MEET THE DIBIO SCIENTIST SERIES : ELENA MARCHESAN
Scadenza: 02.11.2022 14:35
Pubblicato il: 02.11.2021 13:00
Elena is a post-doctoral fellow at DiBio
Can you summarize in few words your research?
My research at DiBio is focused on mitophagy, the selective removal process of dysfunctional mitochondria. Mitophagy impairment is associated with mutations in two genes, PINK1 and Parkin, that act in the same molecular pathway leading to mitophagy. My work aims to study the mechanisms that regulate the canonical “PINK1-Parkin axis”.
What is the most rewarding and the most challenging part of your work?
This work requires both mental and physical effort, combining literature study, hypothesis formulation, and bench work. However, these two aspects do not always lead to a final destination; sometimes you are faced with a dead-end, sometimes with a fork in the road. In the frustration of these moments, it is crucial to be stubborn and not get demoralized. When the results come, the satisfaction is doubled.
Tell us your story: what brings you to DiBio?
In a way, I could say that I grew up in this department: at DiBio I obtained a Master Degree in Sanitary Biology and, motivated by the positive experience of the internship, I decided to pursue a PhD in Biochemistry and Biotechnologies, which I completed in 2020. The Department of Biology offers a stimulating environment, where I found not only talented researchers, but also true friends.
What would you tell your younger self?
Since this job has made me grow a lot, not only professionally, but also personally, I would say to hang in there, and that commitment and sacrifices are made never in vain. Even when an experiment fails, you can always learn something, the important thing is not to lose motivation and to look for a solution. In this sense, the support and experience of colleagues can be a valuable resource, so do not be afraid to ask for advice.
What’s your favourite “toy” for research – and what can it do?
Spinning disk confocal microscopes are powerful tools for the rapid spatial and temporal imaging of living cells at relatively slow time-lapse speeds. I love to combine confocal microscopy with mitochondria-targeted fluorescent probes since this reveals the network of these fascinating cellular structures, which are highly dynamic and plastic.
What are your interests outside science?
I have always loved drawing, ever since I was a little girl. In the last few years. I've moved from freehand to digital drawing, discovering a connection to science in scientific illustration. Alongside this activity, I enjoy spending my free time with my friends, playing board games (I'm proudly a bit of a nerd) and traveling in search of new experiences.