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Federico Polo
Analytical Chemistry

What do you teach at Ca’ Foscari? What are your main research interests?
I currently teach three courses: "Bioanalytical Chemistry", "Laboratory of Instrumental Analytical Chemistry" and a joint minor, "Light and Matter, Vision and Image". My research interests and areas of interest are molecular electrochemistry, especially electron transfer and electrochemiluminescence studies, and the integration of electrochemical and optical methodologies. In terms of application, these can translate into the creation of biosensor platforms for precision medicine (e.g. in oncology) or for the environment, and the development of nanostructured materials for energy.

Tell us about your academic path.
I graduated in Industrial Chemistry at the University of Padua, when there were still five-year single-cycle degrees. Then a PhD in Chemical Sciences, also at Padua, but with a year spent in the USA at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Then, a series of post-docs and visiting scholarships in the USA (Georgia Institute of Technology, Harvard, University of Connecticut), Canada (Université de Montréal), Germany (Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster), Italy (University of Padua). Then, senior researcher at the Oncology Reference Centre in Aviano before landing as a researcher on Venetian shores.

What are you most passionate about in your research?
Knowing that what I do and what I studied for could one day go beyond purely academic boundaries and find a real-world application that could help people and improve their lives.

Have you always known that this was going to be your path?
Actually, no. As a teenager, I dreamed of becoming an astronaut. Then, when the time came to choose what to do after high school, I was torn between physics and chemistry. I liked both. In the end, I chose chemistry, although I tried to maintain a strong 'physics' bias throughout my curriculum.

The issue of gender inequality in STEM disciplines in Italy is still very topical. What would you tell girls who want to approach these disciplines?
I don't want to seem to oversimplify on this issue, which I think is very important. Inequality must be eliminated, all of it. Unfortunately, in our society there are still the last of the old guard of a certain line of thought and young dwarf plants growing in the shade of sterile shrubs. What I would tell girls who want to approach scientific disciplines is what I would tell anyone else, regardless of their gender, age, ethnic group, religion, etc.: pursue your dreams and do not give them up for anything in the world. Only your life and your future matter. Do not seek competition at all costs because you do not have to prove anything to anyone. Instead, ask yourself the right question: who do I want to be in my future?

Last update: 22/06/2022