28 March 2019
5 Minutes with…Francesco Nicolini
Dr Francesco Nicolini recently joined the Centre for Stem Cells & Regenerative Medicine as their new Senior Technical Officer. He has a background in pharmaceutical biotechnology and a PhD in cardiovascular sciences. In his spare time, he goes to live gigs, plays guitar and plans learn some coding soon. If you see him around, do say hello and welcome him to our School!
Briefly, tell me about your background and career up to this point at King’s?
I obtained my BSc and MSc in pharmaceutical biotechnology from the University of Bologna (with a 6-months internship working at the Cancer Center of Amsterdam during my MSc training). After that, I moved to London and obtained a PhD in Cardiovascular Science from King’s. I then worked as a research assistant at the Barts Cancer Institute for about a year and a half. Now I am back to King’s (I am in the first few weeks on the new job!) and I am the new Senior Technical Officer of the Centre for Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine (CSCRM).
What research are you currently working on?
The Centre for Stem Cells & Regenerative Medicine is led by Professor Fiona Watt. We are particularly interested in how stem cells interact with their local environment. We believe that an understanding of these interactions is important for developing effective cell therapies in the clinic.
What is a typical day like for you?
I am in the very early days of my new role, so most of my days are currently spent attending meetings and training courses, introducing myself to people in the centre and learning how the centre works.
Where is your research area heading in the next five years?
As I am not managing a research project anymore, my role in the next five years will be to handle budgeting for research grants, perform health and safety assessments, manage technical staff and oversee research facilities in the CSCRM.
What is your favourite part of your current role?
The diversity of tasks, for sure! The main reason why I decided to move away from the bench is that I wanted to try new things, and this position allows me to acquire expertise in health and safety, finance and management without having to leave the academic research environment. To me, this is the best of both worlds!
What do you do with your time outside of academia?
I really love going to the gym, going to live gigs and playing the guitar. I am also planning to learn some coding in the near future.
What advice would you give to your 18-year-old self?
Travel more, practice your English as much as you can and eat your veggies! Don’t be scared if nothing makes sense at the moment, everything will fall into place at the right time.
Who do you look up to (inside or outside of academia)?
In regards to academia, I have appreciated the leadership examples set by some of the PIs that I’ve had the chance to work with over the years: Prof. Kinya Otsu, Prof. Elisabeth Zeisberg, Dr Aleksandar Ivetic, Dr Elisa Giovannetti. Furthermore, I have met several brilliant scientists that inspired me and taught me a lot: Dr Kazuhiko Nishida, Dr Xingbo Xu, Dr Matteo Beretta.
Outside of academia, I look up to Greta Thunberg and fully support her fight against climate change.
Any leaving remarks that you would like other members of our school to know about you?
I’m really passionate about international food, especially Asian/Fusion and gourmet hamburgers. I look forward to exploring the area around my new workplace for “all things food”!
Favourite Movie: Pulp Fiction
Favourite Book: “Elianto” from Stefano Benni
Favourite TV Show: “Community” by Dan Harmon
Favourite Scientist: Marie Curie