Seven minutes in stroke - Francesco Arba

Q1. What inspired you towards neuroscience?
I have always been interested in brain matters. When I was a teenager one of my recurrent internal questions was: "what goes on in peoples minds, how does it work? How do simple cells and atoms express as emotions and feelings?". During my training as a medical doctor I maintained this interest, so the choice to become a neurologist and a neuroscientist was quite straightforward.
Q2. Why stroke?
During the first year of residency in Neurology I was assigned at the Stroke Unit for several months. I found in stroke care the perfect balance between neurology, internal and emergency medicine. Also, I had the fortune to meet a great mentor, Prof. Domenico Inzitari.

Q3. What have been the highs so far?
Up to now, I have met a lot of people to share the interest in stroke with and I learned a lot by sharing experiences and knowledge. As a clinician, it is surprising to work in stroke care and to see how far the achievements of acute stroke therapy have come.

Q4. What have been the lows?
I could say when something goes wrong with a patient, when a project or a paper are rejected, when the work is tough...However, I feel that the lack of more time to do more things in both research and the clinic is the worst. After all, in a day there are only 24 hours and the brain needs time to rest, to spend with family, to do something else.

Q5. How do you balance work life with the needs of home life?
I have great fortune in this area and I am good at separating my work from my home life. 
Usually, the work stays at work, although sometimes I do research things (e.g. statistics) from home. However, I think the quality of time spent with family and friends is good; I can let thoughts of work go without concern. Certainly, physical activities and sport help me a lot in make a good break.

Q6. Who are your most important mentors and how did you find them?
I have had the privilege and the honor to meet some of the world leaders in stroke. When I went to Oxford I learned from Prof. Alastair Buchan the importance of the translational research and developed an interest in acute stroke. More recently I got received fellowship under the supervision of Prof. Kennedy Lees, who encouraged me to put ideas into a research project. Under his guidance I have become a young researcher. I also met Prof. Joanna Wardlaw and started collaborations with her group, she is one of the world leaders in small vessel issues, my current research topic. However, none of those meetings would have been possible without the help of my mentor in Italy, Prof. Domenico Inzitari, who instilled in me the passion for stroke research.

Q7. What are your most important collaborations and how have you built them?
I am currently working on several projects. In Italy I am collaborating with a national group on endovascular therapy and with the hospital stroke group. I am keeping on the collaboration with Glasgow and Prof. Lees' group. Also, I am still working with Prof. Wardlaw on small vessel diseases. I am very happy to continue collaborations with such important groups and great people. Perhaps I have been lucky, but I discovered that in research it’s fairly easy to build up a collaboration: if you have an idea, just write down a project, and then contact, email, meet at congresses, talk honestly...Perhaps, out of 10 projects only one is good for your supervisor, but the other 9 are useful for you, is a mind workout. So, do not hesitate, write!

Seven minutes in stroke - Francesco Arba Reviewed by Carmen Lahiff-Jenkins on Monday, July 25, 2016 Rating: 5

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