Dr. Tina Gruosso, Scientist

Montreal, Canada

"I was born and raised in Paris to Italian immigrants. My dad worked in construction. My mom worked as a receptionist at Cité Internationale Universitaire of Paris (CIUP), the international campus for all exchange students in Paris. Thanks to my mom’s job, we lived on campus, which had houses representing countries from around the world. We lived in the House of Italy, and growing up, I remember playing hide-and-seek with kids from the Houses of Portugal and Brazil next door. My favourite hiding spot? The bushes of the House of Lebanon. It was literally a small global village. Even though my parents did not go to university, living there exposed me to highly educated people. At the age of 13, I watched my brother defend his PhD and that’s when I decided to do mine. He was sharing the results of his hard work of research. I saw white-haired professors praise his work and family members line up to congratulate him. He must have done something right, I thought. I also felt that I owed it to my immigrant parents who had come to Paris on a one-way train ticket and sacrificed a lot that I pursue the highest degree in my field. I went on to do my PhD in biology at Institut Curie. When I moved to Canada as a post-doc cancer researcher, I felt that science can do more than provide knowledge. For us scientists to truly have impact, we need to engage the community. That was missing in academia so I volunteered for Science & Policy Exchange, a student-led non-profit where I found like-minded, passionate science advocates. Today, when I do research to find cures for cancer and rare diseases, I must seek different perspectives to solve problems and must be kind and human, without frontiers. Indeed, diversity, inclusiveness and humanity are intrinsic values of science. And as I advocate for the science community to uphold these values, I realize I’m simply chasing that kid who lived in the House of Italy at CIUP and learned early on that having diverse perspectives and including everyone is the way it should be." - Dr. Tina Gruosso, Scientist


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