MEET THE DIBIO SCIENTIST SERIES : ALESSANDRO DEVIGILI
Pubblicato il: 16.04.2021 15:14
Alessandro is a post-doctoral fellow
Can you summarize in few words your research?
My research focuses on reproductive biology. I study how different individual characteristics play together in determining how animals reproduce, with a focus on the evolutionary processes involved. From sperm-eggs interaction to individual cognitive abilities, from male-female intimate affairs to populations and community dynamics, I try to understand how sexual reproduction and the derived sexual selection are involved, and how they shape these aspects of animal biology.
What is the most rewarding and the most challenging part of your work?
What I like the most is to discuss with colleagues about theories and predictions, managing – sometimes – to find the relevant unsolved questions about my research topic. When I succeed in setting up the proper experiment for that specific question, then, I am really happy. Traveling and joining international conferences is also extremely exciting: it always gives me a lot to think about, helping getting more ideas. The most challenging part is to keep doing that: fundraising is frustrating, yet necessary. Managing to keep in doing our work, at this stage of the career, is a work itself. A very challenging work.
Tell us your story: what brings you to DiBio?
After some years abroad, there was the possibility to join a new research group in Padova, that of Clelia Gasparini. Her research topics are very close to mine and we share a lot of scientific interests. I got my PhD here in Padova so I know very well the working environment, and I have many friends here. Moreover, my wife and daughter live here, so it was an easy decision.
What would you tell your younger self?
A wise advice would be: “If you want to take this difficult path, think about what will be the future of research, which “topics” will be more relevant internationally, and try to focus on those. Possibly from different points of view. That will make your life much easier. Then study, learn and connect with other researchers as much as possible.”
What’s your favourite “toy” for research – and what can it do?
The “sperm tracker” is probably the tool I should give most of my gratitude to. As the name suggests, what it does is to analyse how spermatozoa swim. However, I do 90 percent of my work on my laptop. From coding in R to reading papers and – in these days – meeting with colleagues, everything passes through the screen of my PC. It is definitively the most essential tool.
What are your interests outside science?
Photography is one of my favourite activities. I also read a lot. When possible, I like to take long walks, when possible, in the forest, when possible in the Alps. Good beers, wine and food are always welcome in almost any moment of my life.