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Brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer

Two minutes with… Giulio Anichini - Neuro-oncology Research Fellow from our Centre of Excellence at Imperial College of London

by Elise O'Kelly
What’s the first thing you do in the morning?

I prepare breakfast for me and my wife – Cappuccino and cookies, most of the times – while checking my emails.

If you could do another job, what would it be?

With the premise that I am very happy where I am, I have always been attracted by scientific topics, so I would still pursue a career in that direction. I would have chosen either astrophysics or biology. 

What makes you happy?

Professionally, it makes me very happy when a patient goes back to their daily life after treatment – it is a priceless feeling. On a personal level, I enjoying playing my keyboard, playing strategy videogames, or walking around the city with no direction or purpose while listening to my favourite music – progressive rock. 
What do you want to achieve in this field (main ambition)?

Considering how tough is the disease we are fighting against, just making a significant difference in prolonging patient survival and quality of life would be more than enough. More specifically, as a surgeon, the answer would be: maximizing the amount of tumour we can remove and possibly finding new strategies to tackle the infiltrating tissue that we cannot actually see – but we know is there.

What is your favourite hat?

I almost never wear hats, I have to say, but I love the fedora hat and its Australian version – the outback leather hat. 

Who inspires you?

Great scientific minds. Many of my own colleagues around me and the scientists I have the honour to meet and work with every day. If I have to mention someone famous, Richard Dawkins, Stephen Hawkins, and Neil De Grasse Tyson are all very inspiring personalities to me. For different reasons, I find Steven Wilson – a British musician – very inspiring too; I love his lyrics about fragility of life, relationships, the stunning complexity of reality and human mind. Finally, my grandfather. 

What is your favourite memory?

I have many! Again, professionally it was probably the very first successful surgery I have carried out completely by myself – it was a gentleman with bad head trauma who was brought into hospital in coma and in life-threatening clinical conditions. We treated him, he spent quite a long time in intensive care, but eventually he returned to his daily life after a couple of months with no residual disabilities. I remember him coming back in clinic with a big smile. 

Why did you choose your profession?

I always wanted to be a doctor and specifically a neurosurgeon, since I was a kid. I was fascinated by the human mind and brain, but at the same time I wanted something practical to do, so neurosurgery was the perfect combination of both.
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