MEET THE DIBIO SCIENTIST SERIES : Giovanna Pontarin
Pubblicato il: 13.07.2020 11:45
Giovanna is a tenure-track researcher (RTDb) at DiBio
Can you summarize in few words your research?
I had a long interest in the small mitochondrial genome and in the conditions affecting its stability leading to severe mitochondrial diseases. At present I have started a new line of research dealing with cellular senescence. Despite the name, a senescent cell is a very active cell, able to secrete multiple factors which modify deeply the surrounding environment leading to age-related diseases and cancer. My work is based on understanding how mitochondria and specifically mitochondrial DNA can contribute to senescence phenotype.
What is the most rewarding and the most challenging part of your work?
The most exciting and at the same time challenging aspect is to find “something new” in my specific research field. Deep background and “eureka moment” are both important to success.
Tell us your story: what brings you to DiBio?
Since I was a baby I had always been fascinated by “life”, from microscopic beings to animals. Between different life sciences faculties, I chose Biology and obtained my Master degree here in Padova. The lab of prof. Vera Bianchi and Peter Reichard gave me the strong knowledge and tools to study the metabolism of DNA precursors which I related to mitochondrial genome since in the DiBio I found leading groups in mitochondrial physiology. After many years from my thesis, DiBio still represents a very stimulating scientific environment with seminars, multiple facilities, visiting scientists and people to share knowledge and ideas with.
What’s your favourite “toy” for research – and what can it do?
My favourite toys are cells. From the very first human cell line of Henrietta Lacks in the fifties, cells in culture still represent a powerful model to dissect different aspects of a biological issue.
What are your interests outside science?
I like exploring big cities and at the same time I really like the sea. I love spending my free time with my family and friends.