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Kirey Group is again supporting Fondazione Umberto Veronesi's research in 2023

Kirey Group


    We met with Edoardo Franceschini, a biologist and fellow under the Post-Doctoral Fellowship awarded annually by the Foundation. His research will investigate the effects of air pollution on school children.


    Kirey Group has reconfirmed its support for research by Fondazione Umberto Veronesi again this year, with a research grant that will fund six months of work by Edoardo Franceschini, biologist and Ph.D. in Endocrinological Sciences at Università La Sapienza in Rome. Franceschini is one of the researchers selected for the Post-Doctoral Fellowship 2023 and awarded at the Grants organized by the Foundation last May 31. We met with him to talk about his research.


    What does your research consist of?

    With my team we will evaluate the biological effects of air pollution on a sample of children, taking into consideration biomarkers - biological markers - that several studies have determined can predict the likelihood of developing chronic diseases as adults. Specifically, we will evaluate the presence of micronucleus in the mucosa cells of the mouth in 6- to 8-year-old children from Gubbio (PG), where two cement industries produce dust, which raises concerns about the health impact on residents. Results will be compared with those of other children in areas where cement industries are not present. The pollutants exposure will be estimated through Arpa (Regional Agency for Environmental Protection) Umbria data.


    How will the data emerging from the research be handled?

    The analytical data that we are going to derive will be important for two reasons: the first is that they are currently not known data and this topic is still under-investigated; the second is that they will be transformed into computer data, which are indispensable for the use of artificial intelligence applications based today on machine learning algorithms, and in the future on deep learning algorithms. The research will thus be able to make a useful contribution to the knowledge of air quality in a place characterized by industrial, potentially polluting sources.


    Where did the idea for this research come from?

    The environment has always been the common thread in my study. In addition to the analytical knowledge of ecological issues, which I developed first with my bachelor's degree in natural sciences, then with my master's degree in biology, I have been able to delve into a more laboratory and molecular biology-related dimension with my master's and doctoral degrees. I made the environment the main object of my studies because I believe that research in this field can be useful from a social point of view: pollution is an urgent and crucial issue.


    With what state of mind do you approach these issues? Talking about research, is it allowed to experience a sort of "eco-anxiety"?

    Absolutely not. Research has to be approached rationally, avoiding bias or prejudice of any kind and relying on evidence. We cannot do research making a biased judgment on the results we are going to collect. So I approach research focused on the objective of the investigation, which is to collect currently unknown data. I hope that someday they may be useful in developing other research that, in the future, will be useful to the people.


    What is your relationship with the Umberto Veronesi Foundation? How do you hope it will evolve?

    I am very grateful that Fondazione Umberto Veronesi chose to fund my project. I hope to do rewarding work that shows relevant evidence and establish a relationship of collaboration and trust that will last over time.


    Learn more about our commitment

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