Q: First of all, what does it mean to work in research for a talented young person from our country?
A: Unfortunately, working conditions tend to be less advantageous for an Italian researcher than they are, in general, abroad. Scientific research is mainly carried out in universities, hospitals, research centers, and requires a high component of mobility: if initially this represents a fundamental factor to gain experience and enrich oneself with new stimuli, when the need to find professional and personal stability arises, it all becomes a bit more complicated.
Q: Are there other challenges that you researchers face on a daily basis besides mobility?
A: Sure, first of all, communication with society. Researchers are still seen as a scientific elite, speaking a language that is not very understandable and not very accessible to a wider audience, and this greatly penalizes their perception. It is true that there is the figure of the science communicator, whose approach is more popular and inclusive, but he or she is not always found working alongside a researcher.
What I hope for, instead, is a much stronger synergy between these two roles, leading to the creation of interdisciplinary teams that can raise more awareness and, at the same time, receive stimuli, proposals and questions from them. As we are doing with a group of colleagues through our blog or with the activities we do for the Mantua Literature Festival.
Q: In your opinion, can the contribution that companies like Lutech offer to research in terms of financial support and visibility help make the scenario more favorable?
A: Definitely: the mere fact that there is this interest in talking about it is a sign of great openness. Clearly, the national issue remains a broader and more complex issue, but the engagement of companies like Lutech is extremely helpful in giving us researchers more relevance, especially at a time like this when trust in the media is very low.
Q: What does your research project consist of, and what impact can it generate in the fight against cancer?
A: My research deals with quiescence in leukemias, that is, those cells that, by surviving chemotherapy or radiotherapy, can cause tumor recurrence even years later. The goal, then, is to find a complementary solution to these two forms of therapy that can also act on quiescent cells, eradicating the disease. This is an innovative project, and there are few such trials on an international scale at present.
Q: One last question: how are creativity and curiosity (which you mentioned as your characteristics in the profile you wrote for AIRC Foundation) useful skills in your work as a researcher?
A: In the narrative that is routinely conveyed about Research, there is often a tendency to omit the fact that the path to achieve desired results can be very tortuous and complex, and require constant changes in direction or attitude. In this, creativity and curiosity help overcome conventions, preconceptions and acquired certainties, to open the mind to new hypotheses and new paths. And they will be skills that increasingly, even in the future, will become indispensable even in the most technical and scientific disciplines.