Never forget that humility is the mark of greatness
Welcome to The Short Read, our weekly peek behind the curtain at the people who make this amazing community tick. Make sure to check back every Tuesday for the latest installment.

Luca Magnani, Senior Research Fellow/ Team Leader, Imperial College London

Before starting his laboratory at Imperial College London, Luca Magnani has trained in both Italy and the U.S. With his background being in the sector of epigenetics, he has a strong interest in translational science, especially within breast cancer. 

Currently, he’s supported by a CRUK career development fellowship and EU grants. His laboratory studies how tumors evolve in response to therapy using genomics and epigenomics. His multi-disciplinary team consist of a medics, biologists and computational biologists and uses and develops cutting-edge approaches to study breast cancer evolution. He has an active interest in patient and public involvement and how science can be made more accessible.

Luca will be speaking at the third Festival of Genomics London in January 2018. On day two he will be presenting on ‘Diving into the dark matter of the cancer genome’

What are you working on right now?

My laboratory studies how breast cancer evolves in response to treatment. Our goal is to identify new strategies to treat patients that stop responding to current therapies. We strive to approach this problem using innovative, multi-disciplinary strategies. The current focus is to explore how the big unknown, namely the non-coding genome, contribute to cancer development and progression.

What’s the biggest challenge you face in your work at the moment?

Making sure innovation is funded. As with all risky projects, it is always hard to promote innovation.

Name one big development that you would like to see in your field in the next 18 months.

Improved CRISPRs-like technologies to model single nucleotide changes in cell with dismal homologous recombination.

What are you most proud of in your career?

Merging basic science with clinical needs

Which scientists, living, dead, or fictional, would you invite to dinner, and why?

Barbara McClintock and Frederick Sanger. Two fantastic visionaries, with a very different approach to science. I admire their analytical minds and the creative solutions they applied to their science.

What advice do you wish someone had given to you at the start of your career?

I’m stubborn, I struggle with advice and prefer first-hand experience. But if I was really pressed for an answer I’d say accept who you are, be free and test and trust yourself.

Registration for the 2018 Festival is free; secure your Festival Pass here to hear from Luca as he talks more on the cancer genome.


Opinions and views expressed in The Short Read are the interviewee’s and not those of the home institution


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