MEET THE DIBIO SCIENTIST SERIES : Vanessa Checchetto
Pubblicato il: 15.09.2020 16:10
Vanessa is an early career researcher (RTDa) at DiBio
Can you summarize in few words your research?
My research interest focuses on investigating the molecular pathways involved in the modulation of ion channels. Ion channels allow the flux of specific ions down their electrochemical gradient across both the plasma membrane and intracellular membranes within the cells. They are key to many physiological processes and are also crucial in the context of several pathologies, including the regulation of specific stages of cancer progression. Since ion channels are emerging as players in signaling pathways, independently of their ability to mediate ion flow, my discoveries that aim to identify the interactome of various ion channels under different conditions will likely help to identify new channel functions that are linked to the onset of the pathology and/or to worsened prognosis. Hopefully, the strategy I pursue will also identify new possible targets for cancer therapy.
What is the most rewarding and the most challenging part of your work?
I started this job knowing that it was complicated. The most fascinating part of this work is the great possibility to gain growing information about the complex mechanisms that underlie biological processes. This sense of challenge leads me to not give up, even in the most frustrating and difficult moments. Overcoming these tests leads to great satisfaction, and here is the best part of this work, the joy you feel when you can finally say “Eureka”!
Tell us your story: what brings you to DiBio?
I obtained a Master's Degree in Industrial Biotechnology and a Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Biotechnology at the University of Padova. During this period and my first PostDoc, I worked at DiBio, studying ion channels' roles in green organisms. During my formation, I also had the opportunity to work abroad at the CEA center in Grenoble. This experience allowed me to establish relationships with scientists from other countries and improved my abilities to learn specific techniques. I then transferred all the know-how I gained during this period to the second phase of my research, focused on animal research. I was a PostDoc for three years at the Department of Biomedical Sciences at UniPD. Following, I came back to the DiBio, that allowed me to develop my career.
What’s your favourite “toy” for research – and what can it do?
My favourite toys are ion channels that are emerging as essential factors for cell proliferation and appear to have a role in the development of cancer. Their multifaceted and intricate nature poses a significant challenge, but their investigation can bring about important novelties for future clinical research in order to identify new therapeutic strategies.
What are your interests outside science?
I love cooking. I like travelling and spending my free time with my family and friends.
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