Francesco Danilo Tiziano Q & A

Next, we have Francesco Tiziano of the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore (Catholic University of Sacred Heart) in Rome, Italy. Francesco is a clinician scientist who has been working towards the identification of possible therapies for SMA, as well as potential biomarkers, and genetic variations that could help to explain the variability in disease severity observed in SMA patients.

When and why did you first decide you wanted to be a scientist/clinician?

When I was about 17, I struggled with which university to choose. But, medicine was always for me, I did not have many doubts.

How did you come to work on SMA?

By chance, as most of us I think. I started working on SMA as a medical student, about 20 years ago. At that time I did not know what SMA was.

What would you be if you weren’t a scientist/clinician?

I would probably have studied Literature.

If you are not in the lab or seeing patients you are...

Reading, listening to music, cooking, spending time with friends.

Describe yourself in three words.

Curious, passionate, and severe.

What has been the most important moment of your career so far?

When I got my own lab and group, and my autonomy.

What is your most memorable finding relating to SMA?

The first demonstration of a possible biomarker for patients (for further information, click here).

What is your favourite conference location?

Paris or London.

What is the best scientific advice you ever received?

To be curious and to always ask why.

If you could start your career all over again, are there things you would do differently?

Of course, I think as most of us. I have made so many mistakes…

In your opinion, what makes a good scientist?


Where do you see the SMA research field in the next 10 years?

In my opinion, SMA will be one of the first genetic diseases to be cured. Hopefully within 10 years.