Annalisa Radeghieri successfully juggles motherhood and a career in science

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‘Motherhood, the elephant in the laboratory (ILR Press, 2008). This was the first book I started reading while breastfeeding my first newborn, together with another very interesting book, Mama, PhD (Rutgers University, 2008). Stories of women, struggling with their complicated lives between Academia and family. I got into this new dimension during my post-doc and I have to say, it was not easy! I believe mothers need to have time to look after children but I also believe that to be a good scientist you need to be focused and spend time on your research.

The struggle is still going on but today I can say I have reached an equilibrium that allows me to carry on with three daughters (9, 7 and 4 years old) and a position of Assistant Professor at University. Two things made it possible: an understanding and dynamic chief and a great organization of the time schedule. I believe that the 24 hours in the day should be managed by oneself in order to make the best use of them: working hard in the lab but also having time to raise children and bring them to the necessary activities. So, no coffee time and a shorter lunch let you stay focused. In addition, get out earlier and, when everybody is in bed, you can start again reading or studying.

This year I really felt it was the time to build new connections for my scientific career. Collaborations are always a source for improving yourself and revitalize your thoughts. Therefore, I am really grateful to the Biochemical Society who covered my registration fee and part of my trip, allowing me to participate to the 40th Congress of The Federation of European Biochemical Societies (FEBS), held in Berlin in July 2015.

The congress had a broad audience, from genetics to structural biology, passing through organelle dynamics and neurosciences. I really enjoyed the wonderful plenary lectures given by the different speakers: astonishing was the lesson by Xiaowei Zhuang about new microscopy techniques, but also the talk given by Nobel Prize winner Randy Schekman was amazingly clear and instructive.

This congress gave me the chance to meet many researchers mostly from Europe, pursuing really interesting research projects. I had also good feedback on the poster I was presenting and very good suggestions for my future work. It was nice to socialize and discuss science in front of a big Currywurst at Hackescher Markt, and get to know the history of Berlin and the wall.

As I hoped I now have many people to refer to and now the challenge is to make good use of what I have learned and maintain my international contacts.’

Annalisa Radeghieri – Department of Translational and Molecular Medicine, University of Brescia, Italy

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