Costanza Casiraghi

Your UBC Experience

I decided to come to UBC to pursue my graduate studies because of the excellent research groups that are part of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology and the Faculty of Science. Additionally, during my first visit, I was really impressed by the very modern laboratories and research facilities. Finally, I was also attracted by the possibility to apply to UBC scholarships to have good financial support during my PhD studies. During my 5 years at UBC, I really enjoyed the great working relationship I had with my mentor, the other professors, PhD candidates and post-docs of the M&I department. I am still in touch with many of them and I still learn from them benefiting from their career advice. During my PhD, I learnt how to remain focused on my project to complete my degree in an appropriate amount of time. Appropriate organization and experimental planning were key for the fast and efficient development of my project. I was able to publish several peer-reviewed papers and complete my dissertation in less than five years. These excellent abilities in time and project management, that I developed during my time at UBC, are, still today, the key skills in my daily work as a reseracher in a pharmaceutical company.

Thesis Title

The role of gammaherpesviruses in the development of autoimmunity

Clubs/Programs involved in at UBC

  • Ex officio member of the Microbiology and Immunology New Faculty Search Committee
  • Member of the Dolman Lecture Student Committee 
  • Member of the I3 Aaron Wyatt Memorial Lecture Student Committee 

Awards

  • Four Year Fellowship (2010-2012)
  • University Graduate Fellowship (2009-2010)

 

Your Career Journey and Achievements

After graduation, I worked as a post-doc researcher in non-profit organizations for almost five years (2 years at a research institute in Switzerland and 3 years in another University in Italy). When I started to do research more than 10 years ago, I did not have any specific plan, but, since I always like new challenges, I decided that I wanted to see how research and development are performed in the "pharma/biotech world". I started to work in the pre-clinical department of Chiesi Faramceutici in 2017. Finding my first job in the private sector was quite hard: it took several months to land a position. I have to say that my long experience abroad at UBC really helped my CV to stand out from the crowd. At UBC, I focused on the development and validation of in vivo models to study different human diseases. This is what I am still doing now in the field of neonatology. During my PhD, I learned how to formulate hypotheses and develop appropriate experiments to address them. I acquired different experimental skills to work with in vitro and in vivo models. I also developed excellent abilities in time and project management, key skills to work in a pharmaceutical company. What I like the most of my job today is the possibility to work simultaneously on different projects and disease models in collaboration with a variety of external partners (universities labs and contract reasearch organizations). This multi-project work can sometimes be really challenging due to the diversity of the projects and the partners. However, "really challeging" often means also "very rewarding"!

Advice to current students

When you are developing a scientific project, time management is crucial. You need to remain focus on the goal to be as productive as possible. A key aspect of a career in science is the number of scientific articles that you are able to publish: the more, the better. Peer-reviewed publications are the most important paragraph of your CV or resumé, either you want to pursue a career in academia or industry. Your articles show what your skills are and the quality of your work. As I described above, networking and presenting your work to the scientific community are very important as well. Always show to everybody how passionate you are about your work.

 

Grad Year:

2012
 

UBC Degree/Program:

  • Ph.D./Microbiology & Immunology
 

UBC Supervisor:

  • PhD supervisor: Dr. Marc Horwitz

 

Other Education:

Università Vita-Salute San Raffaele, Milan, Italy - 2007, B.Sc. / Medical and Pharmaceutical Biotechnologies

 

Hometown:

Milan, Italy
 

Job Title & Employer:

Scientist/Chiesi Farmaceutici (Chiesi Pharmaceuticals)
 

Current Location:

Bologna, Italy