Deputy Head of Department, Director of the Burdon Sanderson Cardiac Sciences Centre, Professor of Cell Biology
Tell us a bit about your role
I lead the laboratory of Cell Biology in the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics (DPAG). I am also deputy head of Department and Director of the Burdon Sanderson Cardiac Science Centre, a multidisciplinary centre dedicated to the science of cardiac function, and Fellow and tutor in Biomedical Sciences at Balliol College.
I graduated in Medicine at the University of Torino, Italy, and very early on made the decision to dedicate my career to research. After a postdoctoral position in Cambridge, UK, I returned to Italy where I started my own research group at the University of Padova, and then moved to the University of Glasgow before taking up a position at the University of Oxford in 2012.
What is the most meaningful aspect of your work?
My current role includes teaching and some administration, but I dedicate the majority of my time to research. Although, at this stage, this means mainly worrying about securing funding, the most exciting and rewarding aspect of my work remains the interaction with my collaborators and the investigative work we do as a team, where you make an interesting observation, you start following a thread and you land on something new and exciting.
Can you tell us about something you've done or contributed to that you're most proud of?
I grew up in a tiny village in a rural part of northern Italy and, when I look back, I feel rather proud of being where I am now. As for the most important contribution, that surely must lie ahead!
What we are working towards is to harness the complex intracellular communication network to develop new treatments for cardiac disease that target, with precision, specific communication nodes, thus increasing efficacy and reducing side effects. We have made important steps in that direction. But the hope is certainly that the next step is going to take us even closer.
What changes would you most like to see in the medical sciences in the next 100 years?
Something that needs to improve is the way we acknowledge and reward scientific progress. The fierce competition that dominates at the moment is an obstacle to the development of new ideas and to their rapid implementation. I’d like to see open access to data and resources become the norm and collaboration across the globe to become the structure that supports scientific research.