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Institute of Oncology Research (IOR),

affiliated to USI,

run by an


foundation with the same name


Female researchers on the move

Institutional Communication Service

In autumn 2021 a new Centre for biomedical reseach will be inaugurated in Bellinzona. To support this event, Ticino Management features a special series of articles presenting the activities of the two main residents of the facility, IRB and IOR. In the quarterly Ticino Management Donna, three female researchers from Poland, Iran and China, who chose to pursue their doctoral studies in Bellinzona at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine and the Oncology Research Institute (both affiliated with USI), share their experiences.

[By kind permission of Ticino Management Donna]

The fact that Bellinzona is now recognised internationally as a center of excellence in biomedicine is confirmed not only by the scientific publications in the most prestigious journals of the researchers of the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB) and the Institute of Oncological Research (IOR), but also by the internationality of their staff: on average, 72% come from abroad and from many different countries; 86 out of 129 at the IRB, and 54 out of 66 at the IOR. This trend is also confirmed within the student body, who every year come here from all over the world to do their PhD. While both Institutes include a good number of female researchers in key positions, many are the doctoral students who have been trained in Bellinzona in recent years and who have then reached top positions in research and in the pharma industry. It is no coincidence that, among scientific disciplines, biomedicine is one of those with the highest number of women, as is the medical sector in general. Nevertheless, access to the more prestigious and well-paid positions remains somewhat difficult for women scientists. However pharma, biotech and medtech, the industries of the so-called 'life sciences', seem to be well on the way towards a gender equality thanks to the participation of women in the world of research.

While Bellinzona looks like a small dot on the world map, in terms of biomedical research it is all but insignificant. But in real terms, what is it that drives a young and promising doctoral student, to whom the doors of the main international research institutes would be open, to chose Ticino? Poland, Iran and China are the countries of origin of three young students who have chosen one of the two Bellinzona institutes as a fundamental step where to begin their careers as researchers, and who tell us about their experience.


Continue reading the stories of IRB doctoral students Marika Kucinska (Poland) and Elaheh Ghovehoud (Iran), and IOR's Yingrui Li (China), in the Ticino Management Donna article by Susanna Cattaneo, June 2021 issue, pp. 61-63: