The third early career speaker to present a research protocol at the ESO Young Stroke Physicians and Researchers Career Mentoring Workshop was Stefania Nannoni. She is an Italian neurologist from Florence (Italy), currently working as research fellow at the Stroke Center of Lausanne University Hospital (Switzerland). Her research interests lie in the field of acute stroke management, with a special focus on neuroimaging.

How did you get involved in stroke research?

Since the time of my medical thesis, my main clinical and research field of interest has been cerebrovascular disease. My involvement in acute stroke research has grown during my residency, supported by the stimulating environment of Florence University Stroke Team. I was  involved  in  different  research  projects,  mostly  focused  on  clinical  and  neuroimaging  predictors  of  early  neurological  progression  after small  subcortical  stroke. More  recently  I  became  interested  in  the  issue  of  CT  perfusion,  analysing  its  role  in  acute  ischemic  stroke  management  and  in  blood-brain barrier  damage  prediction.

Why did you choose this topic?

I chose this topic because haemorrhagic transformation after ischemic stroke still remains a feared complication of acute revascularization treatments. A better knowledge of the underlying mechanisms of the reperfusion injury may help discriminating patients at risk for complications from those who may benefit from targeted interventions. I hope that a better identification of patients at risk of such complications, using biological and neuroimaging markers, could help physicians in the acute treatment decision-making process.

What have been the most difficult challenges regarding your research career so far?

Research always has ups and downs. There are periods of time when you are not able to obtain the results you had hoped for. Papers you thought valuable get rejected. Periods like these challenge your belief in the goodness of your work. I think it is important to face these challenges in a proactive way, constantly looking at the bigger picture and considering them as a push for improvement.

How to balance work life and free time/home life?

Combining family, clinical and research work is challenging, especially when research choices lead you abroad, as in my case. Despite all difficulties, I constantly remind myself that the opportunity this fellowship gives me has great value for my personal improvement and professional development. Traveling and sharing my experience with other young colleagues, also coming from other countries is always fascinating.