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Visiting Rotary Scholar Marianna Pioli

By Webmaster - Posted on 10 May 2017

Visiting from Parma scholar Marianna Pioli meets President Annette.

At our club meeting on the 4th May, our speaker was Marianna Pioli, talking about cancer research. Marianna is an Italian student who is on a 6th month scholarship at Warwick University in the department of Chemistry. She was sponsored by the Rotary Club of Parma, in the north of Italy, where she studied at university. Palma Rotary Club offered 2 post graduates scholarships of 10,000 euros each, and Marianna has one of these.

She has a  Master's Degree in bio molecular chemistry. She gave us a background to Parma, which was founded in Roman times. The university of Parma was founded in the 10th century and has 26,000 students.

At Warwick University she is working on the design and characterisation of synthetic metal-based anti-cancer drugs. She is doing chemical and biological evaluation of the new potential of anti-cancer drugs for photodynamic therapy (PDT). The core components of PDT are a prescribed light source, and a light-sensitive chemical (photosensitizer). This is used for skin cancer and internal cancer and uses light or fibre optic cable to target tumours, where it can induce cancer cell death. The drugs only work after they have been activated by certain kinds of light. It avoids systemic treatments, or when surgery is not possible. Ruthenium (Ru) is the metal used and this is a precious metal costing $1400 per 100g. This drug is still in the research stage.

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