Interview of the month

December 2023:
Q&A with Marco Tigano, Ph.D.

Tell us about your research background and goals.

I've been a mitochondrial biologist my whole scientific life, and I’d like to think that the mitochondrion will always be my focus. Mitochondria have always been considered "just" the cell's powerhouses. But, we now understand that their role in dictating cellular decisions goes far beyond providing energy. My team's research goals are to understand how mitochondrial dysfunction drives human diseases. In particular, we are interested in teasing apart the relationship between mitochondrial stress and the immune system, and how damaging mitochondria might be the driving force behind progressive neurodegeneration.

What is the best advice you’ve received?

My mentor from college gave this piece of advice that I think is applicable in both life and at the bench: “If you are in a rush, don’t rush”.

If you could sit down and have dinner with anyone-alive or dead-who would it be?

I would love to have dinner with George Lucas, but not in 2021. I’d love to sit down with George Lucas in the late 70s when he was pursuing his dream of producing a movie no one believed in - Star Wars. The commitment, the vision, the creativity – not to mention the cult classic and my personal favorite movie of all time – it is inspiring. I’d love to speak with him before he was a sensation, when he was just a person wholeheartedly committed to seeing his vision through.

What's your favorite quote?

“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.” J.R.R. Tolkien

If you could only keep three possessions, what would they be?

Very tough question! I think I would like to keep my Pink Floyd LPs, my photography gear, and my grandfather’s bike.

Marco Tigano, PhD

Assistant Professor, Department of Pathology & Genomic Medicine – Thomas Jefferson University of Philadelphia
E-mit board member