Costanza Casiraghi

Chiesi Pharmaceuticals
Senior Scientist
Bologna, Italy
The role of gammaherpesviruses in the development of autoimmunity
Marc Horwitz

What are your main responsibilities or activities in your current position?

I am currently a senior scientist in the neonatology unit in the pharmacology department of Chiesi preclinical R&D. I am following different projects for the development of innovative drugs for the treatment of respiratory diseases of preterm babies, in collaboration with university research groups based worldwide

How does your current work relate to your graduate degree?

Project managment and timely completion of experimental tasks are certainly key skills that I developed during my PhD that are both particularly relevant to my current work. Additionally, the ability to critically analyze scientific data is another important aspect of my daily work.

What motivated you to pursue graduate work at UBC?

I decided to come to UBC to pursue my graduate studies because of the excellent research groups that are part of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology and the Faculty of Science. Additionally, during my first visit, I was really impressed by the very modern laboratories and research facilities. Finally, I was also attracted by the possibility to apply to UBC scholarships to have good financial support during my PhD studies.

What did you enjoy the most about your time as a graduate student at UBC?

I really enjoyed the great working relationship I had with my mentor, the other professors, PhD candidates and post-docs of the M&I department. I am still in touch with many of them and I still learn from them benefiting from their career advice.

What key things did you do, or what attitudes or approaches did you have, that contributed to your success?

When you are in graduate school, it is crucial to remain focused on your project to complete your dissertation in an appropriate amount of time. Another key aspect for a science PhD is the number of scientific articles that you are able to publish: the more, the better. Peer-reviewed publications are the most important paragraph of your CV or resumé, because they are showing your main achievements. Networking and presenting your work to the scientific community are very important as well. Being recognized as a serious and reliable team member by all the colleagues I worked with during my career helped me greatly to secure my past and current job positions.

What is your best piece of advice for current graduate students preparing for their future careers?

I think that the key word for success in science today is "networking.” I was able to secure good post-doc positions by attending national and international scientific conferences where I presented my work. Volunteering activities are also very important to make connections with other experts in different professional fields that could help you to build your future career. While in Vancouver, I was secretary and treasurer of the Society of Italian Researchers and Professionals in Western Canada. During this time, I had the opportunity to attend many events and meet a number of people that greatly helped me to shape my scientific career.


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