Draft:Annamaria Torriani-Gorini#%20Women%40MIT%20Archival%20Initiative.|16. Torriani-Gorini started as a research associate in the department of biology in 1960Draft:Annamaria Torriani-Gorini#%20In%20Memoriam:%20Annamaria|3, Draft:Annamaria Torriani-Gorini#%20Longtime%20biology%20professor|5. From 1962 to 1972 her work at MIT was supported by a Career Development Award from the National Institutes of HealthDraft:Annamaria Torriani-Gorini#%20Longtime%20biology%20professor|5, Draft:Annamaria Torriani-Gorini#%20Superintendent%20of%20Documents.|12, Draft:Annamaria Torriani-Gorini#%20U.S.%20Department%20of|14. From 1970 to 1973 Torriani-Gorini was on the Undergraduate advising CommitteeDraft:Annamaria Torriani-Gorini#%20Longtime%20biology%20professor|5. From 1974 to 1978 she took part in the Wellesley-MIT Exchange ProgramDraft:Annamaria Torriani-Gorini#%20Longtime%20biology%20professor|5. In 1971 Torriani-Gorini earned tenure and became an associate professor of biology and was promoted to a full professor in 1976Draft:Annamaria Torriani-Gorini#%20In%20Memoriam:%20Annamaria|3, Draft:Annamaria Torriani-Gorini#%20Longtime%20biology%20professor|5, Draft:Annamaria Torriani-Gorini#%20Wiesner%2C%20J.%20B.%2C|15. In 1975, Torriani-Gorini was on the Women’s Advisory Committee and advocated heavily for equal treatment of women in scienceDraft:Annamaria Torriani-Gorini#%20Longtime%20biology%20professor|5, Draft:Annamaria Torriani-Gorini#%20Women%40MIT%20Archival%20Initiative.|16. From 1980 to 1988, Torriani-Gorini served as a member of MIT’s Committee on the Use of Humans as Experimental SubjectsDraft:Annamaria Torriani-Gorini#%20Longtime%20biology%20professor|5. In 1980, Torriani-Gorini earned the “Special Foreign Currency Award (In Indian Currency and US Dollars) For Studies on Mechanism and Control of Transcription and Translation in Vivo and in Vitro” through the National Science FoundationDraft:Annamaria Torriani-Gorini#Special%20Foreign%20Currency%20Award%20(In%20Indian%20Currency%20and%20U.S.%20Dollars)%20For%20Studies%20on%20Mechanism%20and%20Control%20of%20Transcription%20and%20Translation%20in%20Vivo%20and%20in%20Vitro.%20NSF%20AWARD%20SEARCH:%20Award|9.

After Retiring from MIT

Torriani-Gorini retired from MIT in 1989Draft:Annamaria Torriani-Gorini#%20In%20Memoriam:%20Annamaria|3, Draft:Annamaria Torriani-Gorini#%20Longtime%20biology%20professor|5. In 1990, she won a Fulbright scholarship|Fulbright Scholarship to teach and conduct research on the control of macromolecular synthesis at the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology in Hyderabad,India|Hyderabad, IndiaDraft:Annamaria Torriani-Gorini#%20Longtime%20biology%20professor|5. In 1993 she was an honorary member of the French Society of MicrobiologyDraft:Annamaria Torriani-Gorini#%20Longtime%20biology%20professor|5.

Notable publications

  1. Cohn, M., & Torriani, A.-M. (1952). The relationships in the biosynthesis of the β-galactosidase- and pz-proteins in escherichia coli. Biochimica Et Biophysica Acta, 10, 280–289.
  2. Ludtke, D., Bernstein, J., Hamilton, C., & Torriani, A. (1984). Identification of the PHOM gene product and its regulation in escherichia coli K-12. Journal of Bacteriology, 159(1), 19–25.
  3. Muda, M., Rao, N. N., & Torriani, A. (1992). Role of PhoU in phosphate transport and alkaline phosphatase regulation. Journal of bacteriology, 174(24), 8057-8064.
  4. Rao, N. N., & Torriani, A. (1988). Utilization by escherichia coli of a high-molecular-weight, linear polyphosphate: Roles of phosphatases and pore proteins. Journal of Bacteriology, 170(11), 5216–5223.
  5. Rao, N. N., Roberts, M. F., Torriani, A., & Yashphe, J. (1993). Effect of glpT and glpD mutations on expression of the phoA gene in Escherichia coli. Journal of bacteriology, 175(1), 74-79.
  6. Rao, N. N., Wang, E., Yashphe, J., & Torriani, A. (1986). Nucleotide pool in pho regulon mutants and alkaline phosphatase synthesis in escherichia coli. Journal of Bacteriology, 166(1), 205–211.
  7. Torriani, A. (1959, January). Effect of inorganic phosphate (PI) on formation of phosphates by e-coli. In Federation Proceedings (Vol. 18, No. 1, pp. 339-339). 9650 Rockville Pike, Bethesda, MD 20814-3998: FEDERATION AMER SOC EXP BIOL.
  8. Torriani, A. (1990). From cell membrane to nucleotides: The phosphate regulon inescherichia coli. BioEssays, 12(8), 371–376.
  9. Zuckier, G. E. R. A. L. D., & Torriani, A. N. N. A. M. A. R. I. A. (1981). Genetic and physiological tests of three phosphate-specific transport mutants of Escherichia coli. Journal of bacteriology, 145(3), 1249-1256.
  10. Zuckier, G., & Torriani, A. (1981). Genetic and physiological tests of three phosphate-specific transport mutants of escherichia coli. Journal of Bacteriology, 145(3), 1249–1256.


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