Dr. Antonio Giordano is a pathologist and geneticist who is best recognized for discovering the tumor suppressor gene Rb2/p130. Dr. Giordano is the president, founder, and board chairman of the Sbarro Health Research Organization (SHRO), a nonprofit organization dedicated to funding excellence in basic genetic research to cure and diagnose cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and other chronic illnesses, as well as to foster the professional and humane training of young doctors.
Here's what Dr. Antonio Giordano is in his personal and professional life.
Q. What was your first professional research position and where did you go to school?
A: I was born and reared in Naples, Italy, and attended school there. In 1986, I graduated from the University of Naples with a medical degree, and in 1990, I graduated from the University of Trieste with a Ph.D. In 1988, I started working at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in Long Island, New York, directed by the Nobel-Prize-winning James Watson, researching as part of a cell-division cycle program.
Q: What had the most impact on your education and professional path?
My father, Giovan Giacomo Giordano, an oncologist and pathologist at the National Cancer Institute of Naples and professor at the University of Naples, inspired my education and professional path. Following in my father's footsteps, I opted to pursue a career in research after completing my medical studies, with an emphasis on genetics in pathology. While pursuing my father's studies, I got fascinated by the connection between the environment/effect of hazardous waste and the rising cancer rates in Campania, Italy. These themes are currently among my primary study interests.
Q: What were your career objectives, and what did you attempt to achieve first?
A: I intended to start my own company that would focus on biomedical research and allows young great minds from all over the world to work in my labs. My objective was to attain academic and financial independence.
Q: How did the Sbarro Health Research Organization get started?
A: When I met Mario Sbarro, the creator of the Sbarro restaurant chain, I was given the chance to establish the Sbarro Health Research Organization. Mr. Sbarro graciously donated the cash as a private gift, allowing me to pursue my ambition. Mr. Sbarro's generous contribution enabled me to establish the Sbarro Institute, a research facility at Thomas Jefferson University, where I held a faculty appointment as a professor when I identified the tumor suppressor gene pRb2. The Institute eventually became the Sbarro Health Research Organization, which is associated with Temple University, after a few years.
Q: What made you decide to pursue a career in research?
A: I was interested in understanding the molecular processes of underlying cancer, cardiovascular disease, and other disorders to identify better therapeutic treatments. Second, I intended to teach hundreds of students from all over the world and provide them with the tools they needed to excel in various fields of medicine and biomedical research.
Q: What inspires you, and what advice would you give to students who want to work in this field?
A: I believe in the next generation and what they can contribute to scientific study. Young minds generate great ideas. I advise them to have faith in themselves and to be open to new experiences in different parts of the globe, as well as to expand their knowledge by forming a network amongst themselves.
Q: What are your opinions and recommendations on current medical research trends in general?
A: In general, I feel science is affected heavily by politicians and pharmaceutical corporations, and I would prefer for it to be more autonomous, although the situation varies by nation. The income of a researcher in Italy, for example, is low, thus many are compelled to leave their nation to enhance their chances. More government support for independent research might help to reverse the issue known as "brain drain."
Q: What are your hobbies and interests?
A: My favorite pastime is following the Napoli soccer team, matches and training, and to relax. I enjoy laying on the beach in Florida, but I only get to do it a few times a year. For the rest of the year, I work with my students and colleagues, spend time with my family, and maintain several professional contacts that aid in the fundraising of research funds.
Q: What is your overall philosophy on how you view life, your opinions on your life journey thus far, and your ideas on how to achieve success?
A: I believe in the power of dreams above everything else. When you are fortunate enough to comprehend your passion, you can also find a method to achieve your objectives; despite setbacks, tiredness, and difficulties, you can always see a way forward.
Aside from that, you must be prepared to work hard every day of your life.
Dr. Antonio Giordano is the President and Founder of the Sbarro Health Research Organization (SHRO), which conducts research to diagnose, treat and cure cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and other chronic illnesses.