biographical data

Paolo Macchiarini biography: 13 things about Italian thoracic surgeon born in Basel, Switzerland


Paolo Macchiarini is a thoracic surgeon. He was born in Basel, Switzerland to Italian parents.

Macchiarini is known for his research fraud and manipulative behavior. Prior to this, he was regarded as a pioneer in the field of regenerative medicine using both biological and synthetic scaffolds seeded with patients’ own stem cells as trachea transplants.

Coming from different countries including Eritrea, Spain, Russian, Iceland, Britain and the United States, 20 patients were operated on by Macchiarini, who provide them with an artificial windpipe. Only three are still alive as of September 2020.

The Italian surgeon and his Italian wife Emanuela Pecchia have one son and one daughter. Here are 13 more things about him:

  1. He married Pecchia in 1986. In the same year, he earned his medical degree from the University of Pisa in Pisa, Italy. He earned his master’s degree in surgery there in 1991. (a)(b)
  2. In 1989, he took a course on statistics in clinical research at University of Alabama at Birmingham in Birmingham, Alabama, United States. (b)
  3. In 1994, he obtained a master’s degree certificate in organ and tissue transplantation from the University of Franche-Comté in Besançon , Franche-Comté, France. He obtained a doctorate degree certificate in organ and tissue transplantation from the university in 1997. (b)
  4. From 2006 to 2009, he was an investigator at the Institut d’Investigacions Biomèdiques-Instituto de Investigaciones Biomédicas in Barcelona, Spain. From 2009 to 2014, he had an honorary appointment as a visiting professor at University College London in London, England. (b)
  5. In June 2008, he performed a trachea transplant on Claudia Lorena Castillo Sanchez using a donor organ seeded with stem cells in Barcelona, Spain. (a)
  6. In 2010, he joined the University Hospital Careggi in Florence, Italy as a consultant and project manager and was appointed as a visiting professor at the Karolinska Institute in Solna, Sweden. (b)
  7. He performed a synthetic trachea transplant on Andemariam Beyene in Stockholm, Sweden in June 2011, on Keziah Shorten in London in September 2011 and on Christopher Lyles in Stockholm in November 2011. Shorten, Lyles and Beyene died in January 2012, in March 2012 and in January 2014, respectively. (c)
  8. In 2012, he was charged in Italy with attempted aggravated fraud. He performed a synthetic trachea transplant on Julia Tuulik and Alexander Zozulya in Krasnodar, Russia in June 2012 and on Yasim Cetir in Stockholm in August 2012. He performed the same transplant on Cetir in July 2013, on Tuulik in August 2013 and on Zozulya in November 2013. Zozulya, Tuulik and Cetir died in February 2014, in September 2014 and in March 2017, respectively. (a)(c)(d)
  9. In 2013, he met documentary television producer Benita Alexander, started a romantic relationship with her and became engaged with her. He told her he and his wife were divorced, which was a lie. In the same year, Karolinska Institute terminated its clinical relationship with him but allowed him to continue as a researcher. He performed a synthetic trachea transplant on Hannah Warren in Peoria, Illinois, USA in April 2013 and on Sadiq Kanaan in Krasnodar in August 2013. Warren and Kanaan died in July 2013 and in 2014, respectively. In June 2014, he performed a synthetic trachea transplant on Dmitri Onogda in Krasnodar but removed the graft in December 2014 when it started collapsing. Onogda survived and lives with tracheostomy. (b)(c)(e)(f) 
  10. He told Alexander that Pope Francis would officiate their wedding in Rome, Italy on July 11, 2015. When she found out it was not true, he went on to lie again by saying former Pope Benedict went behind Pope Francis’s back to stop him from officiating the wedding. It was the first of his many lies she discovered. (a)(f)
  11. Karolinska Institute announced in February 2016 that it would not renew his research contract, which was due to expire in November 2016, then terminated the contract in December 2016. After being dismissed from the institute, he worked at the Kazan Federal University in Kazan, Russia. In April 2017, the university terminated his project. (b)
  12. In September 2020, Swedish prosecutors announced charges against him for aggravated assault in connection to three surgeries that he had performed at the Karolinska University Hospital. He has denied all of the charges and hearings are expected to start in 2022. (f)
  13. He was 63 years old when he was found guilty of causing harm through negligence but not of carrying out an intentional assault and he received a probationary sentence on June 16, 2022. (g)


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