Hello Eleonora. It’s great to have the opportunity to meet with you. Please tell us a bit about yourself, personally and professionally
I grew up in Tagliacozzo, a mountain town in central Italy, in the Abruzzo region. My town is a place of significant historical interest because Dante Alighieri cited it in the Divine Comedy. Since childhood I desired to be a physician. When I was 18, I moved to Rome to start my university course at the Medical School at the Sapienza University. I graduated as a Doctor of Medicine in 2009, and in 2010 I received my license of Medical Practice. In 2011 I started a residency program in Food Science and Clinical Nutrition at the Sapienza University, which concluded in June 2016.
Since October 2015 I have been a PhD student in Endocrinology, Metabolic Sciences and Andrology at the Department of Experimental Medicine, Sapienza University, Rome, and from November 2015 to November 2016 I was a visiting research scholar at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center, USA. There I had the privilege of learning from Dr. Eric Ravussin. In November 2016 I moved to Rome to continue my PhD program. I now live in Rome, the capital city of Italy. I guess that I do not have to describe it, its ancient beauty and incomparable richness of arts and culture is well known all over the world. I feel very lucky to be exposed to this wonderful environment every day.
I started working in the field of obesity when I became a medical student at the Department of Pediatrics, Sapienza University, where I met Dr. Lucia Pacifico; she was my supervisor for the preparation of my defense for the medical degree. I worked on my thesis concerning ghrelin in obese children with the metabolic syndrome. Furthermore, I was involved with research projects exploring nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and the metabolic syndrome in children and adolescents with obesity.
During my residency program in Food Science and Clinical Nutrition, under the able supervision of Dr. Lorenzo Maria Donini, I worked as resident doctor at the Endocrinology Day Hospital Service and Nutritional Evaluation Laboratory at the High Specialisation Center for Obesity Care (CASCO), Sapienza University (Rome), which is included in the EASO COM Network, and devoted to adult subjects with obesity.
Congratulations on winning the highly competitive 2016 EASO New Investigators Clinical Research prize. Please help us learn more about your thesis, and present research interests:
During my residency program, my clinical and research experience included different dimensions of obesity and its comorbidities across the age spectrum. I was involved in research projects investigating the relationship among body composition, ectopic fat deposition, cardiometabolic risk, hormonal status, metabolic flexibility, sleep, and physical functionality, as well as eating disorders and food addiction. My present research interest is the study of hepatic steatosis, myosteatosis and postprandial lipid metabolism in subjects with obesity.
What are your future career plans?
I would like to become an independent investigator. I am interested in exploring the metabolic and hormonal characteristics of different body composition phenotypes in individuals with obesity, and I would like to investigate the connections linking adipose tissue to other organs and systems. I also wish to expand my research network, because I enjoy working in multidisciplinary and multicultural settings.
Thanks so much, Eleonora. Aside from your professional focus, what are your hobbies and other interests?
I was a curious child, and I am still a curious adult! I have many interests beyond my professional activities. I am a registered journalist, I like reading, and walking or running in nature. I love both classic and contemporary art, operas and movies. And I enjoy spending time with my brother and sister and our dog.