Eleonora Secchi: I Find Supervision & Mentoring Fulfilling Experiences
Date: 2021-10-11
Source: WLA
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Q & A with WLA

Q: What is your early inspiration of doing science?
A: Since I was a child, I have been fascinated by Nature and willing to understand its working principles, both from a physical and a biological perspective. Growing up, I have turned fascination into the desire of finding an explanation for the observed phenomena. This very same motivation brings me to the laboratory every morning.

Q: What is your greatest achievement so far?
A: In 2018 I started my research group, the bioMatter Microfluidics group and currently composed of five Ph.D. students and one postdoctoral researcher. Its name reflects our research focus: understanding the physical mechanisms influencing the behavior of “biological matter” using microfluidics. I am engaged in creating a group where everyone feels part of the crew ready to sail navigate in the sea of science.

Q: What is your research goal?
A: My research goal is to understand the physical mechanisms influencing bacterial 
surface colonization and biofilm formation in fluids. We use a combination of 
microfluidics and visualization techniques to access the microstructure and the 
rheology of bacterial systems, with the ultimate goal of linking their structure to their 
biological function.

Q: What is the best part of your job?
A: As a passionate scientist, I am genuinely glad when I start a new experiment and have the chance of increasing our understanding of bacterial systems. As principal investigator, I have the privilege of being involved in the supervision of five Ph.D. students, several Master and Bachelor students every semester and in the mentoring of one Postdoc. I find supervision and mentoring fulfilling experiences, giving you the chance to witness the personal and professional long-term growth of a young adult.

Q: Would you like to share with us some of your unforgettable experience?
A: My major achievement as a postdoctoral researcher was the measurement of water flow from a single carbon nanotube, which allowed me to answer a long-debated question on water slippage at the carbon - water interface. I vividly remember the first time I observed water flowing from a nanotube and realized I was about to quantify the flow from the smallest “pipe” ever characterized.