Italy to the US: a scientist's journey into the depths of brain discovery


Silvia Penati is a 32-year-old biologist from Bergamo, Italy, who dreams to educate future generations of scientists. After completing a PhD in Molecular and Experimental Medicine at Humanitas University in Milan, she has decided to embrace a new challenging adventure, moving to the US with her husband and 3-year-old son. There she’s pursuing a postdoc at Washington University in St. Louis, with the aim of understanding the role of the immune system in the brain, in particular during neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's disease. Check out our video to learn more about one of the talented winners of the first edition of the Dompé Foundation’s Rita Levi Montalcini Scholarship Program.

Thanks to this scholarship I was able to move to US for my postdoc with my husband Luca and my son Alessandro.

When someone mentions the word “scientist”, the first stereotypical image that comes to mind is a boring and awkward nerd. The truth is that science is everything but dull. Science is an exciting field where ideas converge and the future is shaped, and being a part of this is truly amazing.

Research is the perfect fit for me as it gives me the opportunity to discover new things but also to make a positive impact on the society.

I’m always looking for new challenges and this is one of the reasons why I decided to leave Italy to embrace this postdoc in Washington University in St. Louis. Of course, it’s not easy to be far away from my family, friends, and hometown, but being in a cutting-edge laboratory with brilliant and amazing scientists makes it worthwhile.

My professional goal is to become an inspiring mentor and to transfer my passion for science to the new generation of scientists.

My motto is “without haste but without rest” because I believe that the winners in life are the people who never give up.

When I got the Dompé Foundation scholarship, I was super happy. It felt amazing to know that there are people out there that invest in you, that believe in your skills. I feel very grateful, it’s a dream that comes true.

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