USI medals to Franco Cavalli and Giorgio Noseda

From left: Franco Cavalli, Lorenzo Cantoni and Giorgio Noseda
From left: Franco Cavalli, Lorenzo Cantoni and Giorgio Noseda

Institutional Communication Service

6 May 2023

At the 27th Dies academicus, Prof. Franco Cavalli, President of the Foundation for the Institute of Oncology Research (IOR), and Prof. Giorgio Noseda, Honorary President of IRB Foundation, were both awarded USI Medals for their exceptional contributions to the development of Università della Svizzera italiana. The University Council introduced this new accolade as a token of gratitude to those who have particularly distinguished themselves for "their important contribution to the development of Università della Svizzera italiana". 


Born in 1942 in Locarno, Franco Cavalli pursued studies in internal medicine and medical oncology across various cities such as Bern, Milan, Brussels, and London. Since 1986, he has been an honorary professor in internal medicine and oncology at the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Bern. Professor Cavalli's area of expertise began with leukaemia, during which he served as Switzerland's representative in the Cancer and Leukemia Group B (CALGB) in New York. Later, he turned his attention to breast cancer and spent the last 25 years dedicating his skills and time to malignant lymphomas. Since 1981, he has been organising the International Conference on Malignant Lymphomas (ICML) in Lugano, which has become the most prominent point of reference worldwide for clinical and basic lymphoma research.

From 1978 to 2007, Prof. Cavalli was the Head of Medical Oncology at San Giovanni Hospital in Bellinzona. Additionally, he held the position of Medical Director at the Oncology Institute from 2000 to 2011.

Prof. Cavalli was President of the Swiss Group for Clinical Cancer Research (SAKK) and the Early Clinical Trials Group of the EORTC. He was the founding editor of Annals of Oncology, today the leading oncology journal in Europe, and helped set up the IELSG (International Extranodal Lymphoma Study Group), of which he is still President. He has authored and co-authored over 500 scientific articles and four books, including the highly regarded Textbook of Medical Oncology, which he co-authored with S. Kaye and H. Hansen. Prof. Cavalli's contributions to the field of oncology have been recognised with 20 international awards, including the prestigious Pezcoller, Montaigne, Gredinger, and Waldman prizes. He is also an honorary professor at the esteemed faculties of medicine in Guangzhou (China) and Havana (Cuba). In addition, he is an honorary professor at the faculties of medicine in Guangzhou (China) and Havana (Cuba).  

He was President of SENDO (Southern New Drug Organisation, Milan) from 2000 to 2010. From 2006 to 2008, he was President of the International Union Against Cancer (UICC), and from 2001 to 2004, he was President of the Swiss League Against Cancer.   

Currently, Prof. Cavalli is President of the Foundation for the Institute of Oncology Research (IOR) and is Chairman of the Scientific Committee of the European School of Oncology (ESO).   

He is married and has seven children. From 1995 to 2007, he was a member of the Swiss Parliament, and from 1999 to 2012, he was the Socialist group leader. In 1985 he founded the Association of Medical Aid to Central America (AMCA), of which he is still Technical Director. He has been President of Medicuba-Europe since 2011.


Giorgio Noseda was born in Mendrisio in 1938 and pursued a career in medicine, first studying in Zurich and then in Paris, where he specialised in cardiology and internal medicine. He has authored and co-authored numerous publications in both national and international scientific journals. Professor Noseda was a founding member and first president of the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB) in Bellinzona, affiliated with Università della Svizzera italiana since 2010. For nearly three decades, from 1974 to 2002, Professor Noseda served as the head of internal medicine at the Ospedale Beata Vergine (OBV) in Mendrisio, where he practised as both an internist and cardiologist. From 2002 to 2005, he held the position of head of cardiology at the Ospedale Civico in Lugano.

In addition to being a doctor and researcher, Professor Noseda has actively contributed to the fight against cancer by leading several organisations. As President of the Swiss Cancer League, he founded the Swiss Cancer Research Foundation, which annually provides CHF 20 million in research funds. He also co-founded 'Oncosuisse', an umbrella organisation. His contribution to creating the National Institute of Cancer Epidemiology and Registration (NICER) at the University of Zurich, the first fully-fledged national cancer registry, an essential tool in cancer management and planning, was also particularly significant.   

Professor Noseda has played an active role in various humanitarian associations, such as the Associazione Cooperazione essere umani, which is currently operating in southern Senegal. Additionally, he founded the Child to Child for Africa Foundation, which established a significant vocational school for girls and young women who have been victims of violence in Kenya. Furthermore, Professor Noseda served as a deputy in Ticino's Grand Council and acted as a speaker for the new hospital law in the early 1980s, which resulted in the establishment of the Ente Ospedaliero Cantonale (EOC).