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Meet Marco Licciardello

1.    Tell me in 5 words who is Marco Licciardello?
Curious, strong-willed, patient, witty, open-minded.

2.    What made you join CeMM?
Cancer has affected the lives of some of my closest family. At CeMM, I saw the opportunity to contribute to cutting-edge cancer research and the chance to learn state-of-the-art chemical biology skills. And of course the shiny brand new building in the heart of Vienna!

3.    What is it about science that interests you the most?
I have always been extremely curious about the molecular mechanisms of nature. I wanted to learn more about the atomic (and subatomic) definition of matter and living organisms so I started my scientific journey with a bachelor degree in chemistry. Later on, I became interested in how small molecules can be used to treat diseases and what happens inside the cell when they engage their target(s). This led to a master degree in biomolecular chemistry and eventually a PhD at CeMM.

4.    What is the best career advise you ever received, or you can give to the CeMM community?
Find out what is best for you (this might need some redefinition throughout your career), aim for it, accept the luck factor and enjoy the ride.

5.    Tell us what happened to you after you left CeMM?
At the end of my PhD I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to stick to a purely academic environment or continue developing my drug discovery skills in the biotech/pharmaceutical industry. For this reason, I decided to join the laboratory of Paul Workman at the Institute of Cancer Research in London as a postdoctoral fellow. The Cancer Therapeutics Unit at the Institute of Cancer Research operates as a small biotech within an academic environment and in constant collaboration with the oncologists at the Royal Marsden Hospital. This gave me the opportunity to work independently while being exposed to different stages of the drug discovery pipeline.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

6.    What book do you have on your night table at the moment?
“The Corrections”, by Jonathan Franzen.​​​​​​​

7.    What is the last song you heard?
“Hiver” by IOSONOUNCANE (aka Jacopo Incani). His latest album “IRA” has been haunting me for the past few months.​​​​​​​

8.    Any message you would like to give to the CeMMies or a former colleague?Class of 2010! Jelena, Ana, Elisangela, Lisi, Ferran, Johannes, Branka, Astrid, Carol-Ann, Alexandra, Sabrina, Rui. Hope you guys are all well!

Marco first joined CeMM in 2009 as a visiting scientist in the laboratory of Giulio Superti-Furga. After completing his master degree in Italy, he returned to Giulio’s laboratory as a junior scientist. At the end of 2010, he started his PhD in the laboratory of Stefan Kubicek. There he discovered a synthetic lethal interaction between NOTCH1 activation and inhibition of SUMOylation in breast cancer as well as a combination of approved drugs leading to the depletion of the androgen receptor in prostate cancer cells. He is currently a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Paul Workman at the Institute of Cancer Research in London (UK), where he is investigating new targets, biomarkers and therapies to improve the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer.