I studied all my academic degrees at the University of Milan, in Italy
I have got Bachelor and Master of Science degrees, and a Doctorate in Molecular and Cellular Biology
I worked in different places so far, the most relevant are: beekeeping farm in Italy, and at an Italian Governative laboratory for animal deseases
Research Assistant at the NUIG college - Zoology Department
I am working at the National University of Ireland Galway (NUIG) in the Zoology Department, under the supervision of Prof. Grace McCormack.
Favourite thing to do in science: Studying honeybee-to-honeybee communication
I am a curious Italian
I am an Italian scientist who moved to Ireland a few months ago.
I am coming from a very small village called Morengo and if you want to have an idea how it looks like please click on the following link: living
Morengo is not too far from Milan, the biggest city in northern Italy, and it sits at the very begin of some of the most beautiful Italian mountains. I do really love mountains!
I am now living in Galway on the west coast of Ireland: a very beautiful city! I like it so much, I just wish I could enjoy the sun a bit more often than it is. What I like most about my new city are the people. It is really easy finding yourself starting a conversation with anyone on the street, in a pub or on a bus. Irish people have a really warm heart!
I "buzz" with honeybees
I am working with honeybees, one of my favourite passions and hobbies. Honeybees are particular bees that are responsible for honey production: Do you like it?
Unfortunately, these important insects are in big trouble, they find difficult to cope in our environment. If we do not stop their disappear it means also no honey and no fresh fruit anymore in our next future. Those are in fact the most extraordinary worker animals responsible for the production of most fruits and vegetable we all eat every day.
My job is to help them out to survive and protect them.
Interestingly enough, also honeybees have their nationality, did you know this? I am now looking for Irish honeybees. They are really tough insects with an extraordinary strength capable of living and working regardless of the harsh Irish weather conditions.
My Typical Day
I know when it starts but I don't know when and how will end.
My working day starts normally at 9, I am not really an early morning person.
First of all, I look at the emails to see if someone ask me for a specific request or if there is any news about my University or Scientific community. Normally, I spent almost an hour doing so. There is always news every day and being a good scientist required to be always updated to your research field.
A quick coffee break with other colleagues to get enough energy for the day and maintain also a friendly and cheerfully working environment. Since I am passing most of my day hours at the university I like the idea to work with friends.
After that, I start working in the lab doing my experiments which normally consist in honeybee DNA extraction to understand which bee belongs to which nationality.
1 pm is lunch time! I love this particular time of the day. My colleagues and I gather together in the lunchroom to get a break from our jobs. We normally spend this time chatting on everything else but our job, as I said it is like to meet up with friends.
The afternoon is normally the time I spend in the apiary managing my honeybee colonies. This depends on the daily weather conditions, it has to be a warm and quite dry day to open and inspect my honeybee colonies and in Ireland, this sounds like an everyday challenge. Inspection of the colony consists in checking the bees needs if they need more space in their hive or the need more food. It is pretty much like having a little puppet to care about. Sometimes I also collect bees for my lab experiments.
After having spent a few hours at the apiary it is time to go back to the office. Depending on the day, I can either go back on working on my lab experiments or, if I need to, sitting at my computer to reorganize my scientific data as a presentation to other colleagues or for lecture purposes. Scientific communication it is a really important part of my job!
Normally my workday ends around 6.30 pm. It is time to get some time for myself and meet up with colleagues or doing sport, I love to swim.
What I'd do with the money
Providing a nice and spacious glass house for the Irish honeybees
Scientific outreach activities are important to me as much as the ability to do good scientific experiments.
Most of the people don’t know much about honeybee and their lives into the hives, either human managed or natural nest. I believe the best way to give people an idea of the amazing honeybee world is to show them how a real honeybee colony lives and how the complex honeybee society is formed and work together for the good of the colony.
Having a fixed observational hive within our college campus at the NUIG will allow me and my group to improved the quality of our science communication events. We will be able to show live how a honeybee colony and bees-to-bees interaction works in a natural nest.
The idea is to set the observation hive in our Zoology department and moved a honeybee family into the new home. Therefore, any next science outreach activities that will take place in our university (i.e. Galway science week, college open day, school visits) will benefit from the presence of such an incredible presence which will help everyone to better understand the beauty of this amazing animals.
To have an idea of what I am talking about, please have a look at the following picture of a fixed observation hive at the start of its colonization.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Funny, curious and precise
Who is your favourite singer or band?
I love rock and blues music, I wish I could be born in the 70'
What's your favourite food?
Being an Italian, I definitively love pizza!
What is the most fun thing you've done?
A road trip vacation with my friends. We lived in a camper for about 20 days!
What did you want to be after you left school?
I wanted to become a person which could discover something usefull. I thought being a research would help me in my goal.
Were you ever in trouble at school?
Luckily I always studied what I like, therefore I have always been a good and passionate student
What was your favourite subject at school?
What's the best thing you've done as a scientist?
I have met a lot of very interesting and smart people and I have travel in different places.
What or who inspired you to become a scientist?
My dad. Is not a scientist, but he has a very curious and open mind. I wanted to become like him.
If you weren't a scientist, what would you be?
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
Having a scientific impact for the next generations, having a stable job contract and travel all around the world.
Tell us a joke.
No, I am really bad with this...