What do you teach at Ca’ Foscari? What are your main research interests?
I currently teach General Chemistry and Laboratory in the Bachelor's degree in Sustainable Chemistry and Technologies, and Metalorganic Chemistry in the Master's degree in Sustainable Chemistry and Technologies. I have always been involved in the chemistry of organometallic compounds of late transition metals in all its forms, from their synthesis to the definition of their properties and reaction mechanisms. For some years now, I have been focusing on studying their behaviour in an organic environment, with specific attention to their ability to prevent the proliferation of cancer cells.
Tell us about your academic path.
I graduated in Industrial Chemistry at Ca' Foscari, (supervisor Prof. G. Marangoni). I then earned my PhD in Chemical Sciences at the joint campus of the Universities of Venice and Ferrara with a thesis entitled "Reaction of Coordinated Binders in Pd(II) and Pt(II) Organometallic Compounds" (supervisor Prof. P. Uguagliati). After my PhD, I was awarded a scholarship at the Centre for Chemistry and Technology of Transition Element Metalorganic Compounds of the National Research Council of Italy (C.N.R.) in Padua (supervisors: Prof. R. Bertani and R.A. Michelin) and one in the group of Prof. A. Togni at the Zurich Polytechnic (ETH-Z). After being a university researcher, I have been Associate Professor of General and Inorganic Chemistry at our University since 2008.
What are you most passionate about in your research?
Now that, after years of more speculative research, so to speak, I have approached the terribly real world of cancer therapies, I feel somewhat involved in this battle. Although I am not in a hospital ward on a daily basis and my point of view on the problem is still that of a chemist, knowing that my compounds are tested on cells taken from a cancer patient in an operating theatre always gives me a strong sense of emotion.
What do teaching and researching mean to you?
The research that can be done at university is a wonderful intellectual challenge, because it can and should be free of any utilitarian logic.
I've always thought that my research was fundamentally about preparing to become a good teacher. I have never been able to separate the two, and I think that if you lose sight of that, you don't do the job of university lecturer honestly. After years in this job, I can safely say that the daily relationship with students is ultimately what has enriched me the most.