Academisch Ziekenhuis Groningen – UMCG – The Netherlands
Prof. Dr. Fulvio Reggiori
1. How did you get into the autophagy field and why is the field important to you?
As a PhD student and postdoc, I have been studying intracellular vesicular trafficking and I got interested about how transport pathways are regulated to allow cells to adapt to nutritional changes. I became intrigued by autophagy, which at the time was at an early phase of what has become today, i.e., the first ATG genes were getting cloned and characterized. Therefore, I decided to go for a second postdoc and I joined the laboratory of Daniel Klionsky, one of the pioneers in the field of “modern” autophagy.
Why the field is important to me? It gave me the chance to become an independent researcher. I should say that I had the immense chance of meeting a lot of excellent scientists and great people as well.
2. What is a key question in the autophagy field now? Where do you think the field is heading?
I think that with our continuous advances in the understanding of the molecular principles governing this pathway, we are at reach of being able to explore and develop strategies aiming at precisely modulate autophagy in physiological and pathological contexts, to the benefit of human health.
3. Should you meet any scientist, currently living or deceased, who would it be and why?
Christian de Duve. He discovered and described the process of autophagy more than 60 years ago, in such a great detail and precision, that some of the high impact discoveries done in the last decade are just a more elaborate confirmation of his observations.
4. What advice do you have for early career scientists that want to enter the autophagy field?
Autophagy and its genes come in multiple flavours. Therefore, you should keep an objective and open view on your data because something completely novel and exciting could hide behind them.