ICGEB Alumna wins scholarship from Soroptomist International of Europe

by Ambra Cappelletto

Founded in 1921, Soroptimist International is a global volunteer movement with a network of over 75,000 club members in122 countries, aiming at ensuring that voices of women and girls are heard. The grant awarded to Ambra Cappelletto, PhD student in the Cardiovascular Biology Group, ICGEB Trieste, aims to support women to achieve their individual and collective potential, realise aspirations and continue education in their chosen profession, especially in non-traditional fields for women, such as STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics).  Gabriella Clarich, the President of the Soroptimist Club of Trieste, strongly supported my participation in this grant, enabling me to win this important prize.

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After my international experience in the laboratory of Martine Barkats at the Institut de Myologie in Paris, I joined Serena Zacchigna’s  lab at the ICGEB. I am now into the 3rd year of my PhD and I am still excited at having become a member of this Organisation, working and living in a stimulating, international environment, with the possibility to share experience and ideas with people from all around the world.

My time at ICGEB has fuelled my desire to contribute to research in a flourishing and inspiring work place, where I could develop my project surrounded by excellently prepared researchers.  I have actively worked on two ambitious projects: one aimed at understanding why the adult heart is resistant to the formation of both primary tumors and metastasis and to what extent this characteristic is due to its poor angiogenic capacity (namely the capacity to form new blood vessels). The second project focuses on the identification of novel molecules able to counteract cancer cell invasion, through a sophisticated in vivo selection procedure.

The perspective of finding future compounds that can be used in therapy is very promising, especially now that the most effective molecules have been selected. There is an urgent need to find an effective therapy to contrast tumour metastasis, that is the main cause of cancer death, and to target the abnormal angiogenesis that sustains the growth and the invasiveness of cancer. My ultimate goal is to discover some beneficial and effective factors that hold the concrete potential to become a therapeutic compound.

This work would not have been possible without each of my colleagues, and the precious advice of Serena, who supports my daily research activity as well as my personal growth since day one in her lab.

Go Ambra - and thank you Soroptomist for backing this voice!

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Ambra Cappelletto for ICGEB at the Science Fair "Trieste Next" in 2017

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