I am Stefano Bertuzzi, the Executive Director of the ASCB. I have a PhD in Molecular Biology from the Universita' Cattolica del Sacro Cuore of Milan, Italy, and a Master's in Public Health from Johns Hopkins University. As a student, postdoc, and PI, I was a bench researcher in the United States and Italy for 15 years before moving over to the science policy side at NIH in 2006.
I was the Science Policy and Communications Director at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) where I greatly enjoyed working with Tom Insel, an extraordinary scientist and advocate for research into mental disorders. Before NIMH, I was in the Office of the NIH Director where I worked with Lana Skirboll, Lynn Hudson, and Elias Zerhouni on a wide array of science policy issues, from developing a public access policy for NIH funded publications (of which ASCB has always been a phenomenal supporter) to enhancing the peer review system, to developing a program to analyze the impact of science funding. I am indebted to all my policy mentors for infusing in me an incurable passion for public service and science policy.
I have enjoyed every step of my scientific career, and coming to ASCB has opened even wider horizons for me on what a scientist can do in modern society. In a sense, my new role at ASCB allows me to return to my first love, basic science, but combined with my hard won skills and formal training in policy, advocacy and management. Science is about depth, science policy is about breath; I have always been fascinated with big picture issues, studying ways for making a system work better and more effectively to change the status quo.
I like to write. For a brief time, I considered writing as a career, and even became a registered journalist in my native Italy. But research science won out. Now, with "Activation Energy," I am looking at a new part-time career as a blogger. Blogging is not just about writing, it is also about listening, realizing that a blog has to be a two-way street. This blog needs your comments, corrections, additional thoughts, pushbacks, and, I hope, an occasional "Bravo." (Well, at least no rotten tomatoes.) So post your comments and your ideas. This is a space for ASCB members and all those interested in cell biology, science policy, and science communications.
On a personal note, my wife, Elena, and I have been together since high school. She is an economist and one of my favorite intellectual sparring partners. We have two young children, Davide and Celeste. I love being on the water, sailing or windsurfing. I am an avid reader as regular readers of "Activation Energy" have discovered. So follow me and jump in with your comments. Together perhaps we can "crowd source" a solution or two to the obstacles facing research science in these turbulent times.