Let’s talk about you: what is your background, what do you teach, and what are your research interests?
I come from the province of Vicenza, I graduated and got my PhD in Padua. After my studies I worked abroad and then I came back in 2016 to Ca' Foscari where I teach Mathematics, Fluid Mechanics and Hydrology. My research focuses on ecohydrology, a new discipline that studies interactions between hydrology and ecology. I study river ecosystems specifically, and the biodiversity and community patterns of their populations. I also study waterborne diseases.
What was your academic career?
I graduated in Environmental Engineering at the University of Padua, where I specialised in hydrology with my final exams and dissertation. After my PhD, also in Padua, I started studying the interaction between hydrological and ecological processes, especially during my last year at Princeton University. After my PhD, I continued my academic career at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland, first as a Postdoc and then as a researcher. Since October 2016, I have been an associate professor of hydrology and hydraulic construction at Ca' Foscari.
What were your greatest professional satisfactions?
Probably the greatest satisfaction has been seeing some of the research that I have led or worked on published and read in some of the most prestigious journals. I remember the excitement of the first (and only) article in Nature as co-author, and the first article as first author in PNAS. I also remember with satisfaction the first study as corresponding author, when I moved to the delicate and important role of supervising and guiding the research of younger colleagues.
Have you always known that this was going to be your path?
No, to be honest, I didn't know what a PhD was until my first years at university. I started to learn about this world during my dissertation and thanks to my supervisor. I wasn't always sure I would make it, but since then I have never imagined myself in any other job.
Can you offer any advice to researchers in the early stages of their career?
When I try to convince students to embark on an academic career I always emphasise that this work lets you:
- keep in touch with young, dynamic students who keep you constantly updated;
- travel the world and meet smart and stimulating people;
have the great privilege of waking up one morning and saying: 'today I'm going to study this thing that I don't know', and being paid for it!