„Physics helps to open your mind,“ Dr. Marina Rodio says. She is CUI’s Louise Johnson Fellow 2017, who has come to Hamburg in October to work in Prof. Holger Lange’s group at Universität Hamburg. Marina Rodio’s research is focused on the synthesis and functionalization of nanomaterials for ultrafast dynamics analysis. She is bringing together the skills she acquired thus far: the design of nanomaterials via organic chemistry and laser ablation in liquids, for moving forward to ultrafast spectroscopy and catalysis applications.
Rodio was born in Veglie, a comune in the south of Italy. From an early age on, she was interested in mathematics, physics, biology and chemistry. “I was always interested in the ‘why’. Why can we see a color, why is something falling down? And often the answer is not visible at the first glance.” Fortunately, her parents always supported her passion for studying and teacher at her high school as well as friends encouraged her by spending time talking about science and future projects. The first step for Rodio was to get the bachelor in physics at the University of Salento. Then she decided to move out and study in Rome: “Living all the time in the same place could entail to have a fixed point of view about people and life. I wanted to move to a big city to get more opportunities, to acquire new skills and a broader vision of my life.” She had the feeling that by studying physics, she could reach this aim and moving to Rome was the starting step.
“Working in academia requires being flexible”
Maybe nowadays more women are interested in the natural sciences, as society starts providing more and better support, Rodio thinks. Companies even assure a stable life. The point for her, however, is whether more women are interested in an academic profession. “Working in academia, requires being flexible. The international experience is one of the main criteria in research; that requires managing personal life and plans for future in a dynamic way and being open minded towards the new. But, this is also a training to always look at the good of the life,” Rodio explains. After completing her master’s in (bio)physics at the university La Sapienza in Rome, she continued her training at the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT) in Genoa. An internship in the nanochemistry department provided her with the knowledge of the chemical synthesis of nanomaterials; the PhD in the laser laboratory of the nanophysics department made her expert in the design and characterization of nanomaterials, laser ablation in liquids and laser optics. As a postdoc in the nanocarbon group, she worked on nanomaterials functionalization via wet chemistry; a short-term scientific mission at the Institute of Pathology in Bucharest offered insight into biology – cell lines cultures. “I am really trained in interdisciplinary thinking,” Rodio resumes. “Now I want to use all my background to move forward and acquire new skills and competences.”
CUI’s annual meeting offered a perfect start
One of the first events she attended was CUI’s annual meeting in Hohwacht. “That was perfect. I met many scientists and the other Louise Johnson Fellows. I got known of the CUI´s infrastructures and research and I appreciated the attention and services that CUI offers for supporting scientist,” Rodio says. She also really appreciated the advices given by other Louise Johnson Fellows and their enthusiasm about the fellowship. “The project that I am developing has been thought to provide new insights in the mechanism of molecule´s catalysis mediated by nanoparticles. I will do all my best to succeed in this project and I feel that CUI will support all my efforts.”
In the meantime, Rodio is enjoying life in Hamburg. “The city is really organized, schedules work, very good services, such as the bicycle renting, a very good flight connection and the city feels really safe.” Even the weather doesn’t feel that bad when you have a chance to compare – a broader vision. Text: Adler